The earliest history museums had little actual history to draw on, and instead padded exhibits with wildly speculative displays about how dinosaurs would be elected to Congress by the year 2000. See how far we've come with this Groupon.
$25 for Family Four Pack of Exhibit Admissions to Titanoboa: Monster Snake and Butterfly Rainforest (Up to $56 Value)
Families receive admission to the Titanoboa: Monster Snake and Butterfly Rainforest exhibits. Titanoboa: Monster Snake brings visitors face-to-snout with the recently discovered remains of the largest snake in the world. Guests can explore the creature’s Paleocene era, observe specialists at work in the paleontology prep lab, and view a re-creation of the fossil site where the discovery was made. In the Butterfly Rainforest, families trek through a 6,400-square-foot outdoor enclosure rife with waterfalls, tropical plants, and hundreds of vibrant butterflies. Stations throughout the exhibit pepper minds with edifying tidbits on butterfly behaviors as well as explaining how butterflies are vital to ecosystems.
Florida Museum of Natural History
Standing still in a cloud of free-flying butterflies, exploring the depths of a limestone cave, and gazing at the 14-foot bones of a 16,000-year-old Columbian mammoth skeleton—visitors can do all of this in just one afternoon at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Since starting in 1891 as a professor’s teaching collection of fossils, minerals, and human anatomy models, the museum has transformed into the home of more than 40 million specimens, creating a library of life that features one of the world’s largest collections of butterflies and moths.
Reflecting the museum’s impressive collection of winged beauties, some of its exhibits focus on the butterflies and moths that, unlike humans, can survive long flights without eating a single package of peanuts. At the Butterfly Rainforest, more than 1,000 butterflies from 60 to 80 species take to the air among tropical trees, orchids, bromeliads, and waterfalls cascading into a pond that bustles with fish and turtles. Feeding stations with freshly cut fruit dot the 6,400-square-foot screened enclosure, letting guests get up close as the butterflies feast. Live butterfly releases daily at 2 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. let onlookers watch them fly into an outdoor butterfly rainforest, and among the indoor butterfly exhibits, curious audiences can peer into a rearing lab where staff unpack and sort newly arrived pupae.
Rounding out the museum’s focus on Floridian biosystems, the Northwest Florida: Waterways & Wildlife exhibit invites visitors to wander through a full-scale recreation of a hammock forest, and the South Florida exhibit takes guests down the peninsula with a mangrove boardwalk and a palm-thatched Calusa leader’s house. The museum's internationally acclaimed fossil collection includes highlights such as "shark jaw row," extinction dioramas, and full skeletal mounts and sculptures. Meanwhile, outside, petals unfurl in the wildflower and butterfly garden.