Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory#3 in Best Things To Do in Key West
If you love butterflies, this is the spot for you. The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is filled with about 50 to 60 species of the colorful winged creatures that seemingly float through the air in an enclosed, glass-domed 5,000-square-foot aviary. Plant enthusiasts will also find much they'll love here, as the butterflies share their home with 3,500 plants, along with more than 20 species of exotic birds.
Past visitors highly recommend a stop here, describing the conservatory as "serene" and a great place to get away from the crowds. Those traveling with kids said the kaleidoscopic butterflies and birds were a hit with the younger crowd, and the outing proved educational, too, thanks to a short film on butterfly metamorphosis.
The conservatory is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The last ticket is sold at 4:30 p.m. There's not really a bad time of day to visit, as different butterfly species are active at different points of the day. You'll also find restrooms and a gift shop on-site. Admission for adults costs $15; tickets for kids 4 to 12 cost $11, while children 3 and younger enter for free. You'll find the conservatory on Duval Street, one block north of the Southernmost Point.
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#1 Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
For the cleanest beach and best waters in Key West, you should head for the westernmost point of the island to Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. There, you can sunbathe, hike, bike, fish and get a dose of history all in one place. Recent visitors favor this shoreline over Smathers Beach (the water is clearer, making it an ideal snorkeling spot), but travelers also warn that the sand is not soft and that beach shoes are needed to traverse the rocky terrain safely. While the beach might not be as powdery soft as some other Florida beaches, it does offer some great snorkeling opportunities, according to recent visitors. Along with your snorkel gear, pack some grilling food and charcoal: This beach has plenty of barbecue grills and rental equipment.
If you get tired of hanging out beachside, stop by the historic fort located within the park. The fort was built in mid-1800s and was used during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Guided tours are offered twice a day.
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