Butterfly Rainforest – Florida Museum

We decided on a museum day to escape the heat of this record breaking summer, and went to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The Butterfly Rainforest, a major attraction at the museum, became our first stop due to the weather forecast. Located in an outdoor, screened area, the admissions person advised us we may get wet if we delayed. (It did start raining just after we left the butterfly area)

Entering through the double glass doors (to avoid butterflies leaving the enclosure) we immediately found ourselves surrounded by an incredible dense landscape with colorful butterflies of all sizes all around us. We walked along the narrow path, and several large butterflies raced by and around us. Looking in the lush vegetation on either side we saw more butterflies flying, landing, and perched. Looking up at the high screening we saw the outlines of many more.

Like everyone else, we marveled and clicked our cameras and cell phones cameras, and watched. Small birds ran in front of us, and others (finches I think) flew overhead. We stopped and gazed at the small waterfall ending in a pond with Koi fish of various coloration. The butterflies land on people, and for a brief time I seemed very popular as two or three landed on my shorts and stayed. Karl sat for a bit on a bench providing a nice butterfly perch for a beautiful large blue butterfly.

Leaving the butterfly area we walked down the hallway with information on butterflies, conservation efforts, and large windows looking in on working labs. Interpretive signs described the purpose of each area, and in a couple of them we watched as people worked.

There is much more to the museum. Wonderful exhibits with dinosaur skeletons found in Florida, and entire section of the native peoples of Florida and their lives before the Europeans arrived, and much more. We spent a few hours exploring the various exhibits and then exited back into the heat and promised rain.

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