Imagine seeing those thousands of butterflies you feel in your stomach when locking eyes with that special someone, but see it come to life right before your eyes.
The Butterfly Rainforest in the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus lets you experience just that.
The exhibits feature hundreds of butterflies from around the world flying freely right in front of you.
If the weather permits, the museum staff releases the butterflies every Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit also includes turtles and fish, and a real-life rainforest feeling with tropical trees and plants, waterfalls and walking path.
With all of its beautiful plants and lush landscape, you can’t help but feel relaxed and at peace.
Although Florida Museum staff will answer any questions visitors may have on the butterflies, a separate section of the museum is dedicated solely to teaching the science of butterflies and bringing that science to life in the Indoor Butterfly Exhibit.
The indoor exhibit features a Rearing Lab, which allows visitors to look at the life cycle of a butterfly. The museum staff showcases butterflies and moths undergoing changes in their lifecycle every week at the museum. From there they are unpacked, sorted and placed in large window cases for visitors to observe and potentially see them emerge into butterflies.
The indoor exhibit also includes a Wall of Wings. The wall is about three stories high and displays thousands of butterfly and moth specimens and photographs.
Butterfly specimens are not the only things people can observe in the indoor exhibit. The exhibit also features an area where visitors can look through windows and see the world’s largest research facility to watch museum scientists perform genetic research, specimen preparation, microscope work, and species conservation on the moths and butterflies.
Combined, the butterflies in the two exhibits create one of the world’s largest butterfly and moth collection.
The museum is undeniably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Gainesville, Florida. And if you haven’t seen it yet, it is time to spread your own wings and check it out.