Woke up this morning and had to think where I was for a few seconds before the grin spread to my face….that’s right, I’m still in Florida and we are off to Butterfly World today. Then, I remembered we were at Studio6 in the not so clean room and I cringed before checking where I was putting my feet before I jumped in the shower.The sooner we are out of here the better. I figured it was about a 15 minute drive to get to Butterfly World so I hoped we would pass somewhere to have breakfast on the way. We did come across an IHOP. Now we have never been to IHOP before and have read very mixed reviews about the food. There didn’t seem to be anything else nearby open for breakfast so we went in and were given a table. It was quite busy so I thought that was a good sign. We waited for about 20 minutes before asking if some one could take our order… a further 10 minutes later just as we were about to leave, a waitress appeared with a jotter and pen. DH ordered a big breakfast (bacon, egg, sausage, hash browns etc) I went for a ham and cheese omelette. Both of our orders came with toast and a bottomless drink of which DH had coffee and I had apple juice. I actually enjoyed my omelette but couldn’t get anywhere near finishing it as it was huge. DH ate most of his fry up but it looked awfully greasy to me. The bill came to $25 before tip. Back in the car, I started to sing “love is like a butterfly, soft and gentle as a sigh, the multicoloured moods of love are like its satin wings, love makes your heart feel strange inside, it flutters like soft wings of flight, love is” “ENOUGH ALREADY” DH doesn’t seem to like my singing voice much! So, I sit and sing it in my head and nod to the beat, clicking my fingers with enthusiasm. We look sideways at each other and chuckle. Here we are. I can see the entrance and there is a booth before the car park where you have to pay to park before entering. It’s a lovely day with a slight breeze and there are swans on the pond near where we park up. It was quite expensive for entrance at $50 for the two of us and I know the price has risen slightly since. The hallway you enter first was set up with rows of chairs as there was a choir and bell ringers putting on shows throughout the day. We did stay here for a few minutes but the bell ringing wasn’t to our taste. You start off looking at the labs from behind windows. You get to see the amazing stages of metamorphosis from eggs to caterpillars, to pupa…to butterflies. :monarch: You then walk through double doors and are immediately hit with a blast of air which is a barrier for the butterflies. Oh my gosh!! I walk a couple of steps and my mouth drops open in amazement. The sight that I can see has literally taken my breath away. My eyes fill up with tears and I stare in awe at the beauty before me. I am overwhelmed. I feel like I’m on another planet. A place of make believe. I swear, if a fairy had popped up and said hello to me I would have thought nothing of it right now!! There were butterflies everywhere….over 10,000. The only sound is the trickling of water from some of the water features. This place is stunning. Reds, blues, greens, purples, orange….you name it, the colours flash before your eyes. Walkways lead over bridges and under hanging plants, through exotic flowers and benched areas. I really can’t do this place justice with my description. Kiddies are standing with their arms outstretched to see if the butterflies will land on them. Dads are trying to capture the butterflies on film before they fly off again. I found it hard to capture them even with a camcorder! This place is so relaxing. It’s cool to just sit on a bench and watch the colours and shapes fly by. On a few occasions we had the butterflies land on us. Now remembering I put this place into our itinerary just so that DH could take some pretty photos and nothing else. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my time here so much. Half way though the butterfly exhibit is a butterfly emerging area. Hanging baskets line the wall on one side while glass cases hang opposite. You can watch as new butterflies emerge and take flight…..although DH was more fascinated by the plants in the hanging baskets. I can’t remember the names, probably couldn’t even pronounce them but these plants would close up at the lightest touch. The next area we decide on is the bird gardens. The hummingbirds were tiny (in fact I think they are the smallest birds in the World). Trying to capture them on camera was way hard. I also learned that they have the largest heart and brain of all animals for their size. There were some pretty amazing colours in here too on the feathers. We saw Gouldian Finches, Honeycreepers, Euphonias….all so photogenic. Feeling peckish, we headed over for a bite to eat. Decided to be very healthy and went for an ice lolly each! We’d find somewhere to have a nice meal later when we leave here. We sat outside at the tables and people watched for a while. This was quite hard as there weren’t many people here! Next, we wandered through the rose garden and onto the lorikeet encounter. To say these birds were friendly is an understatement! As soon as we were in there, they were crawling over us. Looking into our bags and getting into mischief. We bought a couple of cups of nectar to feed them with and laughed at each other when a bird perched on our ear or tried to fit under our arms. Thinking back, this area may get a little intense for the small kids. Now, I loved today but, there was a time when I was so scared that I was trembling and sweating like you wouldn’t believe. To get from one section of the birds to another, you had to not once, but twice go through an area with Banana Spiders. There was a notice before you entered that they wouldn’t harm you but I would rather have done ten rounds with Mohammed Ali! :n045:The area was maybe four paces in length but it may as well have been a mile. I sent DH in first and he had to look to see where the spiders were….point them out to me, and then promise not to let any of them get me. Next up was the butterfly and insect museum. Why oh why did I not think ‘spiders’ before I went in there. I was having a great time. There were displays of butterflies on the walls, grasshoppers, beetles etc. I was gob smacked at the size of some of the dragonflies and beetles….you could almost put a saddle on them. Then, we went through some double doors and there they were….spiders. Live spiders. I gave out a little whimper and followed DH. They were in glass enclosures but they still freak me out. I kept my distance and wandered around following DH wishing I was somewhere better….like in quicksand! Then, I happened to look up. I felt my heart drop to my feet and I think I went every shade of the rainbow. There, hanging from the corners of the ceiling were branches. Branches with spiders in them. It was the Banana spiders again. My hands slapped onto the top of my head and I ran to the centre of the room and stayed there, hands on head until DH was ready to leave. We had another quick wander through the butterflies again….it would have been rude not to. Then we did a little tour of the gardens before heading into the gift shop. I so wanted to take something back home with me to remember the day by. There were some amazing items in here, especially jewellery and kitchenware. I ended up with a brass butterfly which I love. Back in the car we head for our next stop on this tour which was a Hampton Inn Hotel at West Palm Beach. We were to stay here for two nights. This was a lovely hotel and I didn’t feel the need to pull any bedding away from the floor here….even after the bugs at Butterfly World. We freshened up then went back down to reception to ask if there was anywhere local to eat. There were three restaurants behind the hotel. We chose Duffy’s Sportsbar & Grille. It was very loud in here. The staff were all dressed in football kits or cheerleader outfits. There was some American football on the TV and every time a team scored, there would be a loud cheer and the barmaids would go into a cheerleading routine! The food was lovely. DH says it’s the best meal he had during our holiday. We both went for the two boneless pork chops with fries and onion rings. The pork was very tender and the food was hot. We shared a dessert of apple crisp and ice cream and each had soft drinks. The bill was $42 before tip. Feeling content and full, we walked back to the hotel where we chatted with the guy on reception for a while before heading up to our room where we watched a movie before drifting off to sleep. Tomorrow……..Lion Country Safari.