Florida Day Trip: Gainesville Butterfly Rainforest

Photos of butterflies. How original. Put them right over there with my flower photos I took the other week. Whatever—don’t judge me. The weather was great and I’ve wanted to go to the Butterfly Rainforest for a while. Located in the Museum of Natural History next to the Harn Museum, the screened-in garden houses butterflies and non-native birds all year round. I’ve photographed outside of it many times now and I love the structure of the building. It was nice finally seeing the inside of it.

A little bit pricy for the amount of time I ended up spending inside (maybe an hour-and-a-half), I chalked it up to the equivalent of going to the movies. That made my frugal brain feel at ease.

When we entered the garden, butterflies immediately fluttered by and my bird photography brain starts trying to aim at everything I see whizzing past. Those gorgeous giant blue morpho butterflies were everywhere. Their iridescent coloring is utterly attractive… I’ve always wanted to see one. But as a birder, “finding” something in captivity feels cheap. What makes finding an interesting animal in the wild is that I had to find it.

In this captive environment, my brain turns it into a game of Pokemon Snap, trying to find as many species of lepidoptera as I can. “Look! There’s a new one!” I quietly shouted to my group and pointed. That happened a few times before the fun of it wore off. While there were hundreds of butterflies, I didn’t see many different kinds… less than a dozen. Professor Oak wasn’t pleased.

The garden itself is beautifully landscaped. Even without the animals, the water features and flowering plants make for a pleasant viewing experience. There were definitely two kinds of groups that were walking around the place: families and couples on dates. Many couples’ selfies were had on the walkways and bridges.

Camera and Processing Information

Camera: Photos shot with the Canon 5D Classic with the Tamron 90mm Macro.

Processing: VSCO, Pack 1: Fuji 160C then in Toolkit, I added Fuji 2 processing and then Faded. Added grain in Photoshop, monochrome Gaussian at 1.5.

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