The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Friends of Rookery Bay share their calendar of events for summer 2011. The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, 3/4 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 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities. For more information, call 239-417-6310 or visit rookerybay.org and facebook.com/friendsofrookerybay.
SUMMER SPECIAL RATES:
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Rookery Bay offers $1 off up to four admissions when someone presents a valid Florida driver’s license and “buy one, get one free” for up to four free admissions when someone presents a valid Collier County driver’s license. Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers. Excludes special events.
Naturalists and educators present Daily Programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday that are free with regular admission. Topics vary and include Movie Monday, shells, skulls and bones, snakes, nature walks, plant walks, fish feeding at the 2,300-gallon main aquarium, and marine critter touch tank.
GUIDED KAYAK TRIPS
Two-hour guided kayak tours of Rookery Bay, Hall Bay and mangrove tunnels provide the opportunity to see birds, marine mammals and other sights of nature. Daily kayak trips are offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays from May through October. Advanced registration is required at rookerybay.org or 239-417-6310 x401. The cost is $35 for members, $40 for non-members and includes kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Paddlers must be 12 or older.
May 11 to Sept. 2 Sharkabet Art Exhibit
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center presents the “Sharkabet” traveling exhibit by artist Ray Troll. The show will feature 28 pieces of colorful and whimsical images of living and extinct sharks, including species found in Rookery Bay Reserve waters. The beautiful illustrations depict everything from the obscure Cookie Cutter to the veritable giants such as the 50-foot killer megalodon and modern whale sharks. A series of evening lectures accompanies the exhibit. Hotel packages are offered at rookerybay.org/sos. The exhibit and related programming are sponsored by David Dunleavy Collection, Oceans for Youth Foundation, Pelican Bay Rotary Club, GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort, Comcast and Naples Florida Weekly.
June 8 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 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. The world’s ocean: generates most of the oxygen we breathe; helps feed us; regulates our climate; cleans the water we drink; offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines; and provides limitless inspiration. Enjoy a Touch Tank program at 11 a.m. and a series of IMAX (not 3-D) ocean films in the afternoon.
June 8 (5 to 7 p.m.) Summer of Sharks Lecture: George Burgess
As part of its Summer of Sharks programming, Rookery Bay presents a lecture entitled “Smalltooth Sawfish: America’s First Endangered Marine Fish” presented by George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida; curator of the International Shark Attack File and the National Sawfish Encounter Database; founding member and a past president of the American Elasmobranch Society; and founding member and vice chairman of the World Conservation Union’s Shark Specialist Group. The $10 fee ($5 for members) includes light refreshments. Pre-registration is suggested at rookerybay.org or to 417-6310 x401.
June 10 to Aug. 19 Kids Free Fridays
This summer education program provides free admission for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult. Educators will present a different theme each week tied to the Summer of Sharks programming. Children can participate in arts and crafts, storytelling and a variety of interactive activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., while the center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for families to enjoy the aquariums, interactive exhibits, walking trails and other features. A food vendor will be on-site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Friday selling hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, fries, snacks, lemonade and more
June 16 (6 to 8:30 p.m.) Eco-Tour Lecture (topic TBA)
Ecotour providers and the general public are invited to participate in four free training workshops offered this summer. The goals are to promote sustainable tourism practices by providing eco-tour operators with information, tips and tools to minimize environmental impacts, as well as to increase knowledge and skills to provide more positive and accurate tour experiences.