The J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge is 5,000 acres of tidal wetlands and mangroves, home to more than 200 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles and 32 of mammals. The best (and busiest) times to bird watch are November through April. Explore the park on a two-mile foot trail, several canoe trails, bike paths or the five-mile Wildlife Drive with water on both sides. Camping is not allowed, there are no water or restrooms facilities and the refuge is closed every Friday. Bring cash, water, insect repellant and binoculars. Admission is USD12 per person.
Cayo Costa State Park Ft. Myers, FL 33921 +1 941 964 0375
Cayo Costa State Park is one of Florida's best-kept secrets. The barrier island is only accessible by boat. Activities include hiking, swimming, fishing and shelling. If you go swimming, there are no lifeguards, but there is a shark named Old Henry. You can camp in tents or rent cabins for USD20 per night. There is no electricity on the island, and all supplies must be brought with you. There are bathrooms and showers. Watch for wildlife, like raccoons and wild hogs. Cabins must be reserved 11 months in advance. This place is open daily from 8 AM.
Hunger is an international problem, and the farm and nursery at ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) educate visitors on fighting world hunger. They are an inter-denominational non-profit Christian organization providing farmers in third world countries with information and seeds. A 90-minute tour of the ECHO farm reveals tropical food plants, a simulated rain forest, and more. The free tour is offered Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 10a. After the tour, visit the Edible Landscape Nursery, where you can purchase the plants and seeds seen on the tour.
Manatee Park is a rare opportunity to see the endangered West Indian Manatee in its natural habitat. During the months from October through March, the manatees travel to the area, attracted by the warm water discharge from the nearby Florida Power plant. The 16-acre park features viewing areas, a fishing pier, picnic areas, and native plant and butterfly gardens. There's a kayak/canoe launch to the Orange River as well. Call ahead for optimum viewing times. The park is open daily from 8a.
2787 North Tamiami Trail Shell Factory Ft. Myers, FL 33903 +1 239 995 2141
The Nature Park at The Shell Factory should be on your must visits when in Fort Myers. The park boasts of a 7,000 square feet Rainforest Aviary, the Butterfly Garden, an animal museum, the Gator slough, a petting zoo and a lot more. With one of the largest exhibits of wild animals and birds, including prairie dogs, bobcats, Giant Hissing cockroaches, Prevost squirrels, raccoons, etc., animal lovers are sure to have a great time here. The park museum is home to some of the most exclusive species of snakes, alligators, toads and other creepy-crawlies. Go here for a wild escapade!
10501 Florida Gulf Coast University Boulevard Florida Gulf Coast University Ft. Myers, FL 33965 +1 239 590 7145 /+1 239 590 7146
Part of the Florida Gulf Coast University, Alico Arena has a regulation size basketball court that doubles-up as a venue for small-scale functions and parties. It's ideal for graduations, concerts and small gatherings.
Home to the Fort Myers Miracle, Hammond Stadium is one of Florida's baseball spring training parks. Its imposing exterior is set-off by a beautifully sculpted landscape and palm trees that lead all the way to the stadium entrance. The interior is cramped, especially when large crowds show up. The stadium has a nice variety of concession stands that are reasonably priced. However, Hammond Stadium isn't one of Fort Myers' premier venues. The Minnesota Twins train here each February through April.
Lakes Park is a popular recreational area in Fort Myers. The 279-acre park has 158 acres of fresh water lakes for swimming, fishing for bass and catfish, and canoeing. Swimming season with lifeguards is Memorial Day to Labor Day. A 2.5-mile paved path is available for running, roller blades and biking. The Fragrance Garden is a unique sensory experience. There are also picnic areas, concession stands, miniature train ride, boat rentals and showers. Parking is 75 cents per hour, maximum USD3. No alcohol or pets allowed.
The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is a natural animal corridor between northern Lee County and Estero Bay. You can see alligators, wild pigs, otters, and more. During the dry season (October to June), birds like herons and egrets flock to the flag ponds. A 1.2-mile boardwalk winds through the 2,200-acre wetland, and includes a photo blind to get up-close photographs of the animals, and two observations towers. There are guided tours year-round, and self-guided tour brochures. Parking is $.75 per hour, maximum $3 (cash only). Bring food and drinks. Call to know the open hours.
14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway Ft. Myers, FL 33912 +1 239 768 4210
Hammond Stadium at the Lee County Sports Complex looks like a Southern plantation, but inside, America's past time is in full swing. During spring training, the Minnesota Twins are in town, while from April to August, the stadium is home to their Class A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle. Some of the best seats in the house are in the covered Bull Pen Picnic Pavilion, and kids can add their handprints to Kids Corner.
Walk among live oaks and lush gardens, relax in a
rocking chair on the veranda as you watch the river roll gently by, but first, join Mona and Jettie Burroughs as they share the history and colorful tales of ...
For anyone who has ever wondered where the "fort" in
Fort Myers was, the answer to that question and many others can be found at the Fort Myers Historical Museum. Housed in the restored Atlantic Coast Line Depot, the ...
Part of the Florida Gulf Coast University, Alico Arena has
a regulation size basketball court that doubles up as a venue for small scale functions and parties. It's ideal for graduations, concerts and small gatherings. Part of the Florida ...