Tucked away in the lovely town of Gainesville, the Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the top five natural history museums in the US. If you want to regale yourself with astonishing secrets of the eco-system, wildlife, and natural beauty, the Museum of Natural History has much to offer. It even has actual fossils discovered from across the region.
It is one of the best museums in Florida. The exhibits are not only informative but quite visually appealing. This then, is why this museum is highly recommended for children of all ages. Additionally, you can gain free admission for all the permanent exhibits. Touring this museum is the perfect plan for a fun day out with the kids!
The exhibits guide you through a splendid journey into the American history of nature. Not only that, but it shows you the evolution of the ecological system. It also allows you to enjoy a variety of permanent exhibitions, alongside some limited-time exhibitions; some of which we have added to the article as part of our recommendations.
Plan a Visit to the Florida Museum Of Natural History
You can visit the Florida Museum of Natural History any day of the week. However, just keep in mind that it is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays, you can visit the museum from 1 pm to 5 pm.
The Museum of Natural History is open throughout the year, with the exception of the Holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Also, if you are running late, keep in mind that the last batch of tickets for the exhibitions is sold 30 minutes before closing.
While general admission is free, visitors are expected to pay a cover charge for several featured exhibits. This includes the popular Butterfly Rainforest exhibit; a mesmerizing indoor garden. All the permanent exhibits are free for all, and tickets for the Butterfly rainforest will cost $14 for adults, and $7 for children.
The Museum of Natural History provides amazing discounts on its limited-time exhibits and the Butterfly Rainforest for a group of 10 or more adults. Here, you can also obtain guided tours, which will certainly make the experience more rewarding. The tour guides and museum experts will provide an in-depth and highly insightful tour; tailored for audiences of children and adults.
Keep in mind that these guided tours are also available from Monday to Friday between 10 am to 3 pm. Also, it is highly recommended to make tour reservations three years in advance. However, the staff at the Museum of Natural History are willing to accommodate you with two weeks’ notice as well.
Most Popular Exhibits at the Florida Museum Of Natural History
A live exhibit, this stunning indoor garden makes the Museum of Natural History the best amongst all museums in Orlando. Its gorgeously whimsical setting has been created to provide a natural habitat to a plethora of butterflies. It is very much like a fairy garden with hundreds of butterflies fluttering around. The museum also allows you to carefully pamper, pet, and even feed them. Isn’t that incredible?
This living exhibit is highly recommended for both adults and children. It is certain that you simply cannot miss out on this wondrous experience. You get to learn about hundreds of free-flying birds and butterflies from across the globe, alongside other animals, fish, reptiles and more. The charges are around $14 for adults, $12 for elderly visitors, and $7 for children between the ages 3 to 7.
The tropical landscape of the Rainforest is lush with dewy greenery, tropical trees, vibrantly colorful flowers, and mesmerizing waterfalls. As you walk across the stunning pathways, you can interact with captivating creatures as they flutter around you. The Museum’s friendly and skilled personnel will also guide you along the way. They will introduce you to varieties of butterflies and animals; helping you learn in an impressively engaging fashion.
Things To Do
If you want to catch the splendid butterfly spotlight, be sure to reach the Museum by 2 pm from Monday to Friday. At this time, you can catch the show by 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. This ever-changing and truly one of its kind living ecosystems will introduce hundreds of exquisite flowering plants, orchids, and bromeliads.
The butterfly feeding stations is a truly amazing experience. Here, you get to feed tropical butterflies with freshly cut pieces of fruit on tiny feeding trays. Gardening enthusiasts can also discover techniques and gain the inspiration they need to reinvent their home garden into a tropical wonder.
Our Changing Climate: Culture At Risk
A highly insightful and informative exhibit, Our Changing Climate allows free admission, and open through for visitors until November 17th. This exhibition is sprawling with galleries laden with images, immersive visuals, and crucial information that will help you understand the impact of climate change. It helps visitors to understand how the climate can wreak havoc on cultural attractions.
This exhibit ranks amongst the most popular exhibits shown by the Museum of Natural History. Additionally, it is highly recommended for children as it will walk them through the causes of soaring temperatures, soil erosion, rising sea levels. It shows children how climate change tends to affect historic sites across the globe.
Indeed, the NASA Climate Time Machine is the most engrossing and exciting showcase in the entire exhibition. This predictive software allows you to visualize the effects of climate change across sea ice, global temperatures, and sea levels.
Gorillas In The Mist: Dian Fossey’s Legacy
A recently opened exhibition that welcomes visitors with free admission is titled Gorillas in the Mist. It guides you through an intimate and engrossing journey, allowing you to experience the lifestyle and habitats of mountain gorillas. This exhibit is a spellbinding showcase, based on the work of prominent nature photographer, Bob Campbell; also known to have covered the groundbreaking research by Dian Fossey.
Exhibits like these are what makes the Museum of Natural History one of the best museums in Florida. This showcase allows you to understand the intuitive and intelligent nature of this highly endangered species of gorillas. It is a spellbinding showcase that also includes photos of the first contact between humans and gorillas; taken by Dian Fossey herself.
Visitors can also see videos and audio recordings of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Another captivating attraction in this exhibit is the 3D printed Gorilla skull models. They were produced by the University of Florida’s anthropology department.
South Florida People & Environments
One of the best exhibits to understand the captivating mysteries of American history, the South Florida People & Environments is a splendid showcase that will take you on a rewarding journey of unraveling the history of South Florida.
The Florida Museum of Natural History offers free admission for this showcase; to learn why the region is one of the richest ecosystems on the planet. It is wondrous exhibit of the history of Native Americans that will take you back thousands of years in time. It will introduce you to rulers like the mighty Calusa, who once controlled the entire South Florida region.
As you stroll through the Mangrove Boardwalk, a manmade mangrove forest, you can explore the dynamics of rich coastal ecosystems with precarious sounds, lights, animals and a plethora of flowering plants and other species.
The gallery is rich with an abundance of artifacts from the fishing villages of Florida. Here, you can also visit the house of the Calusa leader, and attend a political ceremony that will take you back to 1564.
The Native American legacy gallery is home to some of the most incredible collections of archeological remains. It also has rare artifacts found around Florida and even a popular 1000-year painting of a woodpecker.
Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife
Another exhibit that is highly immersive and enjoyable and welcomes visitors with free admission. Northwest Florida will introduce you to the pathways of the most precious resource of Florida: water.
One of the coolest exhibits by the Florida Museum of Natural History, it will walk you through the paths of water flowing across northwest Florida. It allows you to explore the stunning water springs, limestone caves and natural habitats of the region.
The Hammock Forest is undoubtedly the most captivating attraction; a stunning recreation center that is home to 50 different plants and animals. Also, you can explore the reality of living in a northwest Florida cave. This is besides exploring the fossils, minerals, and hydrology of the layers of limestone found in a cave.
Typically, the Florida Museum of Natural History has around three rotating exhibitions. These sections are showcased for a limited time period, allowing visitors to learn about diverse and interesting topics. Some of the most engrossing rotating exhibits staged by the Museum of Natural History include the Dark Beetle Calligraphy and Mapping collections.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is brimming with a plethora of opportunities to learn and enthrall yourself with the secrets and mysteries of Mother Nature. Each exhibit will walk you through the creative dimensions of discovery. The Butterfly Rainforest is an absolute wonder for all to see. Both children and adults will instantly fall in love with it. You can also learn about waterways, the historical evolution of the first inhabitants of Florida, wildlife, and more.