By Dalia Colón
Key West is known as a playground for adults, but many visitors may be surprised by the town’s array of family-friendly attractions. With trolley tours, the Key West Aquarium, a nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square and more, the Conch Republic offers something for visitors of all ages.
Among the must-do attractions for families is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. With exotic plants and waterfalls, more than 50 butterfly species from around the world and a pair of scene-stealing flamingos, the conservatory is like paradise for families looking to make memories.
“The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory provides a unique audio, visual, sensory experience for the entire family,” said George Fernandez, owner and chief operating officer. “We invite families to share the opportunity to excite their senses and expand their minds into the wonderful and miraculous world of Mother Nature."
The conservatory is housed within a glass-enclosed habitat, making it a great rainy-day option. But even if the Sunshine State lives up to its name throughout your time in Key West, you’ll still want to schedule in a visit. View live caterpillars and get up to speed on the life cycle of butterflies in the Learning Center before heading into the conservatory, which is kept at a tropical 85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Also leave plenty of time to browse the gift shop, which offers butterfly-themed toys, jewelry, artwork and other souvenirs.
After your visit, walk down the block to Southernmost Beach Cafe, a casual spot overlooking the Atlantic Ocean that’s perfect for an al fresco family meal.
When you go...
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is located at 1316 Duval Street, Key West, just 1½ blocks from the Southernmost Point landmark buoy. The attraction is open 365 days a year, generally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For holiday hours and other information, call (305) 296-2988. The conservatory is kept at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so dress accordingly. For details, visit keywestbutterfly.com