If you're a fan of the delicate winged creatures, then this is definitely the place for you. The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, which treats visitors to amazing sights and smells of mother earth, has a climate controlled enclosure for about 60 species of butterflies. The colors, size, shape, history and lifespan can be studied at the Learning Center - a great experience for children and adults alike. The gallery and gift shop have lots more in store.
Built in 1845 and occupied by Yankee forces in 1861, the fort was finally completed in 1866. Now a National Historic Landmark, the fort offers tours to visitors. In January the park hosts the annual Sculpture Key West; if you're here in February, you'll be treated to Civil War Days. The west side of the State Park is ideal for fishing and snorkeling. In addition, the park also provides tables and grills for a picnic.
Opened in 1934, this educational and entertaining aquarium features diverse exhibits on sea life in the area and live demonstrations. Wander among the many varieties of marine life or take a guided tour. One of the major attractions of the aquarium includes daily feedings of shark and fish. Children usually enjoy the touching area, where visitors can touch marine creatures in shallow pools.
This strip of sand is one of the best-known beaches in Key West. Named after a former governor, it is just west of the airport and, at two miles long, it is the island's longest strip of sand. This beach is an excellent choice if you have children. With plenty of parking, restrooms, concession stands, chair rentals, picnic tables, watersport rentals and more, everything you need to have a great day in the sun is right at hand. The beach was hit hard by a hurricane in 1998, but it has recovered well and is flourishing once again.
The Key West Garden Club is housed in this Civil War-era fort tower. The club maintains a handsome garden featuring native tropical plants. Art shows and flower shows take place here regularly. An orchid show is a particular lure for connoisseurs and the like. March and November are the prime time for shows. Also in March, the club operates a tour of private gardens in the city, which gives you a chance to look at houses you'd never see otherwise. Donations are welcomed but there's no official charge.
Spanning a distance of 113 miles (182 kilometers), the Overseas Highway is exactly what the name suggests. Offering a route between Key West and Key Largo with several intersections at different islands, the highway offers a route unlike any other. Initially an overseas railway, the route was made suitable for road traffic by constructing new roads at a different alignment from the railways. However, today, the route comprises several bridges that allow people to traverse one of the world’s most scenic highways. As you drive over the bridges, over the crystal clear blue waters of the ocean from island to island, the stunning views are sure to take your breath away.
Believed to be the place where Ernest Hemingway penned his work Farewell to Arms, Key West is the southernmost edge of the Florida Keys. Just 90 miles from the island of Cuba, Key West has integrated Caribbean traditions into its cultural fabric, that influence everything from the city's cuisine to music. With its sun-warmed white sand tapering into crystal clear ocean fringed by shady palms and alluring villas, Key West is an oasis of tropical beauty. After dark, tourists and locals spill into the many bars and clubs of the happening downtown area, centered around Duval Street, while those with a literary bend make discuss the art of prose and poetry during the famed Key West Literary Seminar.
Lower Keys' Higgs Beach is an idyllic spot to picnic with family or friendly. The serene beach is not too crowded and offers a beautiful stretch of white sand and cerulean blue waters. A few beach-side shacks rent out chairs and sun decks, which makes it an ideal haunt for sun bathers. Higgs also has a small pier with steps leading into the clear waters. Volleyball courts and shaded areas can also be found on the beach shores.
Located right in the middle of crowded Old Town Key West, this place is an "island in the stream." Owner Nancy Forrester has somehow managed to face down the pressure of development and the tree-tearing fury of hurricanes in order to keep this 30-year-old garden pristine and magnificent. Here you will see the tropics in all its foliage glory with exotics such as orchids nestling in branches, huge ferns, bromeliads, red ginger, pink heliconias and a "sunburn" gumbo-limbo tree. Bring a picnic lunch and tour the onsite art gallery, as well. Admission is USD6.