Have a Wild Adventure with our Key West Wildlife!
Key West’s clean shores and beautiful foliage doesn’t just attract tourists! This southernmost location is home to a diverse range of Key West wildlife, and we’ve found the best ways to interact and learn about it! Let our list of eco-inspired activities get you started on a wild adventure during your Key West visit.
Dolphin Research Center
Spend a day playing with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and California Sea Lions at the Dolphin Research Center! They offer a variety of terrific programs, including Trainer for a Day, Researcher for a Day, Dolphin Encounter, and Dolphin Dip, all of which can all be reserved in advance and online. This is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone who loves aquatic animals. The DRC is located on Grassy Key, about 1 hour north of Key West; it is open 7 days a week; advance reservations are needed for Interactive Dolphin programs.
58901 Overseas Highway MM59
Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
National Key Deer Refuge
The National Key Deer Refuge is located on Big Pine Key. Location: The refuge is located 100 miles southwest of Miami and 30 miles northeast of Key West, FL along U.S. #1. Headquarters is on Big Pine Key in the Big Pine Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard. Visit the Key Deer in their natural habitat.
National Key Deer Refuge
28950 Watson Boulevard
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park of the Florida Keys, is another memorable Florida Keys experience, but is only accessible to visit by plane or boat.
This national park, which is made up of seven islands located almost 70 miles, 112.9 km, west of Key West, is the farthest-at-sea national facility in the continental US and home to the historic Fort Jefferson. A 100 foot catamaran called 'The Yankee Freedom II', will take you on a round trip visit to the Dry Tortugas National Park. The Yankee Freedom II features twin bow observation pulpits and a main deck large enough to walk around, plus an air-conditioned cabin with galley and bar. Dine on a complimentary breakfast on board and a complimentary picnic buffet at Fort Jefferson. Your journey includes a free, guided tour. This is an all-day event, departing at 8am and returning about 5:30pm.
240 Margaret Street
Key West, FL 33040
Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is a magical experience for adults and children alike! Walk amongst a beautiful habitat of colorful birds, exotic flora, and thousands of friendly butterflies. Learn about the migration and life-cycle of these graceful creatures or visit the gift shop for a unique Key West butterfly keepsake.
The Florida Keys offer unique opportunities for bird watchers! Over 200 species of birds appear in the Keys due to the seasonal migrations including several types of raptors and songbirds. Enjoy the magnificent frigate birds (Whose feathers weigh more than their skeletons!) as they float effortlessly over the Overseas Highway, or check out the osprey that nest on the utility poles in the early months of Spring. No matter the time of year, there are always rare birds to be found during your Key West visit!
Educate yourself about our fragile ecosystem at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! Explore over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory. This is a great chance to learn about the Key West ecosystem… and did we mention it’s free?
Turtle Kraals Museum
This tiny museum has an deep story to tell. Although Key West has a history of turtle processing and canning, it is now home to the only sea turtle museum in the world! An enthusiastic tour guide will take you through the exhibits and explain the importance of preserving the environment, and by the time you leave you’ll be just as passionate as they are.
Audubon House and Gardens
The beautiful setting and the twenty-eight different First Edition Audubon works available for viewing at this Key West Audubon house will surely impress nature lovers. The site boasts impressive tropical gardens with native and exotic plants as well as the works of world-renowned ornithologist, John James Audubon.
Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
Don’t miss the only “frost-free” botanical garden in the continental United States. The tropical environment with ample rain allows most trees to retain their leaves in the dry season (December through late May). It is home to many endangered and threatened flora and fauna. Tropical forests of the world hold at least half of all the variety of life on Earth. Moreover, the species found with the Caribbean are among the richest in plant and animal life on the planet.
Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium is home to sharks, turtles, stingrays, other tropical fish found in the beautiful waters of Key West. It is actively involved in conservation of the delicate eco-system of the Florida Keys. Come interact with the aquatic wildlife, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to see them feed!
Coral Reef State Park
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. Visitors enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, but the adventurous can get a closer look by scuba diving or snorkeling and canoeing and kayaking through the park’s waters are popular activities. Be sure to check out the visitor center’s 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium!