Over by Pompano just north of the Fort Lauderdale airport, Butterfly World has been around since 1988 and it’s the first butterfly house in the US and the largest in the world! It encompasses 3 acres and houses botanical gardens and a working butterfly farm, and a couple of aviaries.
The price tag for admittance seemed steep at 30$ but be sure to print out the coupon available on their site to save 3$.
Know also that they use the profits to support an endangered species lab at the university of Florida. The group has been instrumental in saving at least one endangered butterfly species already so your funds are going to good use.
Their hours are 9am-5pm Mon-Sat and 11am-5pm on Sundays. It takes at least an hour to go through, but as nature lovers and amateur photographers we took closer to 3. There were so many species of butterflies in constant motion and if you looked carefully you’d see colorful birds and even some small snakes.
The grounds are meticulous and our only wish would be that they have some more staff doing the rounds. We were saddened to see some people catching and holding the butterflies by their wings. While technically this won’t kill it, this will most likely shorten its lifespan. Besides, how would you like something 1000x your size and strength fondling you by your arms!
There was ample parking just near the door. As you walk past the gate of butterfly world, you enter the butterfly house. It’s a huge enclosure with double doors (don’t hold it open to be polite, you’ll let the creatures out!). The place is like a little oasis, complete with ponds and a small waterfall and multiple levels with walking paths.
Our first reaction was amazement at the sheer number and variety of colorful butterflies that are flying about. As we looked closer we spotted the feeders with sliced bananas and the dozens of different species perched on or around the feeders, on the bushes and trees and… well, just about everywhere. There is such a density of creatures, they literally uses a feather duster at the exit to make sure you don’t have any stuck on your clothes or hair or bags. When in this location, stop and pause on one of the many benches and watch the place come alive. Be sure to look up and into the trees for the multitude of birds present in this enclosure too.
Next up you head out into a park area where there are some wonderful gardens. We saw a wide variety of plants with some flowers larger than our heads!
Just past this, there are two aviaries. These are booth very impressive and have a large variety of tiny birds that are easy to spot and photograph. We would recommend a zoom lens as the subjects are so tiny, and zooming in will get you some great close ups.
Be sure to enter the bug museum also, where you’ll see a collection of bugs from all over world including a large variety of moths, butterflies (of course) beetles among other things. Fascinating. It’s also a good place to cool down in the air conditioning after being out in the hot enclosures. It’s a good idea to bring a hat and drink lots of water when touring the area.
The place is very well appointed with a couple of cafes and an extensive selection in the gift shop. There is also an on site plant store where you can buy some exotic plants that you see when making your tour. We didn’t think of it at the time, but read later that if you like your visit you can actually upgrade to a yearly pass for 60$ on the same day. We will probably be back, but again we are glad that the profits go to good causes and won’t hesitate getting our pass the next time around. I imagine that the place is different to visit in the spring and fall as we’ll see a different variety of plants in bloom and perhaps even more butterflies if that can be possible.
Butterfly World is definitely for nature lovers and it won’t disappoint. Do pay them a visit.