The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has released its schedule of events for the summer 2014. The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 10 miles from downtown Naples, on the way to Marco Island. From May 1 through Oct. 30, the center is open 9 AM-4 PM, Monday-Friday, adding Saturday hours for Nov. 1 through April 30. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities.
Embark on a journey to learn more about the plants and animals that inhabit this beautiful coastal environment, the issues they face for survival, and how every species contributes to the vitality of this ecosystem. These 45 minute programs are hosted daily at 11 AM and 2 PM by Rookery Bay Reserve naturalists, and the cost is included with your admission to the Environmental Learning Center. A full schedule is available at rookerybay.org. Some of the below programs are also available for community outreach presentations. Call 239-530-5940 for more information.
GUIDED KAYAK TOURS
Two-hour guided kayak tours of Rookery Bay and its surroundings provide an up-close and personal experience of this irreplaceable national treasure. Paddle lazily through the shallows and mazelike mangrove tunnels while learning about your surroundings from an experienced guide and naturalist. Trips are offered from 9:30-11:30 AM on Fridays during the month of May, and will resume in October. The cost is $40 for Friends of Rookery Bay members and $45 for non-members and includes kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center on the day of the tour. Paddlers must be 12 or older. Advance registration is required at rookerybay.org.
Through April 30, Rookery Bay is hosting an art show dubbed “Where River Meets the Sea.” Elementary, middle school and high school art students from Lely are showcasing their work in this estuary-themed art show. Student art featuring mangroves, birds, rookeries, beaches, fish, crabs, oysters and seagrasses are on display in the art gallery at the Environmental Learning Center during the month of April.
From May 29 – September 29, the “Wonders of the Beach and Bay” Watercolor Exhibit by Linda Soderquist will be featured in the Environmental Learning Center. The exhibit features tropical watercolor paintings of landscapes, seascapes, wildlife portraits, coral reef scenes and mangrove habitats.
May 12 is International Migratory Bird Day, and celebrates the migration patterns of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In celebration, the Environmental Learning Center will offer “buy one, get one free admission” and will be showing a selection of bird films. Higher price prevails.
May 22 is World Biodiversity Day. It was created to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Come learn about the incredible variety of life found in our ecosystem while enjoying “buy one, get one free admission” to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Higher Price Prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers. Programs include “Slithering Snakes” and “Birds of the Beach.”
Beginning June 6 and running through August 1 —10 AM–2 PM — every Friday is “Kids FREE Friday.” Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Activities will include stories, crafts, a touch tank, face painting, nature film and presentation on topics such as mangroves, birds, oysters, and water. The aquariums, interactive exhibits, walking trails and art gallery will be open. A food vendor will be on-site to sell lunch. Themes varies weekly:
June 6: Water Theme
June 13: Oysters Theme
June 20: Mangroves Theme
June 27: Birds Theme
July 11: Water Theme
July 18: Oysters Theme
July 25: Mangroves Theme
August 1: Birds Theme
June 9 is World Oceans Day. Officially recognized by the United Nations, World Oceans Day is held worldwide to encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations. In celebration of World Oceans Day, Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.”
July 15 begins Coral Reef Awareness Week. Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts. In celebration of these vibrant habitats, the Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.”
On all special days, admission offers cannot be combined with offers, and visitors must pay at the door. No registration is necessary, unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 239-530-5940, or visit rookerybay.org and facebook.com/friendsofrookerybay.