Butterfly heaven—that’s the image that comes to mind when I remember my visit to the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida.
I couldn’t help but smile as they floated around me. No wonder the local children’s hospital brings young cancer patients here to de-stress from the rigors of cancer treatment. There’s something restorative about sitting on a bench as the butterflies land on your hand or even your nose. And what photographic opportunities for boomer photographers! It truly is butterfly heaven.
On your next trip to Gainesville, stop in at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida’s campusto observe scientists working on the butterfly collection that spans three floors. Stroll through the Butterfly Rainforest (that’s Vivarium in butterfly expert talk) where hundreds of butterflies float in a screened enclosure. A walking trail winds next to waterfalls decorated with sub-tropical foliage and, of course, butterflies. It’s peaceful and exhilarating all at the same time. I’d say it’s a butterfly heaven.
The 6,400 screened outdoor enclosure is open all year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Hours of operation include Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $13.00 for adults ($11 Fla. residents and seniors), and $6.00 for children 3 – 17. The facility is also wheelchair accessible. I can’t think of a better multi-generational outing for the family.
Did you know that the Florida Museum of Natural History participates in Butterfly Connection? It’s a program that provides free admittance to the Butterfly Rainforest for cancer patients and their caregivers as a peaceful escape from treatment and doctor’s visits. Butterfly heaven, indeed.
Disclaimer: This trip experience was provided by Gainesville/Alachua County VCB