Even the name sounds magical—Butterfly World. Just a short drive from the ultra-luxurious Sabbia Beach condominiums in Pompano Beach, Butterfly World is the largest butterfly park in the world.
The 10-acre park is located in Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek, Florida, and is home to over 150 species of butterflies. Soft classical music plays as you wander through the various winding paths and butterflies flitter around you, feeding on exotic tropical flowers.
Butterfly World was the vision of one man, Ronald Boender, the son of Dutch immigrants, who grew up on an Illinois farm. Fascinated by the butterflies and silk moths he saw there, he moved to Florida in 1968 and—after retiring from a career in electrical engineering—decided to indulge his hobby.
After farming butterflies and selling them to zoos and universities, he expanded his vision to encompass Butterfly World, based on a London attraction he’d seen on a visit to England. He opened Butterfly World in 1988, eventually expanding it to include hummingbirds and lorikeets.
The park also includes a research and education center and, in its work with the University of South Florida, has been instrumental in saving the endangered Schaus Swallowtail butterfly.
Butterfly World keeps a minimum of 3,000 butterflies on display at any given time, and usually up to 10,000, inside the tropical greenhouses. The Tropical Rain Forest aviary features waterfalls, tropical plants, butterflies, and free-flying birds; the Paradise Adventure Aviary includes fountains with ponds, along with the butterflies; the Hanging Garden and Butterfly Emerging Area is a wonder of tropical plants, hanging pupa and emerging butterflies.
But you’ll find lots more than butterflies at Butterfly World. Head to the Jewels of the Sky Aviary for close encounters with darting hummingbirds, as well as many other birds. The Wings of the World Secret Garden has one of the world’s largest collections of Passion Flower vines, a favorite of butterflies. Grace Gardens is an outdoor botanical garden bursting with flowering tropical plants as well as water gardens. And kids will most certainly love the Bug Zoo, where the live-insect display includes every kind of creepy, crawly creature. Finally, there’s the Lorikeet Encounter, where the multicolored parrots will feed from nectar cups right out out your hand.
Everything is geared to total relaxation, so for a leisurely day out, you shouldn’t miss Butterfly World.
The park is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $29.95 for adults, $21.95 for children ages 3-11, and is free for children under 2. Annual passes are available. Parking is free, but admission to Tradewinds Park is $1.50 per person on weekends and holidays. The park is wheelchair accessible.