There are always a ton of fun and fresh things to do in Northern Florida. One attraction in the Starke area that seems to have something for everyone is The Florida Museum of Natural History.
The Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the University of Florida campus, treats visitors to a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits. The museum contains more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, including one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths.
In a bit of synchronicity, one of the most popular attractions at the museum is the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit.
The Butterfly Rainforest contains upwards of 80 different species of live moths and butterflies. The exhibit contains around 1,000 live moths and butterflies in an enclosed, outdoor space attached to the museum. Plants, landscaping and flowing water cause the exhibit to seamlessly mimic rainforest habitat. The space also contains a variety of other live creatures, including fish and turtles. A variety of Indoor Butterfly Exhibits further bring this fascinating group of insects to life.
The Butterfly Rainforest qualifies as a must-see for anyone visiting the museum or even just the area!
The museum’s internationally acclaimed fossil collection is another big attraction. Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land utilizes this collection to illustrate the last 65 million years of Florida’s natural history.
Other permanent exhibits include:
Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife – This exhibit follows the path taken by Florida’s most precious resource — water – as it flows from northwest Florida down to the Gulf of Mexico.
South Florida People & Environments – Discover South Florida estuaries and the societies they have supported throughout history. Particularly fascinating is the history of the Calusa, who once ruled all of South Florida.
Exploring Our World – This exhibit celebrates the history of the Museum and world-class collections through images, discovery drawers, and video. The exhibit also highlights current studies and research projects at the University of Florida.
The museum always has a number of traveling or rotating exhibits, as well as hosting events throughout the year. The grounds around the museum include a Fossil Plant Garden and a Florida Wildflower & Butterfly Garden.
General Admission to The Florida Museum of Natural History is free. There is a cover charge for admission to featured exhibits and the Butterfly Rainforest. The museum is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
The Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida, 3215 Hull Rd, Gainesville, FL 32611
Open year ’round, 7 days a week. 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday, 1 pm to 5 pm Sundays.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
See what’s happening right now at the museum by visiting The Florida Museum of Natural History website!
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