on February 1, 2010
I'm really glad that I took the time to go to the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in Key West. It's an experience of a lifetime, and I would honestly say that I would go there again and again. It only costs $12 for adults (cheap by Key West standards) and you can go in and out as much as you would like. It is hot and humid, so be prepared, but seeing how you can exit and reenter as many times as you would like during the day, it's okay. This is a great place to take children too that won't break your bank. There are butterflies of every color and size everywhere you look, flying through the air, feeding at stations, lighting on people - very cool! If you do go, take lots of film, or come armed with a digital camera with lots of free space on your card. We took video camera in to take some film of it, however it kept fogging up :( Even though it is a relatively small space, there are so many different types of plants, blooming flowers and species of butterflies. There is even a small pond with Koi and other types of fish.When you exit, you are greeted with a friendly staff member who adorns you with a butterfly (fake of course) for you to take home with you. The gift shop and gallery are whole other experiences. It's beautiful, how the artists that work there, take the dead butterflies, mount them in artful ways and encase them in plexiglass. Although it may be a bit morbid to think about dead butterflies, it's actually quite beautiful. The gift shop has tons of gifts for young and old and contain gifts that I haven't seen before (a challenge in this day and age). There is even another separate gift shop at the other end of the island in Clinton Square Mall (nextdoor to Mallory Square and the History of Art and Design Museum), so if you didn't want to huff it all the way down to the end of Duval St. again, you could just go there and pick up your souvenier.
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