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Eco-Inspired Activities

Your Florida Keys eco-adventures await!

Use our list of unique Key West eco-adventure suggestions to find the perfect off the beaten path experience the next time you're in the Florida Keys. We can help you plan out the perfect earth-friendly experience.

Dolphin swimming in ocean

Dolphin Research Center

Visit the Dolphin Research Center and spend a day playing with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions! The Research Center offer a variety of programs, all of which can be reserved in advance and online. The programs include: Trainer for a Day, Researcher for a Day, Dolphin Encounter, and Dolphin Dip. This is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone who loves aquatic animals. The Dolphin Research Center is located about 1 hour north of Key West, on Grassy Key; it is open 7 days a week and does require advance reservations for all interactive Dolphin programs.

58901 Overseas Highway MM59
Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
(305) 289-0002

www.dolphins.org

Key deer

National Key Deer Refuge

The National Key Deer Refuge, located on Big Pine Key about 30 miles north of Key West, is home to the truly unique Florida Keys deer. The headquarters for the Refuge is housed in the Big Pine Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard. Visit the Key Deer in their native habitat for a uniquely Florida Keys experience.

National Key Deer Refuge
28950 Watson Boulevard
Big Pine Key, FL 33043

www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer

Aerial view of Fort Jefferson

Dry Tortugas National Park

The Dry Tortugas National Park of the Florida Keys is another memorable Florida Keys experience. Accessible only by plane or boat, this national park is the farthest-at-sea national facility in the continental US. The National Park is made up of seven islands which are located almost 70 miles west of Key West. The park is also home to the historic Fort Jefferson. For more information about the park, visit www.dry.tortugas.national-park.com.

If you want to take a boat to the park, there are a few suggestions we can make. We typically recommend taking a fast ferry such as The Yankee Freedom II, a 100 foot catamaran. The ferry will take you on a round trip visit to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Your journey includes a guided tour, breakfast on board and a picnic buffet at Fort Jefferson. This is an all-day event, departing at 8am and returning about 5:30pm.

Fast Cat Ferry
240 Margaret Street
Key West, FL 33040
800-634-0939
www.fastcatferry.com

Monarch butterfly

Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is a magical experience the whole family! Walk through a beautiful habitat made up of a wide variety of birds, flora, and butterflies - thousands of butterflies! Here, you'll be able to learn about the migration and life-cycle of these graceful creatures and then make sure to visit the gift shop for a one-of-a-kind butterfly keepsake.

Frigate Bird

Bird Watching

The Florida Keys offer unique opportunities for bird watchers! With over 200 species of birds migrating through the Keys throughout the year, there is always a new species to view. When driving down to Key West, be sure to keep an eye out for the magnificent frigate birds whose feathers weigh more than their skeletons! Also, watch out for the osprey that nest on the utility poles in the early months of Spring, they'll often have babies in the nests. There are always rare birds to be found during your Key West visit!

Fish swimming above coral

Eco-Discovery Center

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the perfect location to learn about our fragile Florida Keys ecosystem! You'll have the opportunity to wander through over 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory. Don't miss this chance to learn about the Key West ecosystem… and did we mention it’s free?

Baby sea turtle on the beach

Turtle Kraals Museum

This tiny museum has a big story to tell. Key West is home to the only sea turtle museum in the world! Once home to turtle processing and canning, Key West is now an advocate for the sea turtles. Let a tour guide explain the importance of preserving the environment, while going through the exhibits. Maybe, by the time you leave, you’ll be just as passionate about sea turtles!

Audubon House Key West

Audubon House and Gardens

Visit the home of the Audobon tropical gardens that inspired the Audubon guides. You'll be able to see a variety of First Edition Audubon works of world-renowned ornithologist, John James Audubon. The Key West Audubon tropical gardens will surely impress nature lovers with its impressive native and exotic plants.

Turtles on a rock

Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Did you know there is only one frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States? And it's in Key West! Our tropical environment, with ample rainfall, allows most trees to retain their leaves in the dry season (December through late May). The Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is home to many endangered and threatened flora and fauna.

Fish swimming

Key West Aquarium

If you've ever dreamed of getting up-close-and-personal with the sharks, turtles, stingrays and other tropical fish found in the pristine blue waters around Key West, now you can. The Key West Aquarium is home to a wide variety of sea life and is actively involved in conservation of the delicate eco-system of the Florida Keys. Come interact with the aquatic wildlife at the Aquarium. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see them feed!

Fish on coral

Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, on Key Largo, encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles and is the only underwater state park. All visitors can enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, however if you're feeling adventurous, you can get a closer look by scuba diving or snorkeling. You can also canoe and kayak through the park’s waters. Be sure to check out the visitor center’s 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium!

The park is located on Key Largo, approximately 2 hours from Key West.

102601 Overseas Highway (MM 102.5)
Key Largo, FL 33037
(305) 451-6300