WHERE TO SEE BUTTERFLIES
Listed below are several parks and nature centers from Martin county south to Broward where butterflies can be found:
16450 S.E. Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, Florida, 772/546-2771, Entrance fee $6 per car
The entrance to the park is off of U.S. Highway 1 seven miles north of Jupiter in Martin County. This 11,500 acre state park has diverse plant communities where you will see different butterflies, especially along the roadside on the way to the concession area. Palamedes (the "swamp" butterfly), Carolina Satyrs, and Little Metalmark can be observed on the trails as well as the roadside. Hairstreaks and skippers are seen throughout the year. The rare Southern Dusted Skipper can be seen feeding on thistle in the spring (April).
Blowing Rocks Preserve
574 South Beach Road, Hobe Sound, Florida 33455, 561/744-6668
The 73-acre preserve is just north of Martin County line. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages it. Several species of blues, hairstreaks, and sulphurs can be seen. Great Southern Whites, Mangrove Buckeyes, Common Buckeyes, Zebra Heliconian (Longwings), Julia Heliconian, Gulf Fritillaries, and Mangrove Skippers are commonly seen. The beach with its bay cedar stands attracts local species, including the Martial Scrub-Hairstreak and the Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak.
10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive (A1A), North Palm Beach, Fl 33408, 561/624-6950, Entrance fee $5.00 per car
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is 325 acres of subtropical habitats that once was typical of southeast Florida. The boardwalk and nature trails provide easy access to observe Mangrove Skippers, Statira Sulphurs, Ruddy Daggerwings, Zebra Heliconian (Longwings), and Julia Heliconian.
7715 Forest Hill Boulevard, West Palm Beach, Florida 33413, 561/966-6600
This is a county park in western Palm Beach County, just east of the turnpike on the north side of Forest Hill Boulevard. Go to the nature center and enjoy their nature trails. This location has had the greatest diversity of butterflies on past "Fourth of July Butterfly Counts" conducted by NABA members. There are planted areas around the nature center that boast a variety and abundance of butterflies, such as Dainty Sulphur, White Peacock, Atala Hairstreak, Zebra Heliconian (Longwing), Gulf Fritillary, Variegated Fritillary, and Horace's Duskywing.
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, Florida 33437, 561/734-8303, Entrance fee $5.00 per car
Many species of butterflies can be seen walking the 0.8-mile Marsh Trail around a freshwater impoundment that supports an abundance of birds. There are other dike trails and a cypress boardwalk to explore also. The refuge typically has the largest number of species and individual butterflies on the NABA 4th of July Butterfly Counts." Large numbers of Queens and Soldiers are seen all year. During the spring, Zebra Heliconians (Longwings), Julia Heliconian, Buckeyes, Pearl Crescents, Phaon Crescents, White Peacocks, Sulphurs and many others are plentiful.
PBC Natural Areas where we conduct butterfly counts:
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
1801 N. Ocean Boulevard, Boca Raton, Florida, 561/338-1473
Gumbo Limbo is an environmental center located on the beach in Boca Raton. Here you will find Mangrove Skippers and Hairstreaks. There is wild lime for the Giant Swallowtail and Passion-flower vines for the longwings. A boardwalk and tall tower that overlooks the lagoon and the tree canopy are well worth the visit to see Statira Sulphurs and Mangrove Skippers.The planted butterfly garden hosts Atala Hairstreak, Monarch, Cloudless Sulphur, Orange-barred Sulphur, Julia and Zebra Heliconians.
Daggerwing Nature Center at South County Regional Park
11200 Park Access Road, Boca Raton, Florida 33498, 561/488-9953
The nature center is located in western Boca Raton. Walk along the boardwalk under the strangler figs to see Ruddy Daggerwing butterflies fly in large numbers. There is also an observation tower. Numerous other butterflies can be seen around the nature center, including several species of sulphurs, including Large Orange Sulphur, Barred Yellow and Dainty Sulphur.
Mounts Botanical Garden
531 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Florida 33415, 561/233-1757
The Palm Beach County Extension Service of the University of Florida manages the 14-acre botanical garden with support from the Friends of the Mounts Botanical Garden. A lush tropical landscape, herb garden, and a butterfly garden at the west end of the garden makes Mounts an irresistible spot for butterflies. The garden has lots of planted coontie cycads that support a large Atala Hairstreak population. Swallowtails, Monarchs, Queens, Soldiers, Cassius Blues and numerous skipper species are abundant.
Robert J. Huckshorn Arboretum
5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter, FL 33458
The Arboretum host mostly native plantings and is home to a wide variety of birds and butterflies. Located on the Jupiter campus of FAU just across the street from the free Abacoa parking garage.
Fern Forest Nature Center
201 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Florida 33063, 954/970-0150
The nature center is in Pompano Beach. From the turnpike, go west 2.9 miles on Atlantic Boulevard to Lyons Road; take Lyons Road south and entrance is on your right. You can see Ruddy Daggerwings here. The meadow, weedy area supports Tropical Checkered Skippers, Phaon Crescents, and other butterflies.
Tree Tops Park
3900 S.W. 100th Avenue, Davie, Florida 33328, 954/370-3750
Located in western Broward County near the Everglades, take the turnpike to Griffin Road. Go west on Griffin Road to SW 100 Avenue North (Golden Shoe Road). Follow signs to the "ridge" area. The area is a good place to see Malachites. They like the rotting fruit from a nearby citrus grove.