The Florida Museum of Natural History Daniel Lai

The butterfly rainforest is easily the most intriguing exhibit in the Florida Museum of Natural History. Although I have lived in Gainesville for over 4 years and have volunteered in this museum for all 4 years, I still enjoy going to the exhibit everyday. The open space of the exhibit is very relaxing; I can always hear the soft sounds of nature while staring at the beautiful variety of butterflies. The exhibit taught me that different pieces of nature can coexist in the same environment; birds, butterflies, and plants all live in the exhibit and coexist with each other. My time in the rainforest was very enjoyable because it took me away from the reality of the world that is loaded with hard school work, and put me in a place where I was at peace and was simply enjoying the beauty of nature.
The museum and the variety of exhibits that portrays the history of Florida helps me appreciate Florida, my home state, more because of its development. Because it used to be underwater millions of years ago, we would not have the ability to live in Florida as we do now unless nature allowed the land to form, making Florida a state. Each exhibit displays a different part of Florida, whether it be the seminoles of south Florida or the nature and estuaries of western Florida. I felt a sense of completeness as I guided myself through the museum as I learned more about where I really come from. I felt as though other people who were looking at the same exhibits felt the same sense of peace and tranquility as I walked through each exhibit. The museum helps visitors connect with nature because it displays many different artifacts and paintings that portray the realistic landscape of Florida's nature. The museum helped me respect Florida more as a whole because if its unique diversity of different natural displays it possesses as it pertains to Leopold's opinion on nature.
In my senior year of high school, I had a beautiful encounter with manatees as I kayaked through a canal at key west. They approached me in my kayak and I was able to touch them as a group of three manatees followed my friends and I as we were kayaking. As I walked through the museum, I was able to leave the reality of the harsh world we live in and dove into the world of the museum, enveloping my mind in the beauty of the museum and its exhibits. As I looked at this manatee display, I was able to relive my moments with the manatees, taking my mind off the ordinary school life I am living. The museum helped me understand the mystery and beauty of the world because it helped me relive moments in my past of the nature I have been able to experience, such as my trip to Yosemite or my trips to Hawaii and key west where nature never fails to disappoint.
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Daniel Lai
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