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Florida Attractions: Butterfly World - It's Way More Than Just Butterflies!
If you’re looking for something to do in the South Florida, Ft. Lauderdale area that will take about half a day, check out tropical Butterfly World, the world’s largest butterfly park. It's located in Coconut Creek, which is in about 30 minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale. There are six aviaries filled with ten thousand live butterflies, as well as free-flying birds. When you enter, it’s like being in a spectacular tropical rain forest, complete with a mist-filled cave (watch your camera!) and a cascading waterfall.
It’s easy to navigate your way through and most people enjoy this park following their own self guided tour. Come along with me on mine!
Tip: If you’re planning to visit Butterfly World, make sure you do it on a clear, sunny day because the butterflies only fly around when it’s sunny!
Stop 1: Laboratory
Witness the miracle of metamorphosis through the glass – you can see butterfly eggs and larvae at different stages of growth in there and it’s pretty cool! Butterfly World has raised over one million butterflies!
Stop 2: Paradise Adventure Aviary
Walk through this main butterfly area and thrill to the sights of thousands of butterflies flying all around you – this area is fantastic for being able to watch butterflies in their natural habitat as they fly, feed and bask in the sun. Watch out because they may be landing on you at some point! It’s a really fun feeling to walk through there with all these beautiful, colorful wings flapping all around you – makes you want to giggle and dance around! Well, that’s how it made me feel, anyway…
Stop 3: Hanging Garden & Butterfly Emerging Area
This “hallway” has flower-filled hanging baskets on one side and butterfly pupa emerging from cases on the other side. You are actually able to witness the metamorphosis as new butterflies emerge every day. There are plants there that are so sensitive to touch that they close when you touch them!
Stop 4: Tropical Rain Forest
Thousands of exotic butterflies and free-flying birds soar in this area that mimics a real rain forest. Walk several pathways leading to a cave and a waterfall. As I said above, watch your camera because you are subject to experiencing “showers” in this area from misters.
Stop 5: Grace Gardens
Walk along the tiny lake and enjoy the beautifully blooming botanical gardens, showcasing some of the most spectacular tropical flowers in the world. This area has many wild butterflies, as they’re attracted to the nectar that many of the plants here have.
Stop 6: Wings of the World in the Secret Garden
See Streamertail Hummingbirds from Jamaica and listen to the wonderful song of the Sun Birds of Africa – these birds cannot be seen anywhere else outside of their native countries. There’s a vine-covered maze, the Secret Garden, which houses one of the largest collections of flowering Passionvines and Dutchmen’s Pipevines in the world. Beyond the Secret Garden are a lovely gazebo and several tables and chairs where you can take a break or sit down and eat a snack or meal. Of course, snacks and fast food-type meal foods are sold there (we always pack our lunch when we go).
Stop 7: English Rose Garden
This small area has about 20 different varieties of beautifully fragranced roses that bloom year-round.
Stop 8: Lorikeet Encounter
Lorikeets are considered the clown of the bird world and here you are able to feed them right out of your hand for $1 and.
If you’re lucky, or not-so lucky, these beautiful rainbow-feathered birds will land on you, too! Not really my cup of tea, but the kids love it…
Stop 9: Tinalandia Suspension Bridge & Jewels of the Sky Aviary
The swinging suspension bridge spans the small lake and is a lot of fun to walk across, especially for the kids, who can easily make the bridge bounce and sway. Across the bridge you’ll find the entertaining Macaws and then you can enter into the world of hummingbirds in a flower-filled habitat. There are several other varieties of tiny, colorful birds here, too.
Stop 10: Museum, Insectarium & Live “Bug Zoo”
Inside this small area you will find an amazing collection of insects, butterflies, and moths from around the world encased in large acrylic showcases. The blue morpho butterfly is beautiful! From here, through a set of doors you enter the Bug Zoo, where you can see cockroaches the size of your hand (well, almost), scorpions, tarantulas, giant millipedes, beetles, black widows and brown recluses. The kids always find the Bug Zoo fascinating. I have a problem with insects, so I try and make this part as quick as possible!
Stop 11: Butterfly Gardening Plant Shop
You can start your own butterfly garden at home with plants for sale here; they stock all of the hard to find species that can turn your yard into a butterfly paradise. They also sell seeds for many plants in the gift shop.
Next to the plant shop is a second snack area covered with a canopy – nice place to stop and cool off and get out of the sun for a few minutes. From here, enter the air-conditioned gift shop, pick yourself up some Butterfly World paraphernalia and head home, or to your hotel – wherever you came from!
If you can't make it to Butterfly World in Florida...
...you can still enjoy the beauty of butterflies and other insect wonders from nature in your very own home! Take a look at the following bestselling products from the one and only leader in at home butterfly habitats, Insect Lore. By the way, these make terrific gifts for kids. See more live butterfly garden and habitats here.
© 2010 Lily Rose