As most things tend to do over time, Fairchild has changed a lot throughout the years. Just ask my mother, who used to go when she was just a teenager and was visiting again recently for the first time in over 40 years.
One thing that is the different is their new butterfly exhibit, which ended up being the highlight for me. Wings of the Tropics Conservatory, which opened in December 2013, is home to 3,000 butterflies and seven hummingbirds (talk about feeling like an outcast).
I’d have to say that this was my favorite part of the entire garden. It was a lovely area with butterflies of all sizes and with so many vibrant colors. The butterfly keeper (not sure if that's an official occupation name), said that they are usually more active on sunny days--it was slightly chilly and gloomy out during our visit--not very Miami-like. Even so, there were butterflies everywhere and they were eager to land on your shoulder or your hand.
Aside from the butterfly observatory, the garden is quite large. There weren’t nearly as many flowers as I expected, but if you love discovering different species of trees (there’s even one that produces tequila), you’ll enjoy Fairchild.
They offer tram tours throughout the garden, which is also a great way to get from one side of the garden to the other, but you’ll learn a lot, too. The tour operator seemed very passionate about all of the different trees at the garden. The garden also offers walking tours with knowledgable guides, if you'd prefer to explore the garden by foot and learn more about the various species of trees and flowers.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden can be a great way to spend the day if you’re ever in the Miami area and you just want a low-key, relaxing time and need to take a break from the beach.