Colorful, Fun Key West

By Kai Rambow

 

“There is no need to go to Disney; I live in Key West,” proclaimed local resident Lori.  Key West is a bit more colorful in just about everything.  Key West pops without overdoing it.  It’s part of what makes a trip to Key West fun.  Here are some colorful experiences.

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Incredibly beautiful butterflies and birds make this better than your average conservatory.  Highly recommend you walk very slowly and periodically stop, otherwise you’re likely to miss something.

Tip: If you miss seeing the stunning birds, ask a staff member where to look. Your hand is stamped on the way in, so you can re-enter to find what you missed the first time.

Mel Fisher Museum

Treasure hunting, pirates and other childhood fantasies come to life here.  Mel Fisher was a real-life treasure hunter who hit the mother lode, worth $400 million. His 16-year, persistent search is documented.

Real treasure is displayed here; Pirates of the Caribbean eat your heart out. Treasure is still being recovered today along an eight-nautical-mile stretch underwater.  Everything is beautifully displayed with just the right amount of fun facts.

 

Isaac Valdes at Mallory Square

A relaxed, casual stroll on Duval Street will let you explore a wide range of shops.  Everything from inexpensive souvenirs to “keepsakes” costing thousands of dollars.

You can acquire one of the best combinations – if you know where to go. Isaac Valdes has a great photographic eye. Printed on canvas, the colors of Key West pop beautifully.

Valdes finds photography “very relaxing.  You’re creating something,” he shared with a smile.  Valdes has displayed and sold his work here since 1995.  Given the stunning nature of his work, it’s no surprise repeat customers add to their collection year after year.  Prices are very reasonable, enabling you to have a unique, gorgeous artistic work either for yourself or as a gift.

Mallory Square

The big event here, as it has been for the past 40 years, is to watch the sunset. Artists, such as Isaac Valdes, display their work, and acts can also be found here entertaining crowds.

Nearby are the historic, sculpture gardens. It fun to see many of the famous residents of Key West immortalized here.  Like Mallory Square, there is no charge.

 

Island Dogs Bar

A Shrimp BLT is a filling option here. A short walk from Mallory Square (505 Front St.) most people’s taste buds will enjoy the pop from this great tasting wrap.

 

Tips for a Great Trip

When to Go:  The sweet spots for best hotel prices and weather are April/May and October/November.

Free Duval Loop Bus:  Introduced only about a year ago, this frequent and free bus service enables you to leave the car behind and easily reach most locations in old town.

Coupons:  Many of the activities featured here have discount coupons.  Take and check any booklet or brochure to see if it contains a coupon.  In addition, many restaurants have coupons offering a free drink or key lime pie with an entrée.  Be sure to ask at your hotel.

Special thanks to Jim Granan for his invaluable assistance.

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

1316 Duval Street

Key West, FL  33040

(305) 296-2988

www.keywestbutterfly.com

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

200 Greene Street

Key West, FL  33040

(305) 294-2633

www.melfisher.org

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