Out­door Gar­den for kids

Sum­mer fun in­cludes learn­ing, the won­der­ment of South­west Florida

Gulf & Main - - Gulf & Main - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN

Florida’s beaches are beautiful, our theme parks spe­cial. But there are so many other won­der­ful places to check out dur­ing sum­mer that are a wealth of fam­ily fun, a trea­sure trove of learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties (don’t for­get to pack lunches).

Edison & Ford Win­ter Estates, Fort My­ers

A top attraction with some 20 acres of botan­i­cal gar­dens/ re­search lab, his­toric build­ings and the Edison Ford Mu­seum of ex­hibits, ar­ti­facts and col­lec­tions, the Ford Win­ter Es­tate (The Man­goes), and the Edison Win­ter Es­tate (Semi­nole Lodge), Edison’s guest house, a care­taker’s house, one of the coun­try’s first swim­ming pools, a book­store and a plant nurs­ery, au­dio and do­cent-guided tours. Out­door re­fresh­ment area with light lunches, snacks and drinks, fees ap­ply. The attraction will bring some 250,000 an­nual vis­i­tors. Sum­mer camps and other pro­grams are avail­able.

Calusa Na­ture Cen­ter & Plan­e­tar­ium, Fort My­ers

Non­profit en­vi­ron­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion’s in­ter­est­ing and

ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude a 105-acre site of­fer­ing a mu­seum, na­ture trails, but­ter­fly and bird aviaries and a gift shop. There's also a plan­e­tar­ium, the only such place in South­west Florida― chil­dren are thrilled to see these shows, as well as other events and ac­tiv­i­ties. The site is also home to some 100 wild an­i­mals that spon­sor­ships help house and feed. Out­door pic­nic ar­eas, fees ap­ply. Sum­mer camps and other pro­grams are avail­able.

Imag­i­nar­ium Sci­ence Cen­ter, Fort My­ers

Touch-tank sea crit­ters, build things, run through a rain­storm, lots of hands-on sci­ence ex­hibits. The lit­tle ones love the Dino Dis­cov­ery Dig Area. There’s a 3-D movie the­ater, an out­door pond where fish and wildlife can be fed, and much more. Lunch is avail­able un­til 3 p.m. at the on-site snack bar with piz­zas, hot dogs and more. Fees ap­ply. Sum­mer camps and other pro­grams are avail­able.

Na­ture Park at the Shell Fac­tory, North Fort My­ers

A 4.5-acre park with do­mes­tic and wild crit­ters in­cludes a two-toed sloth. There’s also an aviary with birds, tor­toises and tur­tles in­side the screened en­clo­sure. “Many of the an­i­mals are res­cues and have found a safe home [here],” says marketing di­rec­tor Rick Tup­per. There’s also a pond of al­li­ga­tors that guests can watch be­ing fed on Satur­days at 1:30 p.m. (weather per­mit­ting). Ad­di­tion­ally, there’s an eco-lab of ex­otic snakes and rep­tiles, a farm an­i­mal pet­ting/feed­ing area, zip-lin­ing, minia­ture golf, bumper/paddle boats, a dog park, other fun stuff. Pic­nic ta­bles are avail­able near the tur­tle and duck pond,

Ex­otic banyans, the in­dus­tri­al­ist and the in­ven­tor (left) are part of the Edison & F ord Win­ter Estates' ex­pe­ri­ence in Fort My­ers.

South­west Florida of­fers a trove of sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties and learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties (don’t for­get to pack lunches).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.