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Explore … indoors!

It can make you crazy when it’s raining or freezing cold, which doesn’t happen around here much, more like, blazing hot!!! The kids are going bonkers with nothing to do due to the weather so what do you do? Here are a couple of great places to visit when you are getting cabin fever.

Florida Museum of Natural History

This museum is on the campus of the University of Florida. No matter what your age there is something here to interest you. Right now the museum is home to a traveling exhibit called, Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World, that is in Gainesville until January 5, 2020.

One of the most impressive parts of the Crocs exhibit is Gomek. This saltwater crocodile was captured in Papua New Guinea and shipped to Ocala in 1917. A few years later he was sold to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park where he was known to be tame and loved by all. In 1997 he passed away at the age of 80 from heart disease and measured 17.9ft and weighed a whopping 1,896 lbs!

If you have small kids they will love the interactive area called the Discovery Zone. This is free and a perfect place to entertain a child during bad weather days. There is a section with two Microeve microscopes where you can put a feather, butterfly or a variety of other items under the lens to view the magnified item on a monitor screen. Imaginations can go wild in here with all the interactive things children can do. Nearby is a table seat up for up to four children, for an archaeology dig …..without all the dirt, as it works digitally. There is no telling what might be unearthed, and kids really get excited about it. All these hands on displays are far better than sticking kids in front of a TV or a cell phone and best of all, this area is FREE!

 

If you are fascinated by butterflies then you will love the vast, permanent, collection at this museum. You can actually watch the staff in the Rearing Lab work with all the butterflies, and you will see the butterflies and moths in their chrysalis or cocoon. Many of them hang in plain sight, just waiting for a beautiful butterfly to open its wings. You will also see many types of moths. One that we noticed was larger than your hand and has a wing span up to 12 inches wide!!!! It’s called an Atlas moth which are from Asia. They only live for about a week and apparently are born without the ability to eat, which means they don’t have a mouth! Mother Nature certainly is creative, if not cruel sometimes.

From the indoor butterfly exhibits you can venture out to the Butterfly Rainforest. Here you can walk through an enchanted garden and let the butterflies settle on you. It is a fantastic experience for everyone and a wonderful place to take photos. The Rainforest Staff also present a butterfly spotlight and release newly emerged butterflies into the exhibit each day at 2 p.m., with an additional release on weekends at 3 p.m.

General admission to the museum is free but you can make a needed donation. There is an admission charge for Crocs or Butterfly Rainforest exhibits. The museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. with last admission at 4:30 p.m.

FloridaMuseum.ufl.edu/visit 352-846-2000