Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter

Summers are brutal in Florida. Each year summer rolls around, I fill our weekends with indoor activities. We love to fill up on popcorn at the movies, wander through art museums or just stay inside and watch Netflix all day but this year I wanted something a little more! With some quick research on fun things to do in Orlando, this little family-run nursery popped up and I immediately put it on our summer bucket list.

Tucked away in Ovideo, Florida hides a small gem called Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter. This little nursery is just under 45 minutes away from down town Orlando. The farm consists of two separate sections a the Butterfly Encounter Greenhouse and a larger farm house filled to the brim with pots and plants.

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Pull into their gravel parking lot, park towards the butterfly sign pointing to the Butterfly Encounter and follow the signs into the gift shop. Just $12 for admission per person and you have access to two small greenhouses filled with butterflies and just-hatched quails.

(YES YOU HEARD ME – BABY QUAILS)

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It’s kind of kitschy – There’s meditation music in the background, odd half-broken lawn ornaments and birds pecking at your feet. But it’s kind of beautiful in it’s own way too.  In the second greenhouse, inside the small enclosure you can feed the small butterflies nectar. (TBH I was kind of creeped out by the butterflies, but my husband loved them)

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After visiting with the butterflies and birds, we headed straight for the garden side of Lukas. Even if you are not here to purchase plants or pots, make sure to wander in and out of their farm! They have hidden statues throughout their property – like this big guy (the statue – not my husband).

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If you are cacti obsessed like I am, take a look inside their even smaller green house out back. Even though the Florida Cactus Company has better prices on cacti, Lukas is not small on charm.

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Overall, Lukas Nursery is a perfect on a warm summer weekend. You can spend hours wandering in their butterfly greenhouse or exploring their property taking Instagram worth selfies.

If you are looking for a cute weekend day trip, this is the place to go!

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Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Sweetfield Farms!

In Florida we don’t normally have a lot of seasons to look forward to. There’s hot, there’s hotter and there’s wet. But there are some beautiful months and every Floridian knows to get out and enjoy the weather why you can! Each April and May there is a quaint little farm called Sweetfield’s Farms and it opens up a sunflower maze (you heard me right a SUNFLOWER MAZE!).

Check out their site here!

About an hour drive from Orlando, Sweetfield’s opens up around 9:00am and you really want to get there early! There are times where the City Police step in to cut off traffic and even have you park in over flow “waiting” parking. Getting there early allows you to easily check in and see everything before crowds really start to form. Tickets start at $10 per adult and $8 for children.

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As soon as you reach the edge of the farm drive way, you will start to see the sunflower field. The sunflowers seem to stretch for miles and reach clear over six feet. The police and staff will direct you to park directly on the field and have you follow the crowds toward the entrance to the farm. Check in is simple and painless. They even accept credit cards!

Directly ahead of you is the farm store; filled with delicious treats, fresh produce and trinkets. We normally head right and avoid the store all together (you will walk out of the store to exit). Restrooms will be on your right and are actually quite nice for porta-potty’s! Following the path through to the left, the farm fields will open up. Ahead there is a petting zoo, playground, tractor ride, you-pick produce, sunflower maze, a homemade lemonade stand and depending on the season there will be kettle corn! You can basically spend an entire day at this farm and only cusp the surface of the fun activities!

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April and may can be quiet warm, I dressed in jeans a flowy tank top and a large floppy hat. I made sure to cover both myself and husband in sunscreen and bug spray! (You never know with Florida weather) Of course never forget your camera!

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Although there were many actives to do, I had my eye on the prize! We picked up lemonade and then headed straight for the maze! We were handed a small sheet of paper with questions that were matched to numbered poles throughout the maze. You answer the questions and make a left or right depending on the answer on the sheet. If you answered the question correctly you would end up at another question pole. The entire maze took us about an hour, but we were grateful that we got drinks before we started.  The sunflowers towered over top of the maze blocking out most of the light, yet it was still really warm.

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For lunch, the farm allows you to bring a cooler in with drinks and food or purchase food from  them. You can enjoy your lunch beneath large oaks covered in Spanish moss. If you have the means to, stop and pick up a slice of their famous wood grilled pizza for lunch!

When the season finally changes from summer to fall, Sweetfield’s Farm turns into the most delightful pumpkin patch. Including the same kettle corn, petting zoo, playground, tractor ride and you-pick produce. But turning into a Corn Maze and serving up the BEST fresh squeeze apple cider. Sweetfield’s Farm is the quintessential family day trip. While driving from Orlando to Sweetfield’s Farm, I also always stop at Lake Mary’s you-pick blueberry farm; check this article out here too! (They make homemade cheesecake blueberry ice cream….I literally dream about it every year)

Let me know if you have any questions or comments! I want to hear about your adventures below