National Estuaries Celebration | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

September 1-30, 2021

Rediscover Rookery Bay Research Reserve throughout the month of September during our National Estuaries Celebration! There will be activities and adventures to experience all month long! Join us for an all-day celebration on Saturday, September 25th – National Estuaries Day 2021. Enjoy kids’ activities, boat tours through the mangrove fringed bays, special discounts, virtual program re-runs = Best of EDscursions: Live from the Field Webinar Clips, as well as lots of eco-information from our partners in protecting and preserving Southwest Florida’s coastal waters and wildlife.



Rookery Bay Nature Store | Online Shopping for the Whole Family | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

BOGO admission to the Environmental Learning Center.

With each admission, guests will receive a 10% off coupon for purchases in the Rookery Bay Nature Store throughout the month of September.
Discount Code: NEC2021

Enjoy 20% off Rookery Bay’s exclusive biologist-led boat and kayak tours throughout the month of September. Voted #1 Best by all of you!
Discount Code: Estuary

Summer Art Show:
Rediscover Rookery Bay

Art Exhibitions at Rookery Bay | National Estuarine Research Reserve

Included with Admission

Join exhibiting local photographers & painters during our Summer Art Show. Featured artists include Dennis Goodman, Jean Hall, Martin Strasmore, Dora Knuteson, Paul Arsenault, and Clark Gill.

Mangrove Coast Short Film


Included with Admission

Join us is the auditorium all month long for the Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast short film. A preview to the full documentary that will be shared on National Estuaries Day, September 25th.

Brick Program & Butterfly Garden

Rookery Bay Butterfly Garden | Environmental Learning Center Visit | Volunteer

We invite you to remember loved ones, honor friends, and commemorate special occasions by purchasing personalized bricks. Bricks will be featured in our new butterfly garden.

Thanks to the work of many dedicated volunteers, guests can now enjoy Rookery Bay’s new butterfly garden, located behind the Environmental Learning Center. Sit back, relax and take a deep breath as you experience the beautiful butterflies and water features of the garden.


Photography Workshop

Photogrpahy | National Estuaries Week | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Monday, September 20th
9:30am – 12:30pm

Want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understand your camera’s features? You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity.

Nature Film Festival

National Estuaries Celebration | Jeannine Young | Virtual Education | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Included with Admission

Stream 1 new nature movie once a day at 11 AM

Monday – Manatees
Tuesday – Turtles
Wednesday – Sharks
Thursday – Birds
Friday – Ocean Life

Interactive Exhibits & Activities

Paul | Science Saturdays | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

All week long, our staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about the interactive coastal and cultural exhibits in the Environmental Learning Center as well as the wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve home.


Members Night | Call to Action | Become a Member | Friends of Rookery Bay | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

It’s good to have Friends, and we hope you will become one of ours.

So many of our Friends are drawn to Southwest Florida because of the beautiful and amazing environment, and they want to see it protected for generations to come. They say “Strangers are just Friends waiting to happen.” We look forward to having you as our Friend!



Environmental Learning Center | Rookery Bay Research Reserve Entrance

9:00am – 4:00pm
BOGO Admission

The Environmental Learning Center is open Saturdays starting on September 25, 2021 for you to enjoy all that our Environmental Learning Center has to offer!

Activities & FUN

Kid's Activities | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Included with Admission

Adults and kids alike can enjoy coastal activities for all, peek through microscopes with educators in our labs and participate in scavenger hunts on National Estuaries Day.

Munchin' in the Mangroves

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center | Exhibits and Aquariums

11:30am – 12:00pm
Included with Admission

Meet the aquarist of Rookery Bay Research Reserve as they feed and care for the fish in our large mangrove aquarium.

Trivia Time

Trivia Night | Festival of Birds | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

2:30pm – 3:30pm
Free & Virtual

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve in person and online for Trivia Time. Test your knowledge about the Reserve, birds and “all things” nature in SW Florida. The team will be on hand to dole out the fun, fellowship and tabulate results.

Sneak Peek Boat Tours

Boat Tours | Family | Eco-Tours | Dolphins, Manatees, Birds and Wildlife | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Every 30 Minutes
Reservations Required
Admission to ELC Included

For one day only, Rookery Bay and exclusive eco-tour partner, Rising Tide Explorers, offer sneak peek boat tours of Rookery Bay’s beautiful waterways. Reservations are required for this one-time special event. Space is limited. $10 per person.

Estuary Encounter

Estuary Encounter | Rookery Bay Research Reserve | Environmental Learning Center

Included with Admission

Also, get hands-on at our “Estuary Encounter” where staff members introduce guests of all ages to dozens of marine animals. Observe, touch or even hold a sea star, spider crab, lightning whelk or other sea critter!

Mangrove Coast Documentary Premiere

Southwest Florida's Mangrove Coast | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Included with Admission

Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast is a documentary featuring the 40-year history of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Produced by Emmy award-winning cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus, this film displays the nature and beauty of Southwest Florida and what is being done to protect it for future generations.

Book Signing

Sharks in the Ocean | Ocean Family Games | Nature Store | Children's Book | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Meet the author! From 9am-11am Katharine will be at the Learning Center signing books. 10% of sales from each book go toward funding OCEARCH’s shark research and educational programs. This children’s book is great for ages 3-8.

National Estuaries Day | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Make a Difference

80% of polled 2019 National Estuaries Day attendees rated the educational programming as Excellent and 70% said they learned something that they will apply to a future action.

Support the Reserve’s Education Program

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