Your Guide to the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

If I was to describe the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in one word, it would be “magical.” From the moment I opened the door to the conservatory, I felt like I was in an actual fairyland. Tropical flowers, birds of every color, and of course, butterflies, surround every guest, and the whole place is full of surprises. I can’t wait to go back next time I’m in Key West, and I can’t believe I skipped it on my first trip there! Here’s everything you need to know so you can plan to visit, too.

Quick Facts

Hours

  • Daily 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Last admission 4:30pm daily
  • Gift shop stays open until 5:30pm daily
  • Closes early on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
Pink and Black
Read on: What to Know Before You Visit the Florida Keys

Location

  • 1316 Duval Street, Key West
  • Near the Southernmost Point, several accommodations, shops, and restaurants
You can’t miss it… it’s the one with the flamingoes!
Helpful info: What to Pack for a Week in Key West

Admission

  • General Admission: $15.00
  • Local (Monroe County): $13.00
  • Seniors 65+ and Military: $12.00
  • Children 4-12 years: $11.00
  • 3 years and under: Free
There are more butterflies than you’ll be able to count.
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Rules

  • Don’t touch the birds.
  • Don’t touch the butterflies.
  • Check yourself in the mirrors on your way out of the conservatory to make sure no butterflies are following you out!
This one grew attached to my Dad!
Also fun: How to Surprise Someone with Travel

What to Expect

The Learning Center

After purchasing your tickets, you’ll go into the Learning Center, where you’ll learn a little about butterflies and see several types mounted on the wall. My personal favorite was the map showing where many of the unique butterflies are found. Some of the most beautiful come from Asia and South America!

I loved seeing where they can be found.
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Butterflies

There are 15,000-18,000 individual butterflies, of 50-60 varieties, in the conservatory at any given time! If you’ll find a place to sit or stand that’s out of the way, you’ll be amazed at how many butterflies you start to see. The ones you’ll likely notice the most are the vibrant blue and black ones.

These are certainly the ones who call for the most attention!
This one was my dad’s favorite color!
It’s beautiful how they’ll sometimes pose for you!
Can you find the butterfly?
More here: The Best Coffee Shops in Key West

Flowers

The flowers inside the conservatory are as much a part of the show as the butterflies. Tropical plants and flowers thrive here, giving the butterflies a beautiful place to fly. The winding path through the conservatory will take you past all of them!

The orchids were doing especially well on our visit!
These pretty red ones make a beautiful contrast to the blue butterflies!
These little yellow ones caught my fancy.
I love the pretty pink ones, and so did the butterflies!
Read on for more beauty: The Most Epic Landscapes in the World

Birds

Something I wasn’t 100% expecting were all the beautiful birds, both large and small! Some of the colors were so vibrant, they looked unnatural, but they’re all real! There are more than 30 species of birds living here, and all of them are worth noticing. When you go, don’t miss the flamingoes. Their names are Rhett and Scarlett!

I had no idea birds this color even existed!
This yellow one needed a snack.
These two had the most unbelievable colors!
This one with the red face reluctantly posed for me!
Rhett and Scarlett, together forever!
More here: The Best Things to Do in Key West

Tips for Taking Photos

The Best Shot is the One You Get

In other words, if you spend your time setting up the perfect shot, your butterly or bird subject may fly away before you’re ready! My best advice from 15 years of blogging and photography is to take the shot you have, then adjust yourself and your camera as you like. That way, at least you have one shot to work with. The rest are just icing on the cake!

Do your cropping and resizing later. Just get the shot!
It’s not all perfection: The WORST Things I Did for Instagram

Stay in One Place

This is the hardest thing for me, but also one of the most rewarding. With any wildlife photography, try picking one spot and staying there for a few minutes. You’ll be amazed at the things you didn’t notice at first, and you’ll inevitably see more wildlife than you would if you were actively searching! Let them come to you!

I didn’t even notice these birds at first, but as I stayed still, they seemed to just appear!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Key West

Take More Photos than You Think You Want

You can always delete duplicates and extras later. It’s not unusual for me to take hundreds of photos in a single museum, on a single tour, or inside a single conservatory. You’re bound to come up with something really nice, and it probably happened when you least expected it! Take your time, take more photos, and don’t forget to cull them down later!

It might take a while, but if you’ll stay put and keep snapping, you’ll get a good photo for your time!

Want more? Check out my United States Page for all things Florida and Key West!

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Published by quickwhittravel

Hey there! I am an avid traveller and adventurer, and you're always welcome to join me! The things I love most are God, my husband Steve, and seeing new places! My favorite places include Sydney, Australia; Ise City, Japan; and Bergen, Norway--but there's always room for more favorite places!

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