The Butterfly Rainforest will be closed due to weather Jan 17-18. Behind-the-scenes tours available on Thursday. More Info

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will host the third annual ButterflyFest Oct. 18-19 at the University of Florida Cultural Plaza.

The free event features gardening and photography workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, butterfly and garden gifts, children’s activities and more.

“ButterflyFest is an engaging opportunity for people throughout North Central Florida to acquire the skills and tools needed to create a habitat in their own backyard for these marvelous insects,” said Doug Noble, Florida Museum head of exhibits and public programs. “Our native pollinators are essential to our survival and this festival is a fun way to learn and apply good gardening practices to attract wildlife in your own neighborhood.”

To encourage environmental stewardship, the two-day event offers host and nectar plant sales, educational and entertaining workshops and take-away crafts for children. Some programs require pre-registration. More information is available online,

The Florida Museum of Natural History is home to the award-winning Butterfly Rainforest exhibit and McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. Special behind-the-scenes tours of the McGuire Center, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths, will be offered on a space-available basis during ButterflyFest. The tour includes areas of the world’s largest butterfly and moth research facility normally not open to the public.

Children’s activities include games and crafts about the body parts and life cycle of butterflies, a Pollinator Parade and Butterfly Discovery Cart.

The Florida Museum of Natural History also has moved the date of next year’s ButterflyFest, now scheduled for Oct. 24-25, 2009, at the UF Cultural Plaza.

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Writer: Caroline Glagola
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,