Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Visit To UF's Butterfly Rainforest

Yesterday, beautiful daughter Emma and I toured the Megalodon exhibit at the University of Florida's Natural History Museum. The Meg exhibit was okay, if you didn't know a lot about sharks to start with, it would probably be waaaaay coooool, but fish are kinda' my thing.
However, the Butterfly Rainforest (it was raining, how do they do that?) was extremely waaaaay coooooool, even if the butterflies are mostly tourists from other more tropical climes.
They had some non-butterfly chomping birds in the enclosure like this finch. The neatest birds were tiny button quail that would appear from time to time from the lush foliage.
I need to find out more about them.

I don't know the names of any of these butterflies, because I don't need the brain clutter of a bunch of exotic, foreign butterfly names.

I just enjoyed their beauty while Emma identified them using the cool ID butterfly and plant guides the museum provides.

In one ear and out the other.

This is the amazing blue butterfly you will see later in this post. He's just got his wings folded while he slurps banana essence.

This one was resting while a fluttery battle raged just above his head.
There he is with wings open.
These two were kinoodling in the bamboo grove.

Every so often, you'd come across a feeder with ripe fruit on it. The museum bug nerd guides said these were needed since some butterflies did not feed on plant nectar.
The entire enclosure is densely planted with an amazing variety of plants and there is a waterfall and stream.
Butterflies are everywhere. I mean EVERYwhere. The air is full of them and every plant seems to have a few resting or feeding.
Outside of the enclosure, the walls were festooned with displays of pinned butterflys. I'm not crazy about that, but I know it has it's place for research. This is a working research museum with all kinds of insect work going on.
They have a huge window that lets you see into the nursery where a multitude of caterpillars munch happily on various potted plants. While we were in the enclosure, a museum guy brought out some new butterflies to add to the mix and chatted with the crowd.
The cost was about $8.50 for adults. About like a trip to the movies if you skip the giant tub of popcorn and two gallon cokes ... which I never do, so this was cheaper.
Happy Independence Day!

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ImagineMel said...

YAY! I was waiting on these! I wrote a b'day blog for my b'day boy. I love having the time to write again. I can't believe he's 16. :(

Anonymous said...

How come they never alight that long for my camera??????? I will never forget the first time we visited the butterfly daughter wouldn't go in...she was afraid a butterfly would land on her ;)...these days she will spend hours in Lory Landing at Busch Gardens with 6 or 7 birds on her arms, her head, her back, etc......and btw...I carry my Tervis Tumbler with me everywhere...and what design is it????? A UF gator of course ;) Thanks so much for the inspiring photos!!

Cathy S. said...

I tried for hours to get one of the blue butterflies to stay still long enough for a photo with his wings spread and never did, but you got one! Good work. Thanks for sharing. I knew you would love it.

Deb said...

That blue one is awesome. Another good reason we need rainforests.

ImagineMel said...

P.S. That first picture literally took my breath away. It is stunning with its dramatic colors. Excellent picture.

rcwbiologist said...

Thanks for the tour, and great shots! Hope you have a happy 4th. And be safe.

vicki said...

Ah-now I know you get a feel for how a person could get trapped in a man made enclosure with beautiful creatures and be completely fascinated. Lovely butterfly gardens and great photos. The little male zebra finch made me smile- they're funny little gregarious birds- and yours looks quite curious here.
Looks like an excellent field trip.

Hope you're enjoying your holiday; I'm scrolling down to see more about cicadas. Find any blue-eyed ones yet?

vicki said...

Okay- back. Liked your cicada sequence. We have had the 17 year variety here this summer, blanketing every surface in sight. There's a lovely video the Univ. of Indiana did on their emersion you can find on YouTube (or a Father's Day weekend post at my place)- but I think your photos are great and the closer I look at bugs the more I find them pretty interesting.

Bud is big on home repairs and he recently discovered expanding foam in a can. He calls frequently to tell me the gap or hole or leak where he's used his expanding foam. He loves the stuff. Go figure.

Laura said...

Ohhhhh Myyyy!!!! I've wanted to go there ever since they opened! This just confirms it for me. That first picture is stunning.
Great pics, FC, I'm so glad you took the time to get away from the fish for just a little while. I really wanted to see this place.
The butterfly in the second picture is especially pretty. Hope she had a good time, too.

pablo said...

I want to be your 100,000th visitor!

threecollie said...


Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Those are beautiful photographs.

My post this morning featured a colorful moth, as I wondered why we humans are so drab by comparison.

robin andrea said...

What a great place to spend the day. The colors on all of those butterfly wings are truly magnificent.

Hope you are having a grand 4th of July with the family, FC.

LauraHinNJ said...

Just look at all those eyespots!

Great trip - wish I could find something like that here.

SophieMae said...

Kinoodling! LOL! I occasionally hear that term in one of my favourite Britcoms.

It's been many moons since I visited Butterfly World in Coconut Creek. I think it costs about $20 these days, so UF's rainforest is quite a bargain.

Your pictures are breathtaking! I think the black and white one is my favourite.

I went butterfly hunting myownself this afternoon, but numbers are way down this year.

Doug Taron said...

Nice shots of the butterflies. I've been to butterfly exhibits aournd the country, and theirs is one of the best. I know the folks who participated in building that one (and now run it). Great folks, they were a lot of help to me about 10 years ago when we built ours. If you are ever up here in Chicago, I'll have to give you the grand tour of it.

Floridacracker said...

Glad you liked them. We enjoyed the Cedar Key evening with y'all.

Danielle B,
My wife has that Gator tumbler too!
As for the Butterflies, I did not post the many missed shots ... delete, delete, delete...

Cathy S,
You were right! It was better than Meg! I want some of those Button Quail now.

Thanks, it was the safest 4th in a long time as we didn't put on our own show for a change.

I put the finch pic in for you because I knew you kept them. That is too funny about Bud, but I must confess it is pretty cool stuff.
It has amazing power as it expands.

You gotta go. You'll love it and you'll get great shots, I know.
Yes, that second butterfly was my favorite one.

Since I can't tell who it was and you arrived in the window of opportunity, I hereby pronounce you to be visitor number 100,000.
Check's in the mail.


Perhaps if we had to blend in with our environment,instead of changing it, we would be more colorful.
Gotta drop by the ranch to see your moth.

From the plants to the insects, it was a very colorful place.
The fourth was very nice here.

I bet you can, these things seem to be really popular across the country.

I first heard "kinoodling" from a totally NOT politically correct DJ out of Jacksonville during my teen years called "The Greaseman".
It stuck with me.
It rained here!!

Thanks. The upkeep of such a place (just the plants alone) must be constant work.

Sharon said...

Wow, awesome shots. What a beautiful place. Might just have to take a ride to G'ville!

Ericka said...

beautiful! thanks for sharing.

*sigh* yeah, my fourth was the safest in a while too - i wasn't anywhere near my friends and family and our annual extravaganza. igor was going to bring the cannon too. *sulks*

glad yours was fun!

Floridacracker said...

You should, it's really well done. Actually, the whole museum is a gem.

Oh man, you missed the cannon?
Now that's a fireworks!