The 105-acre Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium entertains and educates visitors on a 105-acre plot peppered with native wildlife, an educational museum, and three trails snaking through natural habitats. Museum guests learn about the natural world as they commune with captive animals and plants, including native butterflies and a variety of tree frogs. An Audubon aviary houses injured hawks, vultures, and owls, as well as bald eagles preening for guests during breaks from modeling gigs for the quarter and $1 bill. Outside, guests can stroll along nature trails on the center’s grounds to spot all kinds of native plants and wildlife, and the Big Cypress Swamp Boardwalk allows explorers with wheelchairs or strollers to glide along stable paths. Sit back and stare up at the Media Globe dome theater's screen and learn the universe’s best-kept secrets under a breathtaking view of the stars.
Stingrays, dinosaurs, and faux hurricanes can all be found at the Imaginarium Science Center, which soaks spongy young brains in knowledge via hands-on exhibits and 3-D movies about the natural world. Families can observe moray eels and other marine life in the Window to the Sea aquarium, or reach out to gentle stingrays in an open tank. Several daily shows with live animals compete for attention with a dino dig where patrons learn how archeologists excavate fossilized bones using nothing but the power of their minds. Kids can emulate their favorite sports heroes in the Sporty Science Arena simulator, then imitate their favorite TV weather-reporting heroes as they witness a simulated hurricane.
A licensed urban winery, Time to Make Wine churns out batches of wine and winemakers. The facility presents 2,400 square feet of temperature-, humidity-, and light-controlled space, inside which visitors learn how to concoct personalized potables. When needing a sip of inspiration, visitors may also browse Time to Make Wine's own products, or stock up on accessories ranging from corks and wine kits to fermentation containers.
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.
Towering oak trees and a sun-kissed waterfront surround the historical Burroughs Home & Gardens, providing comfortable blankets of shade and cool breezes while exemplifying the reverent collaboration between classic architecture and the natural world. The 1901 Georgian Revival mansion—once the setting for a silent 1920s reality show starring businessman Nelson Burroughs, his wife Adeline, and their glamorous daughters, Mona and Jettie—currently facilitates tours throughout its parlors, dining rooms, and sweeping verandas.
Guides share anecdotes from the family's journals and oral histories and point out examples of such turn-of-the-century luxuries as indoor plumbing, electricity, and steam-powered Nintendo. In keeping with the grounds' esteemed history, the public can also arrange to schedule weddings and social events like those that once hosted members of the Fort Myers elite, including the Edisons, Fords, and Firestones.