On our last day in Key West, we decided to visit West Martello Tower, which used to be one of three Civil War era forts built in Key West but was later dismantled to aid in the building of Fort Zachary Taylor. Fortunately, not all parts of the fort were moved and now volunteers have turned the fort into a vast garden home to some pretty unique plants and trees.
It’s basically free to walk around the grounds, once you get inside they give you a map and suggest making a donation on your way out. It’s a nice, quiet place to take in the scenery and steal some shade while learning some history before hitting Higgs beach, which is located 5 feet from it.
One of my favorite parts was learning about the Banynan Tree. They are essentially everywhere in Florida and only survive here due to the state’s tropical ecosystem. Originally from India, there are myths that the tree grants wishes by tugging on it’s vines, which totally reminded me of that tree in Pocahontas except with the total aesthetic and feel of something fit for a Tarzan movie.
After spending about an hour on the beach, we decided to stop by the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. It’s a quaint little place absolutely full of more butterfly species than I can count, mating flamingoes (saved from a zoo), and some native Floridian birds. The greatest thing about the Conservatory is that the entire area is open. You basically enter a large backyard space with thousands of butterflies dancing around you, quails running around your feet, and birds grazing your head as they fly above you. It’s so beautiful. I wish I could upload video, because some of the video we have really shows how amazing it is. There are seating areas throughout the yard where you can sit for a moment and take it all in, which for us ended with two butterflies landing on Joey and one landing on my hat, making for some great photo ops.
That blue blip near my hand is a butterfly flying past me 🙂
Once you pay the admission, they allow you to come and go as you please throughout the day, we walked through twice, then we were homebound! Key West is about 4 hours from our home in Miami, so we left pretty early to hit some of the other islands on the way and get back home to that baby kitten of mine!