Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

The first time I visited Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, I was in a rush.  It’s not that I needed to get somewhere (except Flamingo Crossing for mango ice cream).  kwbutterflyI’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’m a little weary of moths, and sometimes butterflies that look like moths.  I don’t think I have mottephobia.  I’m not terrified of them.  But I really don’t want a giant moth to land on me.  Ever.kwbutterfly (7)While the rest of my family slowly, peacefully meandered through the sanctuary, I kept my head down and made my way to the exit.  There’s a room with mirrors so you can check for any that might be stuck on you.  You can bet I triple-checked.  kwbutterfly (4)Somehow they convinced me to go again this year (mango ice cream afterwards).  This trip was much different.  I dare say, I enjoyed it.  What could bring about such a drastic change?  As soon as I walked around the first bend I was face-to-face with this crazy-eyed bird peeking out from the palm fronds.excuse meA flamingo!  He was very interested in my camera.  He came so close it was hard to get a decent shot.oh hiThese two tall, vibrant flamingos are the newest garden residents.  They were rescued from a breeding facility in Canada.  Their names are Rhett and Scarlett, and they are stunning.  They put on a great show, especially when they squawk in unison as part of their mating dance.  flamingosflamingo and morphos (1)They distracted me just enough so I could take in my surroundings.  It’s beautiful in there!  The sanctuary is a big glass greenhouse with lush vegetation and a stream running through it.  It has a simulated rainforest climate.  Although very similar to the climate on Duval Street, this feels much better thanks to a breeze and plenty of shade.  greenhouseThere are hundreds of butterflies in the sanctuary.  They flutter around the flowers and snack bars of tropical fruit.kwbutterfly (1)fruit platekwbutterfly (8)I also enjoyed watching all the little birds hopping along the path and frolicking in the trees and bird houses.  
cute as a buttoncute birdkwbutterfly (9)By the end I was pretty comfortable.  I even took this photo of a giant Atlas moth.  kwbutterfly (10)With a long lens…kwbutterfly

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory  1316 Duval Street, Key West

No trip is complete without a visit to Flamingo Crossing for homemade mango ice cream (key lime and coconut are also quite good).  1105 Duval Street, Key Westflamingocrossing