Florida is the perfect location for open-air butterfly houses. With its temperate to tropical habitat, you can visit these butterfly exhibits year-round and enjoy the beauty of these flying insects. Add in some bright blooming tropical plants, a few small birds, and water features, and it makes for an experience you won’t soon forget.
Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History
3215 Hull Road — Powell Hall
UF Cultural Plaza
Gainesville, FL 32611-2710
Florida Museum of Natural History website
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon- Sat; 1 -5 p.m. Sun. Closed on holidays.
General admission to the Museum is free but there is a charge for the butterfly rainforest and the crocs exhibits.
This 6,400-square-foot exhibit houses hundreds of colorful butterflies and birds from around the world as well as ponds with fish and turtles. Some of the birds include button quail and finches. More than 50 species of butterflies are present at a time.
Tropical plants adorn the screened in outdoor enclosure adding in beautiful colorful blooms for the butterflies to feed from.
Each afternoon when the weather permits, the staff hold a live butterfly spotlight to talk about the species in the exhibit.
Inside the museum, visitors can also view an amazing ‘wall of wings’ that holds hundreds of butterfly and moth specimens from around the world.
If you are lucky to be at the museum when they are hosting one of their plant sales, you can scoop up some butterfly host plants or nectar plants to go in your own garden!
ACCESSIBILITY: Paved paths wide enough for a wheelchair. There are some portions of the exhibit that include stairs.
The Butterfly Estates
HOURS: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on Holidays
This is a unique experience for a butterfly house. It focuses solely on native Southwest Florida butterflies and moths and does not include any exotic species. Visitors will learn about the butterflies they can see in their own backyards and how to attract and feed them.
This butterfly house is an educational facility owned by the nonprofit organization, Florida Native Butterfly Society. Each day at 10:30 a.m., they hold a butterfly release. You can see natives like the common buckeye, the Gulf fritillary, monarch butterflies, and so many more.
The main goal of this center is to inform, educate, and inspire their visitors to plant butterfly gardens at their homes. They even offer butterfly gardening classes each month as well as educational tours and outreach programs. Check out their Facebook page to see upcoming events.
For those looking to have a special event, you can book the Butterfly House for weddings or other special events.
For those looking to support the mission of the Butterfly Estates, you can shop their store or become a member.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy
HOURS: 9 am to 5 pm daily. Closed on holidays.
Glass enclosed butterfly conservatory filled with flowering plants, water features, and a gazebo. 50+ species of butterflies from around the world and birds too. I particularly enjoyed the tiny button quail and the koi pond.
The enclosure includes 20 species of colorful birds including flamingoes, finches, button quail, ducks and more.
This facility has a small learning center with information about butterflies and their life cycle (and a cool insect display). You’ll find a fun gift shop too.
The conservatory offers special events and opportunities for twilight tours, group tours, and the ability to rent the facility for wedding ceremonies.
Look for a coupon at your hotel or at places with tourist information. Your pass is good for the whole day, so you can go back.
ACCESSIBILITY: Paved paths with wooden bridges.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Saturday; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed on holidays.
You can spend an entire day at this attraction. Butterfly World encompasses 3 acres of land with botanical gardens, butterfly aviaries, research center, educational exhibits, and tropical bird aviaries. It is part of a working butterfly farm which sells the insects to universities and zoos.
The park opened in 1988 and was founded by Ronald Boender. He is a butterfly conservationist who has helped fund education programs and research to support endangered species and butterfly gardening. Butterfly World offers gardening workshops, outdoor concerts, and special events too! Visit their Facebook page to view upcoming events.
The aviaries are home to some of the world’s most amazing colorful birds. You can feed the lorakeets in one aviary and one of them is dedicated to free-flying hummingbirds.
The butterfly aviaries include thousands of exotic butterflies and tropical plants.
You can purchase butterfly products form their online store and in person including plant seeds, educational books, calendars, and seasonal items. They also have a plant shop where they sell butterfly attracting plants.
ACCESSIBILITY: 100% Wheelchair accessible
Wings of the Tropics
at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
View the Wings of the Tropics web page
Nestled in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an exhibit that features exotic butterflies from Central and South America. Forty different species can be seen flying around the glass-enclosed facility.
Near the butterfly enclosure is the Vollmer Metamorphosis Lab where you can see butterfly chrysalises and watch as they hatch. Adjacent to the Lab you can view displays of tropical insects such as the Hercules beetle, the elephant beetle, and stick insects.
Butterflies are released into the exhibit in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. A volunteer and educational cart is permanently stationed in the exhibit where you can learn about butterflies and their life cycle.
At Lukas Nursery
1909 Slavia Road
Oviedo, FL 32765
Visit the Lukas Nursery Website
HOURS: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Lukas Nursery includes a 4,000-square-foot conservatory which houses native Florida butterflies and exotic bird species. Birds include colorful finches and button quail. They offer packages for field trips, tours, and birthday parties at the facility.
The Lukas Nursery also raises and sells native butterflies. You can purchase butterflies for release at a special event like a wedding or memorial service through their service.
The plant nursery offers many of the butterfly host and food plants for Florida species for sale as well as many other plants and lawn and garden products.
Visit the Gift Shop for nature-themed gifts and art, home decor, and homemade jams and jellies.
ACCESSIBILITY: Unknown. While some of the paths are paved and wide, some may be gravel. We are unsure as to the width of doors as well.
Thomas J. Allen Butterfly House
Rotary Park Environmental Center
Visit the website
HOURS: Limited to free guided tours Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Located in Rotary Park, this house is maintained by volunteers from the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. They offer free tours three times a week.
The house features native butterfly species and host plants.