Upcoming Wildlife Adventures in Naples Florida

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Folks exploring South Florida for relocation with their Naples Florida realtor have a lot of nature-oriented activities to enjoy at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center as they get to know the beautiful city of Naples, Florida.  Located on the northern end of the “Ten Thousands Islands” on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve “RBNERR” can be found.  Offering an amazing exploration center, the 110,000 acres of mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay is a home where a rare collection of wildlife and many threatened species can be found. 

Adventure and wildlife seekers will find lots of fun things to do in Naples FL when visiting this natural habitat.  Whether its bird watching, water exploration, photography/art classes or naturalist tours of this unique environment, there are November events planned daily for visitors and the retirement communities in Florida coming to this pristine estuary.  When shopping for Naples luxury homes and golf clubs Naples Florida, visitors won't want to miss adding Rookery Bay to their list of “fun things to do”.

Some of the events planned for November:

Guided Kayak Tours are offered Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 am.  Guests will find this activity full of site seeing with first hand exposure to the wildlife species that inhabit the region.  Paddling through the waterways with a hands-on guide and naturalist expert, visitors will be captivated by the adventurous journey through the mangrove tunnels found here.  The cost is $55 per person or $45 for friends of Rookery Bay members.

Lunch & LearnNovember 4th, 12pm to 1pm, Florida History Through the Eyes of Florida Authors”.  This hour long event presented by Betty Jean Steinshouer, historian and actress, will explore 3 authors who helped put Florida on the map.  The featured authors, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Marjory Stoneman Dougless will be portrayed in costume and character.  Ms. Steinshouer will dedicate 15 minutes to each author and conclude the program with questions from the audience.  The event will be held at the Environmental Learning Center and is $10 to attend.  

Sunset to Starlight Cruise – November 4, 5, 6 and 22nd  from 4:45 to 7:45pm, these small boat evening excursions are led by a naturalist and visit a remote section of Keewaydin Island where guests will find shell-strewn beaches and amazing sunsets as they watch the sun sink into the Gulf.  As the evening settles in, this charter returns through the back bays of the reserve and provides the sensationalism associated with the wildlife that resides there.  If the tide permits, the boat will ease by Rookery Island where herons, egrets and ibis gather for the night.  The price is $90 per person and advanced registration is required.

Gallery Opening Reception - “9th Annual Juried Painting Exhibition” – November 6 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  This event is sponsored by the Friends of Rookery Bay and the United Arts Council and features works submitted by artists from Collier and Lee Counties.  The exhibition will run from November 6 through January 22 with most of the works of art for sale.  The opening reception featuring wine and light hors d’oeuvres is $3 for the public and free for participating artists and their guests as well as members of the United Arts Council and the Friends of Rookery Bay.

Essence of an Estuary Boat Tour November 7, 14 and 19 – 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.  This 2.5 hour small boat tour will take you into the mysterious bays and backwaters of Rookery Bay Reserve.  Guests will be given the chance to learn about the vegetation found here while exploring the wildlife that inhabit the region. The evolution of this habitat will reflect how human history has been intertwined with natural history and will give folks the chance to ride alongside mud crabs and manatees as the tour guide creates a memorable adventure.  The cost is $85 and advance registration is required.

High Point Boat Tour – November 11 and 21, 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.  This small boat cruise will visit one of the most unique settings found at Rookery Bay Reserve.  Here participants will take a hike to one of the highest points in Collier County, an ancient sand dune relic from the Pleistocene Era.  Guided by a naturalist, guests will see and learn about the geologic history of Sand Hill while enjoying the scenic views offered at this vantage point.  Also the guide will explain about the plants and live oaks that grow here and have adapted to this coastal scrub ecosystem.  Access to this sensitive area is restricted so visiting this region is quite the treat.  The cost is $85 and advanced registration is required. 

Treasure Island Boat Tour – November 12 and 20, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.  This tour will explore the rare tropical hardwood hammock found in this area restricted from public access.  After you travel by boat to the island, guests will enjoy a ½ mile hike through the primitive shaded forests surrounded by exotic ferns and bromeliads.  The naturalist guide will point out the diverse vegetation and wide variety of plants that thrive here.  There is also an opportunity to see how some people currently survive on these islands completely without access to public utilities.  This cost is $90 and advanced registration is required.

Adventure Race – “5th Annual Rookery Bay Adventure Race November 22, 8:00am to 10am – this event sponsored by the “Up a Creek Kayak Tours” is a race consisting of a 3K Kayak excursion in Henderson Creek followed by a 4K Trail Run.  Attendees are invited to participate as an individual, relay or tandem team with awards going to top finishers in each category.  Kayaks are limited so early registration is encouraged.  The cost for the race is $40 and includes t-shirt, post-race refreshments, and free admission to the Environmental Learning Center.  All proceeds will benefit The Friends of Rookery Bay.

Environmental Learning Center – Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00pm and Saturdays – November through April.  This 16,500 facility, also designated as a Coastal Ecosystems Learning Center, features four research laboratories, a classroom, a 140-seat auditorium and visitor center.  Inside the visitor center, guests will find a variety of interactive exhibits as well as a 2,300-gallon aquarium, a nature store, gallery and picnic area.  “Coastal Connections Daily Programs” cover a wide array of topics and are offered at the Center daily at both 11am and 2pm.  These 45-minute programs provided by a team of naturalists, explore the plants and animals that inhabit this spectacular coastal environment.  The lectures vary daily and are included with the regular admission price.  Adults - $5.00/Children 6-12 $3.00/Children under 6 are FREE.

While looking for a perfect place to retire, Naples Florida homes for sale offer a wide variety of choices in this year round paradise.  It’s the ideal location with lots of activities including top-of-the-line restaurants, shopping and golf clubs Naples Florida.  While searching for Naples luxury homes this season, make sure to mark your calendar for the “11th Annual Southwest Florida Nature Festival”.  Registration for this event which runs from January 16 through 18, 2015 opens November 1. The event features 40 guided field trips to twenty different wildlife habitats around Southwest Florida as well as lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Whether it’s birding walking, buggy rides or boat tours many options for adventure exist in this preserved wilderness.  There are also many informative lectures planned for the event and include the following that will take place on Saturday, January 17th:

“South Florida Birds & Gardens” with Kirsten Hines from 11am to 12pm –This informative talk will focus on the specifics of “bird gardening” in the sub-tropical South Florida and how private landowners can help restore and maintain the region’s ecological functions through landscaping.

“Living Roofs, Flowers in the Sky with Eric Foht of Naples Botanical Gardens - 12pm to 1pm – Mr. Foht is a Natural Areas Manager at Naples Botanical Gardens and will enlighten attendees on the impact of “living roofs” and the benefit they offer in not only helping your home but also the effect it has on protecting the Southwest Florida’s Gulf, estuaries and endangered plants.

“Bird Behavior” with Jack Berninger – 1pm to 2pm.  Mr. Berninger, a retired biology teacher and naturalist, will provide guests with an overview of the many aspects of bird behavior, specifically adaptation through anthropomorphic actions and survival techniques.

“Poachers in Paradise” with Geoff Trager – 2pm to 3pm.  Author of “Poachers in Paradise”, Mr. Trager will cover facts and fiction relating to poaching in Southwest Florida followed by a book signing.  He is also a marine biologist, aquarist of Rookery Bay Reserve, naturalist and educational kayak tour guide.

“Least Terns” with Ted Below – 3pm to 4pm. Mr. Below, a seasoned volunteer at Rookery Bay will enlighten folks on the “Least Tern” bird species which are found in South Florida from late March through August during their nesting season.  His talk will focus on the birds nesting and the issues encountered sharing the shoreline with humans.

The Keynote Lecture –Roseate Spoonbills in the Everglades: A Look into the Past, Present and Future of the Flame Bird” will be presented from 5:30 to 7pm by Pete Frezza, Research Manager-Everglades Region, Audubon Florida’s Everglades Science Center. – Mr. Frezza will discuss findings from the 75 year history of monitoring roseate spoonbill populations in southern Florida. Nesting patterns in Florida and factors that have affected their population over time will be discussed as well as the results of long term banding and satellite telemetry projects with this species.  He will also provide a brief overview of Everglades Restoration projects that will help improve conditions for these birds throughout the ecosystem.  Mr. Frezza holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Environmental Sciences from Florida Atlanta University and while currently serving in his tenure as “Research Manager – Everglades Region”, he also is a professional backcountry fishing guide in the Everglades.  Admission for the Keynote Lecture is $15.

On Friday, January 16, admission to the Environmental Learning Center is $5 – “Buy-One/Get-One FREE and includes the daily programs at 11am and 2pm.

Saturday, January 17, admission is $10 and includes entry to all 5 daytime lectures.  Advanced registration is NOT required and guests may pay at the door.  Admission to the Keynote presentation is $15, and registration IS required.

Sunday, January 18, the Environmental Learning Center will be closed.

Not only are the events fun things to do in Naples Florida for all, the health benefits from engaging in outdoor activities cannot be ignored.  Time spent outdoors has a range of benefits including a reduced obesity rate, stress reduction and strengthened family ties.  For instance, bird watching incorporates several activities, including physical movement of walking, mental stimulation through interpreting visual and auditory input and also is highly social.  Kayaking is also a great total body workout and helps build upper body strength. Whether folks prefer a leisurely walk along a nature trail or a strenuous hike up a steep mountain side, outdoor recreation provides a perfect setting for physical and mental growth. Being outdoors is a great way to increase a sense of positive well- being.

We believe Naples Florida is the place to be for families and snowbirds. Naples Florida's perfect winter weather also makes it a popular retirement community in Florida set on the blue green Gulf of Mexico.

Ask to be introduce to our trusted Naples Florida realtor who can help you explore Naples luxury homes and tour award winning private golf clubs in the area. 

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