Once the balmy winter retreat of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates now lets visitors roam through 20 acres of gorgeous gardens, historical buildings, and fascinating scientific exhibits. In the course of an hour, a fact-filled science sherpa will lead groups through the environment that incubated some of America's greatest inventions, including the light bulb, the modern automobile, and the fruit tree. Hands-on exhibits spark wide-eyed excitement in adults and offspring and grand-offspring alike as they hear the ghostly sounds of an original phonograph, pick up a short shift on a Model T assembly line, or create a bouncy, stretchable polymer to take home and use to cover the sinkhole in the kitchen. Finally, each party will be set loose with an orientation session, map, and self-guided audio tour to explore the entirety of both homes, the gardens, and the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory at its own pace.
Father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian founded Pure Naples in 2009 to introduce landlubbers to the pristine waterways that surround Naples. No strangers to the waters, the Julians draw on five generations of maritime business and 25 years of maritime-tourism experience to make their tours as fun and informative as possible. Together they introduce tourists to picturesque views of dolphins, bald eagles, and nature?s cutest cow, the manatee, with cruises, or they facilitate individual exploring with Jet Ski and boat rentals. They even take their boats out on regular deep-sea or bay fishing trips and private charters for the serious angler.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
Haunted Fort Myers introduces tourists and locals alike to the hidden mysteries and haunted locales of southwest Florida, through evening walking tours led by engaging storytellers. Each 70-minute jaunt blends spooky stories with educational tidbits, acquainting guests with the rich past of Fort Myers while sending chills up the spine, like a history class from a teacher wearing a creepy mask.
Depending who you ask, the true history of Fort Myers could be anything from its artistic heritage to its dark underbelly. That?s why the guides at True Tours lead six walking excursions that each focus on a specific aspect of the city?s past. Gaze upon the Justice Center?s beloved _Fire Dance_art panels, discover which buildings house paranormal activity, or learn about the women who shaped the area?s culture history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All treks begin and end at the Franklin Shops on First Street except tours of Matlacha Island, which saunter past the village?s fishing shacks and the renovated houses where the wealthiest sea lions live.
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.