Yolo Board Adventures’ experienced instructors and guides acquaint aquasplorers with the sport of standup paddleboarding and the wildlife of nearby waterways. During one-hour eco-tours, boarders skim serenely across the water's surface, spying wildlife from elevated vantage points typically reserved for birds and paper-airplane pilots. Paddlers cruise down channels and explore wetlands while under the watchful eye of guides trained in CPR and first aid. To ensure a fun and safe adventure, guests are outfitted with the proper paddleboards and equipment, and tours are scheduled based on experience level—ensuring no one is left behind or tempted to bolt ahead in search of event horizons.
Pirates cheer as cannons fire smoke across the sea. Yet while the pirates are actors and the cannons are just miniaturized toys, the ship they sail upon is anything but pretend—it's a 65-foot steel-hulled vessel designed by a naval architect to look like a Spanish galleon.
Named for the prized Spanish currency of yore, Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise evokes the golden age of buccaneering as it sets sail from Salty Sam’s Marina. The ship is helmed by a merry band of pirates—such as Pick Pocket Pete, Peg Leg Meg, and Fancy Face Phil—that bookends lessons on pirate history with sing-along chanteys and skits. The 90-minute family-friendly cruise also includes map-reading trivia, face painting, yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum. During the ride, passengers are welcome to explore the upper and lower decks or step inside the grand salon for ice cream, pretzels, and other treats.
In addition to its all-ages cruises, Pieces of Eight hosts an adults-only cruise on Friday nights, which includes cocktails and its own revue. It also charters private cruises to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.
The 9-hole SNAG (Starting New at Golf) course at Alico Family Golf does not look like your average course. To begin with, there are no holes; instead, players take aim at a raised target called a Flagsticky (which looks like a thicker but shorter flagstick). A hole is completed when players have stuck their ball?a velcro sphere slightly smaller than a tennis ball?to the Flagsticky using two colorful clubs: a Launcher (made for all full swings, pitches, and chips) and a Roller (the SNAG equivalent of a putter). The modified game fosters golf skills for players of all ages, though its colorful nature and lower degree of difficulty make it ideal for kids or aspiring cartoonists.
The golf complex cultivates a love of the game across other facilities, including an 18-hole miniature golf course and a driving range with 60 grass hitting stalls and ten covered bays. For its efforts in promoting golf, Alico Family Golf has become the home for The First Tee Lee County. The charitable organization supports golf programs for young people as a means of developing character and enriching lives.
At the helm of Mangrove Masters is Florida native and USCG-certified Captain Jack Boutchyard, who loves to introduce visitors to the waters he calls home—specifically those surrounding Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Captain Jack brings along all gear, including fishing licenses, rods, and bait for flats fishing charters that chase trout near the grass flats and redfish when the tide goes out. For a hands-off outing, the sunset cruise charts course toward a horizon bathed in soft pinks and purples, presenting a colorful backdrop for dolphins and manatees at play. Treasure hunters can also opt to meet Captain Jack on the dock for a short jaunt to the white, sandy shores of North Captiva Island, which is only accessible by boat and teems with riches such as conch shells, sand dollars, and buried chests filled with pirate baseball-card collections.
Crossing the finish line of the Fort Myers Marathon brings ample rewards. Beyond medals?which go to the top finishers by age and gender?runners get the satisfaction of knowing that they've helped a good cause. Or in this case, several good causes. Proceeds from the race go to non-profit organizations including Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers and the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
The organizers of Fort Myers Marathon want as many people as possible to get in on the altruism, regardless of how much horsepower their sneakers have. To that end, they let runners register for a full marathon, a half-marathon, and a separate 5K race. Whatever route they choose, racers find ample support along the way. Hydration stations, photographers, and fans line the course.
The scope of the Southwest Florida Museum of History is as vast as the ocean that once covered the region. The art, artifacts, and reconstructions that comprise the museum's permanent exhibits and rotating exhibitions explore the period some 40 million years ago, when the giant megalodon swam in the area's shallow seas; the early half of the Common Era, when Calusa Indians occupied the same terrain; and the point in 1904 when railroad tracks reached southwestern Florida for the first time, connecting it to the rest of America. The fossilized remains of a giant ground sloth, a 1920s luxury railcar, and an 1800s cattle driver's cabin are highlights of the museum’s exhibits and displays, which together serve as a humbling reminder of history’s vastness and an indirect reminder to walk your giant ground sloth.