If you are in the Gainesville, FL area, check out the Butterfly Rainforest which is part of the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus.  They are open year round but the best time is in the late fall

when the mornings are cool and it warms up a bit.  During the warmer months the butterflies are very active and difficult to photograph.

The Butterfly Rainforest is just part of the Florida Museum of Natural History but it’s my favorite part!   The large domed enclosure is full of numerous plants and flowers.   The many species of butterflies are free to fly all through the area.  There are also several species of small birds making the Rainforest their home.

There is a small stream & several waterfalls to add the sound of running water making this is a great place to just sit, watch & listen!

Adjacent to the Rainforest is the university’s  lepidopterology laboratory.   They have thousands of specimens, some of which are posted in the lobby of the rainforest.  They also have a butterfly nursery where they hold the butterfly chrysalises.  They have them setup so you can see them as they emerge as beautiful butterflies.   They have scheduled releases of the recently emerged butterflies which is a great time to be there as they usually are not ready to fly right away and therefore are much easier to photograph plus they are in pristine condition since they are so new!

Every October they have a Butterfly Festival that is shared by the community!   Check out the Butterfly Rainforest website to plan your visit and see what events are coming up.   They have a large gift store and usually have a supply of plants that butterflies like for laying there eggs or for feeding.  To extend your visit, be sure to determine what the current exhibit is in the Museum of Natural History!

This is a great place for photography but they do have some restrictions: no tripods or monopods, no backpacks (you can leave it at the desk just outside the rainforest in case you need something)!   I used my Nikon D810, a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikon lens and a Nikon 2X Teleconverter.

For more images from this wonderful place, please visit the gallery on my website.

That is all  for now.



Leave a Comment