This is the interpretive facility for the 9,200-acre Rookery Bay
National Estuarine Research Reserve. It provides a half-mile
self-guided boardwalk through oak scrub, pine flatwoods, mangrove
forest, and marsh communities to an observation deck for viewing
wildlife, as well as two other nature trails. The center offers
three different pontoon boat tours from April through December,
focusing on mangrove ecology, birding, and beachcombing.
Reservations are required.
Raccoons, gopher tortoises, several species of woodpeckers and
songbirds can be seen from the boardwalk, typically early or late
in the day. The observation platform allows you to view ospreys and
a variety of wading birds and shore birds. Scrub jays hang out near
the center's bird feeders. A new butterfly garden attracts a number
of native butterflies. On the naturalist-led boat tours, ospreys,
bald eagles, gulls, brown pelicans, bottle-nosed dolphins, and an
occasional manatee may be seen.
The Conservancy, Inc.
Take U.S. Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) south of Naples to Florida
Highway 951. Take a right on 951, heading toward Marco
Island. Travel 2.7 miles to Shell Island Road, turn
right. Entrance is 1 mile ahead on right.
Florida Wildlife Sites