Florida butterfly garden is 6,400 square feet of natural beauty

In the heart of Florida, you'll reach a rainforest that is brimming with butterflies. In fact, you'll be surrounded by hundreds of them.

The Butterfly Rainforest is an exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. It’s a 6,400-square-foot enclosure filled with tropical, exotic butterflies. 

"We call it the Butterfly Rainforest for a reason," says exhibit manager, Ryan Fessenden. "You feel like you’ve walked into a rainforest. Very often, there is a WOW factor."

The most common question he receives is: How long does a butterfly live? 

Photo: Close-up of butterfly at Florida Museum of Natural History.

Close-up of butterfly at Florida Museum of Natural History.

In captivity, they live about two to three weeks. In the wild, a lifespan can average seven to ten days.

The exhibit typically has between 50 to 55 species at any given time. Because their lifespans are so short, the museum is constantly getting new shipments of butterflies from different parts of the world. 

"Over the course of the year, we’ll have about 200 different species for you to enjoy inside the exhibit," Ryan said.

The Florida Museum of Natural History is located at 3215 Hull Road in Gainesville. They are open seven days a week.

For more information, visit their website: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/visit/plan