Places to See Butterflies

 Listed below are several locations where you can usually find butterflies.

Butterfly Rainforest at The McGuire Center for Lepidoptera

Florida Museum of Natural History * University of Florida Cultural Plaza
SW 34th Street and Hull Road * Gainesville, FL 32611 * 352.846.2000

Come face-to-face with exotic, vibrant butterflies fluttering atop a lush tropical canvas of foliage and flowers as you experience the Butterfly Rainforest, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s newest permanent exhibit. The screened vivarium houses subtropical and tropical plants and trees to support 55 to 65 different species and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Guests can stroll through the Butterfly Rainforest on a winding path and relax to the sounds of cascading waterfalls year-round.

Inside, the McGuire Center public exhibits gallery showcases the “Wall of Wings,” which captures the eye with thousands of preserved and photographed butterfly and moth specimens. The wall is a stunning tribute to the research and collections mission of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. Also, for the first time at the Florida Museum, visitors will be able to get a close-up view of scientists at work in the world’s largest research facility devoted to Lepidoptera.

Crowley Nature Center

16405 Myakka Road * Sarasota, FL * 941.322.1000

Crowley Museum and Nature Center (CMNC) is located on 190 acres of native Florida land adjacent to the Myakka River in Sarasota County. The Center is a wildlife sanctuary and education center where visitors can enjoy nature trails, a boardwalk traversing Maple Branch Swamp, an observation tower overlooking the marsh and Myakka River, a pioneer cabin and museum, a working blacksmith shop and sugar cane mill, and a restored 1892 “Cracker” house.


Emerson Point Conservation Park

5801 17th St. West * Palmetto, FL * 941.776.2295

This 365 acre county managed park is located at the west end of Snead Island, west of Palmetto in Manatee County. The Park contains a variety of native ecosystems including beaches, lagoons, salt marshes, mangrove swamps, extensive underwater grass flats, tropical hardwood hammocks, tropical strands, and upland wooded areas. With these diverse communities, the area provides a rare opportunity to view numerous native Florida plants and animals.

University of Florida/IFAS Sarasota County Extension
6700 Clark Road, Sarasota 941.861.9900

Historic Spanish Point

337 North Tamiami Trail * Osprey, FL * 941.966.5214

At Historic Spanish Point you step into a quiet oasis in the midst of bustling Sarasota County.  The 30 acre site is bordered by mangroves on its western rim (Little Sarasota Bay) and pine flatwoods to the east. Historic Spanish Point’s rich plant life showcases a host of native Florida species as well as the exotic (non-native) plants introduced by the Palmer family. The major plant communities and many plants are identified throughout the site. The Butterfly Garden was opened in April 2004 and is designed to showcase the butterflies that can be found at Historic Spanish Point.

Lemon Bay Park
570 Bay Park Blvd * Englewood, FL * 941.474.3065
Lemon Bay Park covers 204 acres of pine and scrubby flatwoods along the natural bay shoreline. The Natural Area Parks feature passive recreation, educational tours, and great places to enjoy Florida’s Wildlife and Tropical Wonderland. There are guided bird and butterfly walks and nature walk tours throughout the year.   

Oscar Scherer State Park

1843 S. Tamiami Trail * Osprey, FL * 941-483-5956

Oscar Scherer State Park is a 1382-acre park, just south of Sarasota, with 15 miles of trails. There are two butterfly gardens along the Lester Finley Barrier-Free Nature Trail and many other opportunities to see butterflies on the other trails.

Oscar Scherer is also home to the Florida Scrub jay (a threatened species found only in Florida).the gopher tortoise and more than 200 other species of wildlife.

Large signs throughout the Park orient visitors. A new all trails map is available at the ranger station entrance to the Park. Individual trail maps at the beginning of each trail indicate what can be seen along the way. Some trails have speaker boxes with recorded information. Trails are clearly marked with arrows. Oscar Scherer offers a host of amenities including picnic areas, a Nature Center with wildlife displays, boat ramps and canoe rentals, swimming in Lake Osprey, three playgrounds, a large camping area with 104 campsites for tents and RVs.
The Park is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. until sundown. One time entry costs $4.; annual passes which permit entry to state parks throughout Florida are available.


Sarasota County Butterfly Club Garden 

1131 Blvd. of the Arts * Sarasota, FL * 941.955.0875

This is the garden that our chapter maintains on the grounds of the Sarsota Garden Club. It is open to the public and handicapped accessible. Come enjoy the flurry of butterfly activity. We consider the garden to be an outdoor classroom/teaching tool for butterfly conservation where students and the public can learn to identify butterflies in all stages of development, learn about plants which provide food and shelter, and also learn ways to increase butterfly population by improving their environment.

Selby Botanical Gardens

811 South Palm Ave * Sarasota, FL * 941.366.5731

Selby Gardens is one of Sarasota’s jewels. This 8.5 acre tropical oasis is located on the shores of Sarasota Bay. Features include Butterfly Garden, Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Koi Pond, Succulent Garden, Orchids, Bromeliads, Cycads and more.


T. Mabry Carlton Reserve

1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway * Venice, FL * 941.486.2547

The Carlton Reserve covers 24,565 acres of pine flatwoods, dry prairies, hammock, and wetlands. The Reserve also contains large areas of wet prairie (depression ponds) and palm-oak hammocks. A wide variety of plants, birds and other wildlife thrive in this rich habitat.


USF Botanical Garden

4202 E. Fowler Ave. SCA 238 * Tampa, FL 33620 * 813.974.2329

The Garden is located near the southwest corner of the USF campus, at the intersection of Pine and Alumni Drive. The Gardens maintain a living collection of over 3,000 taxa of plants and natural habitats that emphasize the rich botanical diversity of our area. Through out the Gardens, visitors will find many animal and insect species, from gopher tortoises to butterflies to over 60 species of birds.


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