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kayak and boat tours

Join us for a variety of special events developed to deliver positive, rewarding experiences that increase awareness and understanding of the value of coastal ecosystems. Signature events include National Estuaries Day, which is a celebration of estuaries for the entire family! This annual day of fun takes place on the last Saturday in September. The Southwest Florida Nature Festival is a great way to learn about the wildlife, and wild places, this area has to offer. And there's no better way to show your support than participating in the Batfish Bash For the Bay, the Friends of Rookery Bay's annual fundraiser.

The learning at Rookery Bay doesn’t stop just because school is out- be sure to visit the Environmental Learning Center in the summer for Kids FREE Fridays, where kids, parents, and grandparents can enjoy a day of fun!

Summer Slumber

Discover the nocturnal side of nature while camping with our Educators inside the Environmental Learning Center! During this special program, your child will explore the estuarine environment through a number of activities including, but not limited to: trail exploration, plankton sampling, fish feeding, lion fish dissection, late night films, and the latest in research.

Our introductory Summer Slumber on July 17 is FREE, but registration is required. Registration includes admission for one child (age 11-14), all activity supplies, and light snacks (popcorn and fruit) courtesy of the Friends of Rookery Bay. A list of items to bring will be emailed upon registration.

July 17

Register now!

Earth Day at Rookery Bay

In celebration of Earth Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers "buy one, get one free admission." Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers. Must pay at door.

Join us for Earth Day, Tuesday April 22.
Programs include:

  • Guided Walk on Snail Trail (11-12pm)
  • Touch Tank Exploration (12:30-1:30)
  • Shark Presentation (2-3pm). 
  • A selection of nature films will be shown throughout the day.


Winter Soltice

Dec. 20, 2014

In celebration of Winter Solstice, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers "buy one, get one free admission." Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers.

America Recycles Day

recycles-event-bagit-250Nov. 15, 2014

In celebration of America Recycles Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers "buy one, get one free admission." We will be showing "Bag It - is your life too plastic?" as the featured film in our auditorium. 




Track & Treat

Bear TracksOct. 31 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Join us Friday, Oct. 31 for our first annual "Track and Treat" event, suitable for all ages. Meet creepy critters, dissect owl pellets, and test your detective skills for tracking animals. Children are encouraged to wear costumes IF they are suitable for walking on the trails and participating in the craft activities. Activities are included in regular admission. Must pay at door, no registration necessary. Admission fees waived if dressed in costume!

Kids FREE Fridays

Kids Free FridayKids FREE Fridays: June through August 14

This summer education program provides FREE admission for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult ($5).

**Up to 5 children per paying adult.

Lunch will be available for purchase from Hot Dogs 2 Go  from 11 am - 1 pm.

Scheduled Activities:
• 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. - Story Time (auditorium)
• 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Lunch for Sale (gallery)


• 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. – Naturalist Presentation (auditorium)
• 12:30 & 2 p.m. – IMAX Feature Film (auditorium)

Ongoing activities: (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
• Touch Tank
• Kid's Crafts









National Estuaries Day

September 26, 2015
9 am - 4 pm

 National Estuaries Day activitiesJoin us for our FREE annual celebration of the 28 national estuarine research reserves. Called National Estuaries Day, the celebration recognizes the importance of estuaries, the habitat where rivers meet the sea.

Rookery Bay Reserve's event includes staff-narrated boat tours, introductory 30-minute kayaking trips, paddleboarding on Henderson Creek, marine critter touch tank, live animal presentations and educational booths. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis.NED15-signup-250

NEW this year! a limited number of VIP passes will be available for purchase for those who prefer not to wait in line.

Register Today!

Additionally, there will be crafts and activities for children, behind-the-scenes tours of the science labs, films, music, food and more. Activities are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

A special Ocean Art exhibition will be on display in the gallery and merchandise will be available for purchase in the nature store.

Hear "Tales from the Coast," true stories spanning 29 years of coastal stewardship, from former reserve director Gary Lytton.

VIP tickets will be available for $25 and will include the following:

  • Advance sign-up for 1 kayak, SUP (stand up paddle board), or lab tour (per ticket)
  • Reserved seating for Friends of Rookery Bay Executive Director Gary Lytton's lecture (non-paying visitors will be allowed to join in un-reserved seats)
  • Boat tour with Gary Lytton following lecture (either 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.)
  • Rookery Bay water bottleMenu-KFF-2015-250

Lecture schedule:
9:30 a.m.- Welcome by Jack Wert, Executive Director CVB
9:35 a.m.- Introduction of Ocean Art Contest exhibition and winning student
9:40 a.m.- Tales from the Coast lecture by Gary Lytton
10:10 a.m.- Gary Lytton available for Q & A in gallery

A limited number of tickets are still available.

This event is possible thanks to many community partners, including the Friends of Rookery Bay, the Conservancy of SW Florida, Olde Naples Surf Shop, Marco Island Shell Club, and others. For more information contact the Environmental Learning Center at (239) 530-5977.


Darwin Day

Feb. 5 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

In celebration of the birthday of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers "buy one, get one free admission." Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers.

Charity Fishing Tournament

November 7, 2015

The Friends of Rookery Bay and Coastal Conservation Association of Florida have teamed up to present the Guardian Anglers all-release charity fishing tournament.

more info

Annual Rookery Bay Adventure Race

Kayak RaceNovember 21, 2015

Enjoy a 3k kayak along Henderson Creek and a 4k trail run at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center to benefit the Friends of Rookery Bay.

New this year: a 5K Trail Run!

All participants will receive a t-shirt (sizes guaranteed if registered before Oct. 31), post-race refreshments, Rookery Bay water bottle and free admission to the Environmental Learning Center and entry for door prizes. Awards will be presented to the top finishers in each category: men, women, relays, tandem-teams, surf-skis. New this year: 10-year age group awards!

Space is limited. Register

Early registration costs are as follows:

  • 5K only $30
  • Adventure Race Individual $35
  • Adventure Race Relays/Tandem $60
  • Kayak rental: $20

Register early! Prices increase on October 1st and again November 1st

The race is presented by Up A Creek Kayak Tours and benefits Friends of Rookery Bay, with support from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Dowload Event Flyer - CLICK HERE

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