Tag Archives: Key West

10-29-19 – Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory


The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory located at 1316 Duval Street, Key West, Florida, United States is a butterfly park that houses from 50 to 60 different species of live butterflies from around the world in a climate-controlled, glass-enclosed habitat.

The conservatory includes flowering plants, cascading waterfalls and trees. There are also several species of free flying “butterfly friendly” birds, such as red-factor canaries, zebra finches, cordon-blue finches and “button” or Chinese painted quail.

There is a learning center where guests can get a close up view of a variety of live caterpillars feeding and developing on their host plants.

Souce: Wikipedia

10-28-19 – Key West Aquarium

The Key West Aquarium is the only public aquarium in Key West, Florida, United States. It is located at 1 Whitehead Street and is marked by Historic Marker 52.

Built between 1932 and 1934, the Key West Aquarium is one of Florida’s oldest aquariums. Original admission was 15 cents for adults and 5 cents for children.

The aquarium was conceived by Dr. Robert Van Deusen, the Director of the Fairmount Park Aquarium in Philadelphia. The aquarium was originally an open air aquarium, one of the first and largest at the time.

During the Great Depression, Key West turned over its charter to the federal government due to the economic disaster that hit the island. The federal government believed that Key West’s weather and location would make it an ideal tourist destination. The Works Project Administration (WPA) was sent in and built the tourist attraction.

The aquarium is home to exhibits on alligators, atlantic shore fish, jellyfish, sharks, sea turtles, and a touch tank.

Source: Wikipedia

10-28-19 – Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park


The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, better known simply as Fort Taylor (or Fort Zach to locals) is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida.

1845–1900
Construction of the fort began in 1845 as part of a mid-19th century plan to defend the southeast coast through a series of forts after the War of 1812. Thompson Island, at the southwest tip of Key West, was selected as the site for the fort in 1822 and plans for the fort, drawn up by Simon Bernard and Joseph G. Totten, were approved in 1836. Two supporting batteries, Martello Towers, provided additional coverage, one of which exists today as the Martello Gallery-Key West Art and Historical Museum. The fort was named for United States President Zachary Taylor in November 1850, a few months after President Taylor’s sudden death in office. The fort’s foundation consists of oolitic limestone and New England granite. Its five-foot thick walls rose 50 feet above mean low water, and included two tiers of casemates plus a terreplein or barbette at the top. Three seaward curtains 495 feet between bastions, each containing 42 guns on three levels, were augmented by a land facing gorge. Troop barracks were built into this gorge with a capacity for 800 men. At either end of the barracks was a large gunpowder magazine while a Sally port was located in the center, connected to land by a 1200-foot causeway. Rainwater was collected in underground cisterns along the perimeter of the fort. Yellow fever epidemics and material shortages slowed construction of the fort, which continued throughout the 1850s. The Pensacola, Florida firm of Raiford and Abercrombie provided the bricks for Fort Zachary Taylor and Fort Jefferson, which was also under construction at the same time.

At the outset of the U.S. Civil War on 13 Jan. 1861, Union Captain John Milton Brannan, moved his 44 men of the First U.S. Artillery from Key West Barracks to Fort Taylor. His orders were to prevent the fort from falling into Confederate hands. The fort then became a key outpost to threaten blockade runners. Major William H. French arrived in April with his artillery unit.

In 1898, the fort was reduced down to the second floor and Battery Osceola was added to the south casemate. The battery consisted of two 12 inch artillery pieces. The Civil War-era pieces were used as fill, being buried within the new battery to save on materials. Battery Adair was added to the west casemate and included four 3-inch, 15-pounder Rapid Fire rifles.

The fort was heavily used again during the 1898 Spanish–American War, World Wars I and II, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1947, the fort, no longer of use to the U.S. Army, was turned over to the U.S. Navy for maintenance. In 1968, volunteers led by Howard S. England excavated Civil War guns and ammunition buried in long-abandoned parts of the fort, which was soon discovered to house the nation’s largest collection of Civil War cannons. Fort Taylor was therefore placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Due to the filling in of land around the fort, including the creation of an attractive stretch of beach, the park now occupies 87 acres (352,000 m²).

Source: Wikipedia

10-28-19 – West Martello Tower Garden Club


Key West was the only southern city allied with the Federal government during the Civil War. This is where the presence of Fort Zachary Taylor and both East and West Martello Towers originated. Fort Zach is located at the southwestern tip of the island, while West Martello is found along the southern coast at Higgs Beach and East Martello is located near the airport.

Fort Zach began construction in 1845 and was completed 21 years later in 1866. The construction of the Martello Towers also took considerable time. In 1836, Colonel Joseph Gilmore Totten originally planned to build nine forts in Key West. Due to budget, this was revised to one fort, being Fort Zach, and two advanced batteries, being the Martellos. It would take nearly 30 years before construction began on the towers. The West Martello battery was completed in 1863, but work ceased in 1873 and the tower was never armed. It became a quarry for residents.

In 1878, two small guns were installed and the tower was used during the Spanish American War for quartering troops, storage, signaling and lookout. During World War II, it was used for radio stations and as an anti-aircraft battery.

By 1947, all Army personnel were released from the island and the two towers were turned over as property of Monroe County. Meanwhile, Fort Zach remained would property of the Navy.

Two years later, when the tower was threatened by demolition, the Key West Garden Club stepped in to preserve the historic site. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and today serves a one-of-a-kind Key West attraction for both history and horticulture buffs.

Source: trollytours.com

10-25-19 – Key West Fantasy Fest Masquerade March


The Masquerade March is a grown-up moving cocktail & dance party that begins at the Frances Street entrance of the Key West Cemetery. This moving mosaic of costumed revelers strut their wacky costumes on a route that winds its way north to Fleming Street stopping at participating guest houses, which – while supplies last – hand out complimentary beverages.

10-24_29-19 – Key West


A throwback to easier times before Covid-19, when I made a coast-to-coast roadtrip to spend time with dear old friends on Key West in the sunshine state.

Key West, a U.S. island city, is part of the Florida Keys archipelago. It’s also Florida’s southernmost point, lying roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. Famed for its pastel-hued, conch-style houses, it’s a cruise-ship stop also accessible from the mainland via the Overseas Highway. It’s known more for its coral reefs – destinations for diving and snorkeling – than for its beaches.