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Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter

Butterflies land on your fingertip and even your nose at this Oviedo attraction!

We pulled into the crunchy gravel parking lot at Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter in Oviedo, Florida with a sense of adventure. My grandkids and I were about to embark on a tropical adventure and become one with the butterfly and its habitat.

In 2004, the owners of Lukas Nursery, a fourth generation agricultural mecca for Central Florida homeowners, opened the year-round Butterfly Encounter. Currently ranked as one of the 25 largest tourist attractions in Central Florida, it has expanded to 4,000 square feet and is one of the largest butterfly conservatories in the state with more native varieties of butterflies that any other.

We listened intently to the instructions from the staff butterfly expert on what to expect once we entered the enclosure. My grandkids fired back questions such as; “Do butterflies bite?” “What do butterflies like to eat?”  “Will a butterfly land on my head?”

Armed with a camera (what grandparent would be without one?) and a butterfly guide to help us identify what we might see, we stepped into what is likely a butterfly’s dream residence. The screened enclosure was filled with butterfly-friendly tropical plants that draped from trellises and over pathways. Since my grandkids are so close to the ground, the first thing that caught their eye was movement in the bushes at their feet. A covey of button quail scurried past our toes…tiny birds introduced to the conservatory to keep the bugs in check. The butterflies were waking up to the early morning sun and soon were fluttering around our heads. My kids were thrilled to get up close and personal and be able to identify the delicate creatures that perched on the colorful blooms.

After spending time among these winged wonders, we found ourselves at the butterfly feeding room, an enclosure within the big enclosure where butterflies happily sit on any finger that has been dipped into a special nectar-like juice that butterflies love to sip.  Butterflies landed all over the kids and they were amazed to get such a close look at the incredible details on the wings and see how they take in nourishment.

Families that enjoy butterflies typically like birds as well, so Lukas Butterfly Encounter offers an exciting bird experience for visitors. We stepped into the plant-filled aviary and enjoyed a flock of brilliantly colored finches that swooped by our noses close enough for us to feel the breeze from their wings!

Once we’d seen (and counted!) every butterfly and bird on our journey, we left the encounter space and headed to the amazing gift shop, filled with unique gifts related to every aspect of nature and gardening. They also sell live caterpillars, chrysalises, and cocoons for education and release based on seasonal availability. The Butterfly Encounter experts will help you build a butterfly garden by offering  a large selection of host and nectar plants to attract your own winged wonders. Since my last visit with my youngest grandchild, Lukas Nursery has added a flock of fluffy Oviedo chickens to the mix, free for nursery shoppers to enjoy.

  • General Admission: $5 (children 3 years and younger are free)
  • Hours: 9am-4pm every day, rain or shine. (Last admission at 3:30 pm)
  • Phone: 407-365-6163, option 3
  • Visit for more info on the attraction.

Note: Best viewing experience is during late Spring and early Fall, but there are plenty of butterflies all year. Butterflies are most active around 10 am, and during the hot summer months, before 1 pm.