Eco-Tourism in Scenic Key West
More than just a beach lover's dream, Key West has become a popular destination for eco-tourism and nature discovery. Visit some of these popular destinations to learn more about the plants and animals that live, grow and thrive in beautiful southern Florida.
If you're into birding, Key West is the ultimate bird watching destination with over 200 species of birds migrating and breeding in the area. From breathtaking Raptors and sweet songbirds to majestic Frigate birds and everything in between, Key West is the ultimate birding vacation destination.
National Key Deer Refuge
This 9,000-acre special preserve is home to more than 800 of Florida's very special Key Deer as well as other endangered and protected animals like the silver rice rat and lower Keys marsh rabbit, all roaming and growing free in pristine pine forests, salt marshes, fresh water wetlands, and mangrove forests. The National Key Deer Refuge headquarters is located on Big Pine Key which is 100-miles south of Miami and 30-miles north of Key West on Highway US-1.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
This unique, undersea park offers exciting glass-bottom boat tours, scuba diving and snorkeling tours, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities as well as a large 30,000 gallon saltwater aquarium. The first undersea park in the U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles and was established in 1960. The park is located in Key Largo.
Dolphin Research Center
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions at this popular attraction that offers a range of fun, interactive programs and hands-on activities including dolphin training, swimming with dolphins, and dolphin shows. The DRC is located on Grassy Key, approximately 1 hour north of Key West and is open 7 days a week; advance reservations are needed for the Interactive Dolphin programs.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
Visit this designated National Marine Sanctuary and enjoy a variety of interactive and thrilling exhibits that highlight the Keys habitats and local marine environments, and shows how ocean research scientists live with a replica of the Aquarius underwater ocean laboratory.
Key West Turtle Museum
Visit this museum to learn more about the history of the turtle trade and understand how the sea turtles that were once considered a culinary delicacy went from the brink of extinction to a cherished and protected species today.
Key West Tropical Rainforest & Botanical Garden
This all-year garden is home to an extensive collection of rare tropical plants and the last fresh water ponds in the Florida Keys. Visit any time of year for a chance to see migrating birds, butterflies, turtles, and waterfalls all set off by a lush garden of tropical flowers and palm trees.
Key West Aquarium
Explore this unique aquarium and discover some of Florida's most interesting indigenous sea-creatures, including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, tropical fish, alligators, and jellyfish. Enjoy a visit to the authentic mangrove ecosystem, feel live animals in the popular touch tanks and watch fun exhibitions such as the shark feedings.
Audubon House & Gardens
This historic, 19th-century home offers visitors a chance to understand life in the 1800s with a tour of the home filled with period antiques and a trip to the gallery lined with Audubon prints. After your visit to the house, wander through a lush tropical garden filled with orchids, bromeliads, serene ponds, and lovely local wildlife.
Key West Butterfly Conservatory
Learn more about the magical world of butterflies as you explore a glass-enclosed habitat filled with colorful birds and tropical plants, serene waterfalls and over 50 species of butterflies from around the world. Voted Trip Advisor's #1 family attraction, this Butterfly Conservatory is just steps away on Duval Street.