Who do I call with a tour question or registration problem?
The Friends of Rookery Bay's program department can be reached by dialing 239-530-5972 or emailing
These trips are pricey - how can I get a discount?
Our tours are intimate, nature-viewing and learning experiences, limited to ONLY six passengers per tour. Our tours are competitively priced, and proceeds support the Friends of Rookery Bay. For this reason the only discount offered on these tours is 10-20% off, available to Friends of Rookery Bay members. Learn more about membership.
What should I bring on my tour?
We recommend a hat, sunglasses, camera, sunscreen, binoculars, water bottle and whatever else you need to be comfortable. While bugs are seldom a problem, and we keep some bug spray on the boat, you may want to bring your own if you have a preferred variety. Also, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast in advance so you are properly prepared. The temperature is often much cooler out on the water, so a light jacket is always a wise choice.
Can the general public access these same places?
Yes and no. Most of the Reserve is completely open to the public. However, some locations used as a part of these tours may be restricted for various reasons. These sites are typically marked by signage indicating that public access is not allowed.
Are the tours suitable for children?
On all regularly scheduled tours the minimum age for passengers is 12. This is based on your captain’s years of experience as a professional educator and as a long-time instructor in the Florida Master Naturalist Program. Some of the interesting environmental science covered during these tours is oriented toward, and preferred by, an adult audience. Interpreting the natural and cultural history of the area for young children requires a different approach than for adults. Trying to do both at once means neither is done well. Private charters may be arranged for families with young children.
What kind of boat is used?
The boat is a 24ft. Carolina Skiff specially outfitted for this purpose. The boat is extremely stable and perfect for negotiating the narrow creeks and shallow backwaters of the Reserve. There are comfortable individual seats for each passenger (maximum of six), a fully shaded canopy, a very quiet four-stroke Yamaha outboard engine and all required safety equipment.
Is the tour boat handicapped accessible?
It depends on the nature of the handicap or disability. Call in advance to inquire.
Do you offer private charters?
Absolutely. Any time a regularly scheduled tour is open (and other visitors have not already reserved a space) you may charter the entire boat for yourself. At that point you may select which particular trip you would like to take, and we may even be able to customize an itinerary to meet your interests. This is great to celebrate special events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and also works well for families who want to include youngsters and oldsters alike. Private charters may also be arranged during times not regularly scheduled, depending to the captain’s availability. The more advance notice you provide for any private charters, the better your chance of getting it. Call to inquire.
What kind of wildlife might we see?
It depends on which trip you are on and the luck of the day. Other visitors on these trips have seen: bottle-nosed dolphins, manatees, wild hogs, deer, raccoons, bald eagles, magnificent frigatebirds, peregrine falcons, black-crowned night herons, roseate spoonbills, spotted sandpipers, American oystercatchers, gopher tortoises, mangrove tree crabs, sea slugs, Bartram’s hairstreak butterflies and a host of interesting native plants and wildflowers.
Will I get wet/sunburned/seasick/mosquito bites?
Your guide has many years of experience introducing people to this environment and a premium is placed on comfort. The boat
ride is gentle, there is a generous shade canopy, rain ponchos are onboard, insects are seldom a problem out on the water and most visitors say their experience was perfectly delightful.