December 2014 Life In Naples Magazine

Read the December 2014 edition of Life In Naples


Turn pages by moving your mouse across the corners or clicking the arrow buttons.

View larger by clicking on the menu bar and there are a variety of viewing options available.

Email to your friends with the envelope logo.

Print pages with the “printer” button.

Share pages on social media with the Social Share in the lower right hand corner.

See archived issues on right panel under Magazine Archive

Keeping Our Kids Safe this Holiday Season

Drug Free Collier’s CORE students from Lely High School take the MADD #ProtectUrSelfie pledge.

Drug Free Collier’s CORE students from Lely High School
take the MADD #ProtectUrSelfie pledge.

It’s the season for holiday parties. Whether hosting a party or attending as a guest, Drug Free Collier has a few party planning tips to help make this a season to remember. In all the hustle and bustle of party planning, gift shopping and decorating, it’s important to keep our children safe. Holiday parties should not expose children to increased drug and alcohol use.

For adults, holiday parties often include alcohol and casual drinking. Hosts of social gatherings where alcohol is involved are reminded of their responsibility for keeping their guests safe, especially minors. “Don’t take the jolly out of this season by providing alcohol to minors,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier.

“Underage drinking is not only against the law, it creates real health risks,” Black said. The age limit is based on scientific research on the impact of alcohol on brain development, which continues well into the mid-20s, she added.

Alcohol remains the most commonly abused substance among teens. Almost two out of five high school students in Florida report alcohol consumption in the past 30-days, and almost 19 percent said they have blacked out from too much drinking, according to the 2014 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. Ten years ago, that number was much higher, with almost half of all high school students in Florida drinking.

drug signToday, when compared to data from 2004, fewer teens are drinking alcohol thanks to collaborative efforts from key partners; greater involvement from parents; and increased community awareness. While we celebrate this success, we know there’s still plenty of work to do.

Drug Free Collier’s school-based prevention clubs known as the CORE Society recently partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage teens to pass on alcohol until 21. Hundreds of local students participated by posting selfies on their social media with MADD’s #ProtectUrSelfie pledge card, promising to not drink alcohol before age 21 or use other drugs because it is illegal and dangerous.

We can help our teens keep this promise during the holidays and throughout the year, by adopting these simple, but important party-planning suggestions:

  • Control access to alcohol you provide
  • Do not allow underage youth to drink alcoholic beverages
  • Offer food and plenty of non-alcoholic drinks
  • Plan entertainment and other activities so that drinking alcohol is not the primary focus of the party
  • Monitor all areas of the house/property or limit the party access to a certain area.
  • Secure all prescription & over-the-counter medication. Unsecured bottles in a bathroom medicine cabinet can be a source of abuse.
  • Keep all firearms and other potentially hazardous items in a safe place.
  • Model appropriate behavior for your guests and children.
  • Make sure visibly intoxicated guests are not left alone. Even if they’re not driving, impaired guests can be injured or injure others.
  • Provide alternate transportation for impaired guests.
  • Enlist others to help chaperone and monitor your party

Planning a safe holiday party with these tips in mind can be the best gift you offer your guests.

On behalf of Drug Free Collier, we wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season.

Drug Free Collier is a coalition of concerned citizens working to protect children from substance abuse. To learn more about our local efforts, visit or call 239.377.0535.

Holiday Tech Gift Guide

The holidays are again right around the corner, and tech items are those gifts that everyone loves and will use, possibly more than you’d like! Here are my favorite items that I have used and can recommend without hesitation.

imac27” iMac with Retina 5K Display

The newest iMac goes beyond the retina displays of the MacBook Pros, iPad and iPhones, jumps over 4K televisions and introduces the first 5K display for consumers. This means that the screen has 14.7 million pixels, compared to the average 1080p Hi-Def TV that has 2.05 million pixels. The sharpness of text and images on the iMac is simply incredible. It’s a computer with a display for editors, designers, and photographers, and anyone else that appreciates being ables to see lifelike detail on their computer screen.

The new iMac starts at $2500.

Belking lIght switchBelkin WeMo Light Switch

For an easy introduction to home automation, Belkin’s WeMo line is a good place to start. The WeMo Light Switch connects to your Wi-Fi network and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet with an accompanying app. Installation is quick and relatively easy if you’ve ever changed a light switch, and setting everything up is a breeze.

The WeMo’s controls are simple and straightforward. You can turn the light on or off using the app’s On/Off button, or you can create a set of rules to turn the light on or off at a certain time of day. If you have location services enabled on your device, you can set the light to switch on at sunset and turn off at sunrise, or vice versa. Of course, you can always use the WeMo as a traditional switch by pressing the rocker panel.

The Belkin WeMo Light Switch is $49.

iphone6iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

The newest iPhone models were released in October, and if you’re due for an upgrade with your carrier, you can’t go wrong with either model. The new iPhone 6 includes an 8MP camera with a better sensor that will take better photos than the iPhone 5. The iPhone 6 Plus features Optical Image Stabilization that minimizes shakiness for better quality photos and video. Apple Pay in the new models will allow you to pay for things with the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6

Plus, using credit cards securely stored in encrypted code on the phone. The Phone 6 models are now available with up to 128GB of storage, and the 64GB model is now $100 cheaper. Touch ID is the fingerprint sensor inside the home button, it provides added security and convenience for purchasing and protecting data on the phone. The battery life in standby mode is 10 days for the iPhones 6 and 16 days for the 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 starts at $199 and the 6 Plus starts at $299.

crash planCrashPlan online backup

I have written about the importance of backups in the past, and CrashPlan is an inexpensive way to backup off-site with great service and features. With truly unlimited backup (it even backs up connected external drives!) and 448-bit encryption, it is both convenient and secure. An App for smartphones allows you to access files stored on CrashPlan’s secure servers from anywhere in the world. The initial backup may take a few weeks to upload, after that it runs every hour when your computer is online. In case of a disaster, you can download files from their server or they will ship you a hard drive overnight for an additional fee.

CrashPlan starts as low as $4 per month for one computer, or $9 per month for up to 5 computers.

ipadairiPad Air 2

The most noticeable thing about the latest iPad models is their weight and size. Just 6.1 mm thin and weighing just 0.96 pound, it is the thinnest tablet Apple has ever made. They have the same fast A8X chip and M8 motion coprocessor that are in the iPhone 6 models. The 8MP camera offers 1080p HD video recording (at 30 fps) and even slow-motion recording (at 120 fps).

The Touch ID allows both unlocking the iPad and also payment options for the iTunes store and inapp purchases. iOS 8 allows more continuity between your devices and
Apple computers.

iPad Air 2 starts at $499

blenderBlendtec Blender

If I hadn’t seen this myself I would not have believed it. This is the best blender I have used, and is included here as Kitchen Tech that will be used daily for smoothies, juices, soups, shakes and even baby food! The Blendtec will act as a substitute for other small kitchen appliances like mixers, food processors, and even coffee grinders. The 13-amp, 1,560-watt motor and 90 fluid ounce jar mean that you can make a lot of almost anything you want to put into it, and it still fits under a counter! To see the blender in action blending iPhones, hockey pucks and even Nike tennis shoes into dust, visit

The Blendtec Total Blender Classic WildSide starts at $399.

Life Experiences for TIF Students

Marcos Gonzalez hosted by the Accounting Department at University of South Florida - France and Spain

Marcos Gonzalez hosted by the Accounting Department at University of South Florida – France and Spain

by Steven Kissinger

This past summer, students of The Immokalee Foundation were given a chance to learn, grow and succeed in ways they never thought possible. Rather than spend their summer hanging out with friends, they looked toward their future and filled their days with educational and life experiences designed to help them on their journey to a better life.

The experiences were many and they were memorable: visiting college campuses, attending summer camps in New England, and taking part in beneficial summer internships, to name a few.

Educational opportunities were abundant – and particularly impactful. Florida SouthWestern State College Summer Program hosted 18 high school seniors – each with a TIF scholarship – who were headed to college in the fall. The two-day program featured workshops designed to provide the students with information to prepare them for their transition into college. At the end of June, an eightweek program was held for 16 more students.

Thanks to a sponsorship by TIF, high school junior Nenaly Patino witnessed an open-heart surgery and a brain surgery when she attended a 10-day medical conference at Harvard Medical School. Patino said she also received hands-on experience suturing and making clinical diagnoses.

Linda Jean Pierre – Florida State – Sport Management and International Sports, London

Linda Jean Pierre – Florida State – Sport Management and International Sports, London

“Attending the program also gave me the chance to get a feel for what college life will bring and gave me the opportunity to connect with students my age from all over the world,” Patino said.

An intensive ACT summer prep program, funded by Naples Children and Education Foundation’s Guided Programs for Success initiative, was among the summer’s most important offerings.

Intended to help prepare students taking the college readiness assessment in September, the program was managed by Marcie Bonilla, TIF’s Take Stock in Children program services coordinator.

The ACT prep program was developed to aid students in reaching their ACT score goals. “It is important for students to understand that if they are dedicated and work hard for what they desire, then it is attainable,” said Bonilla. “We know this because of our ACT score results this summer. While other students in the country may be at home sleeping in or watching TV during the summer, our students are in a classroom getting college-ready.”

At the beginning of the summer, students scored as low as 11 on the composite score, with 17 as the average. By the end of the summer, on average, students made a  three-point gain on the composite score, with one student making a remarkable seven-point gain.

Other memorable experiences TIF’s high school and college students took part in included:

  • Alan Cuevas spent six weeks at Cornell University Summer College learning about the biological research and health profession.
  • Marcos Gonzalez spent six weeks in France and Spain, hosted by the accounting department at the University of South Florida.
  • Linda Jean Pierre was in London for six weeks thanks to Florida State University’s sport management and international sports programs.
  • Regine Francois took part in the Georgetown University Summer High School Program’s Leadership Institute.

Providing students with opportunities to achieve their dreams of success are at the core of The Immokalee Foundation. Perhaps Bonilla explains it best when she tells of the morning the ACT scores were released and students were texting and emailing their gratitude. “I cannot express how overjoyed I was because I dealt with these students’ complaints and struggles throughout the summer,” Bonilla said. “To see them realize the importance of the summer ACT prep and their hard work pay off is priceless. Those moments are why we do what we do.”

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239.430.9122 or visit

Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at

Betty Bireley is 2015 Luminary of the Year for Hodges

Betty Bireley

Betty Bireley is the 2015 Luminary of the Year Award recipient

A committee of past Hodges University Luminary Award honorees has selected Fort Myers philanthropist and community activist Betty Bireley as its 2015 Luminary of the Year award recipient. The annual award will be presented during a luncheon on Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the Broadway Palm Theater in Fort Myers.

The Luminary Award recognizes local citizens who personify society’s most valued human characteristics and thus have moved society in a positive way, serving as distinguished examples of the virtues of perseverance, honesty, moral character and charity.

“Betty has been a strong philanthropic force in Southwest Florida for many years,” said Phil Memoli, Vice President of University Advancement at Hodges. “She has made and continues to make an impact in Lee County. She follows her passions and fully commits to projects she believes in and the community benefits from the results.

She’s the type of person who’d rather roll up her sleeves than sit in a lunch meeting. Betty is only interested in outcomes, not recognition, so we are honored that she has allowed us to recognize her as our Luminary of the Year. Her story and her charity are truly inspirational.”

A Fort Myers resident for 33 years, Betty Bireley has been an avid supporter of numerous local charities and arts organizations. She has not only donated to these groups but actively participates in numerous fundraising events with a steadfast will and spirit. Betty has given both her time and treasures to AIDS Task Force of Lee County, Eden
Autism Services, The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Lee Cancer Care, Alliance for the Arts, Lee County Homeless Coalition, Berne Davis Center, Hodges University, the Uncommon Friends Foundation, the Heights Foundation and many more.

Bireley has supported a variety of local fundraisers, including Arts for ACT and the Alliance for the Arts’ fall fundraiser. The Bireley Family Foundation also hosts the annual Ribbon and Blues, an evening of music and fundraising benefiting the Regional Cancer Center Compassionate Care Fund.

Betty Bireley has been honored by several local civic organizations and was named Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Prima Donor for her commitment to making an impact in the community through charitable giving. Betty, and her late husband Frank, were also named Philanthropists of the Year by Lee Memorial Health System.

Mrs. Bireley joins a growing list Luminary Award recipients including Sam Galloway, Jr. (2013), Wayne and Mavis Miller (2012), Francis and Sam Bailey (2011) and Dr. Veronica Shoemaker (2010).

For her outstanding involvement and dedication to our community, and for making significant contributions of leadership and service which have improved and enriched the
lives of so many residents of our community, Hodges University is pleased to honor Betty Bireley as its 2015 Luminary of the Year. She will be formally recognized at a luncheon on January 29, 2015, at the Broadway Palm Theater.

For more information on ticket reservations or sponsorship opportunities, call Adriana Buitrago at 239.598.6235 or visit

New App from Naples Native

Simplifies Your Social Media Management

Naples Appby Ron McGinty and Courtney Caldwell

t was a crisp day in Everglades City last winter when I had a peek into the future. I was with my friend and fellow photographer, David Bankston. He told me social media had become too cumbersome to enjoy. David had my interest because I follow over 1,900 Twitter feeds plus another 1,000 between Facebook and LinkedIn. Knowing David as socially connected, fiercely intelligent and revolutionary, I had to know more. These five words define the visionary mind behind Sparksfly, the new mobile discovery app that aggregates multiple social media feeds and organizes posts according to the things you love, saving valuable time in the real world. Too many posts, too many feeds? Sparksfly is a brand-new way to manage your social. I was immediately hooked, because I am a disciple of the power of social media.

Naples’ own David Bankston first birthed the idea behind Sparksfly out of frustration. In an attempt to follow and keep up with the myriad of conversations on each of his  Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds, he became overwhelmed with sparksflysocial media fatigue. Learning that he was part of the 43 percent of consumers who also share his concern, he became eagle-eye focused on solving the big problem of applying the simplification movement to social channel fatigue. In 2012, David started to do the one thing that serial entrepreneurs are so known and revered for: he stared at the problem until he unhinged a solution. Ask any leader, and you’ll learn that those entrepreneurs who succeed the fastest are laser-light focused: following one course until successful.

But developing a next-generation technology is nothing new to David Bankston, Sparksfly inventor and CEO. A 20-year pioneer in the creation and deployment of successful social technologies for Fortune 1000 companies, he co-founded an enterprise social software firm alongside his Naples business partner, Kim Kobza, Sparksfly co-founder and COO. The dynamic duo went on to co-patent the “Platform for Management of Internet Public Comment” software (Patent# US 7,548,930 B2) that is used in hundreds of governmental agencies, cities, and counties today, including the Department of Defense, and as the technology base behind the American Express OPEN Forum and HGTV’s Rate my Space.

At the heart of Sparksfly, David’s new creation, is a proprietary fuzzy inference engine that interprets your social feeds to determine your personal behaviors. Sparksfly then learns your routines . . . similar to how Pandora learns your music preferences. The more you use the app, the better it gets at recognizing and showing you content from your feeds that best suits your personal patterns.

But here’s the industry game- changer: the built-in “Sparks Detector” cuts through the clutter of your multiple social media accounts to discover content and contacts you didn’t know existed! By uncovering these valuable “sparks,” Sparksfly improves your productivity by aggregating your personal social media into trails you can actually follow.

In just fourteen weeks, Sparksfly has amassed more than 100,000 users, 90 million card flips, and an above-average rating of 4.3 in the Google PlayStore. Sparksfly has been touted as an intelligent, personal discovery mobile application and next-generation aggregation tool that helps users focus.

Check out to see why it’s been dubbed the next darling of Naples tech. Download the app today—available in either the Apple iOS or GooglePlay stores—to simplify your social. And try it out on Android Wear devices, too!

Time honored traditions – Neapolitan Christmas tidings

christmas1With Christmas around the corner and so many festive people in Naples, it’s no wonder so many of our favorite Life in Naples readers hold Christmas traditions so dear.

Trimming the Christmas tree, gathering for a meal, crafting thoughtful newsletters, each has a meaning and embodies the joy of the season. Here are a few Christmas traditions we love.

“The very best part of Christmas in our Italian/French home was Christmas Eve. After a 4:30 Mass in which my children participated in the live Nativity, we would return home to begin the process of cooking the seven fishes in an assortment of ways. It was a culinary feast for all the senses with a large family present to sample all the delectable dishes from fried squid, shrimp, scallops and smelts to pasta with various toppings. As the chief cook and bottle washer, I derive more pleasure watching the tasting process and conviviality around our kitchen table than anything else. It truly was a time of coming together in happiness and love to celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

– Louise Penta

“Every year I celebrate Christmas Eve at the home of my grandparents. I head to Marco Island with my dog, Louis, in the early afternoon excited to share good laughs and  better food.

christmas2My grandmother is always in the kitchen preparing a feast while my grandfather and I solve world problems. Family arrives and everyone is always congregating in the kitchen nibbling and drinking wine (the pickled eggs are my favorite). We are all reminded not to touch the food before dinner as there will not be any left, but there is always enough food at the dinner table to feed an army. As dinner approaches my grandfather sharpens his knives and us girls set the table. It is tradition to eat prime rib, twice baked potatoes, asparagus or Brussels sprouts, with homemade Caesar salad. It is always a surprise what desert will be served but we all know it will be homemade. After dinner we exchange gifts and listen to Christmas music. I always spend the night and wake up the next morning to amazing smells coming from the kitchen. Breakfast consists of a homemade honey puff, fresh fruit and bacon. Recently we have been spending time on the boat Christmas day and enjoying the company of our family and friends.”

– Kelly Cooper

christmas 3“My favorite Christmas tradition is baking my mother’s gingerbread cookies with my daughters but making my sister do all the work, while I sip some holiday cheer. I do help with the frosting and sampling, of course.”

– Shelly Stayer

“My absolute favorite Christmas tradition, which has been going on for generations, is an annual family reunion on Christmas Eve. Relatives from all over the world get
together for our annual Christmas carol singalong replete with printed song sheets, music accompaniment, food and drink. What makes this so special is that it is the one time of the year that we can all reconnect with each other and welcome new family members who are adding to the growing extended family through marriage or the birth of new children into the family. It is traditional for each person to choose his or her favorite Christmas carol starting from the youngest to the oldest until all songs have been sung.”

– Charlie McDonald

“My Christmas card/newsletter includes a page of photos from the past year. Putting this together allows me to reflect on the year and share my highlights with friends and family. It also allows me to stop and think about each person as I write a personal note to them. I also love receiving newsletters from others and catching up on their special moments.”

– Kamela Patton

christmas4“Sitting at the lunch table just after the Christmas tree had been decorated my mother would say, “Oh! Did you hear that!?” Of course none of us kids had heard a thing. She would then rush us in to see the tree that was now somehow magically decorated with candy canes. We continued that tradition with our kids and on any given Christmas, guests in our home most likely will find candy canes hanging from the boughs.”

– John Cox

“Our favorite Christmas tradition is decorating our inside house door frames with Christmas ribbon and then attaching all of the Christmas cards, pictures and holiday messages to the ribbons for the Christmas holidays and to ring in the New Year. This way we are constantly reminded of all of the people who share their thoughts with us. Our Christmas Eve tradition is the serving of a buffet of fish plates to invited close friends and relatives and giving out small holiday remembrances. On Christmas Day we celebrate the exchange of gifts with loved ones.”

– Joan and Neil Curley

Moving Fine Art is an Art

William C Huffby Jim Henderson
President of William C. Huff Companies and national speaker for estate downsizing and lifestyle transitions

Most homeowners have accumulated an array of collectibles over the years – everything from porcelain figurines to oil paintings; some never being moved for fear of damage.

A client recently asked me how to clean and/or move these types of items. Not having specific answers, I consulted Gordon Lewis of the Fine Art Conservancy of West Palm Beach. He is one of the foremost experts on porcelains, fine art and heirloom pieces in the United States. Although our company has extensive training and experience in art handling, cleaning was not our area of expertise.

With the valuable information obtained from Gordon, we decided to present a workshop at the National Estate Management Association’s Convention in September.

Our tips included: never completely immerse antique porcelains in water; a soft brush, damp cloth and mild dishwashing detergent may be used but only while cleaning a small portion at a time; and tap water has carbon dioxide which can create a chemical reaction with the minerals in the porcelain clays. Last spring, I watched a client soak several valuable porcelains in soapy water for hours; we can only hope that there was no damage.

A tip from Merv Richards, Chief Conservator for the National Gallery of Art, is never use white cotton gloves when handling art, sculptures and heirloom pieces. Cotton lint can change the patina on bronze or stainless sculptures and hand oils and sweat can seep through causing discoloration. Common grocery store Butyl-Nitrile gloves are preferred.

The most important thing to consider before cleaning or moving collectibles is your insurance company’s protocol for the appraised piece of art which avoids unnecessary risks and/or claims.

When working with a client who had paintings that were valued in the $20 million dollar range, I consulted Richards who said standard protocol was to prevent paintings from ever being carried.

They should be taken down and carefully placed into custom made wooden crates, then dollied, not carried in and out of the truck and home. Insurance companies calculate that the biggest risk of damage to fine art is not in the actual transportation but, in the improper crating and hand carrying.

Whenever there is a question regarding how to properly clean or handle valuables, never hesitate to contact us, a professional conservator or restoration specialist.

Invitation to a holiday Duck Feast

Charles MeredayThe vision of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County is to create a community where child abuse is not tolerated. The non-profit organization provides a  coordinated, multi-agency approach to the investigation, intervention, and treatment of child sexual and physical abuse, minimizing the children’s trauma and supporting families in providing a safe environment. The CAC serves more than 2,000 children in crisis each year. To learn more or to book reservations, visit or call 239.263.8383 x230.

Charles Mereday is chef/owner of three Southwest Florida restaurants: Mereday’s Fine Dining, his flagship restaurant at Naples Bay Resort; Alto Live Jazz Kitchen at Bayfront; and Mereday’s Brasserie at Coconut Point Mall.

“I believe that everyone has something unique to offer to enhance the quality of life in their community.

My two great passions are the love of my family and my joy in the culinary arts. When I learned of the Children’s Advocacy Center’s compassionate and transformational services to young victims of abuse, I felt inspired to use my two passions to support its work.

To honor my wife, my two young daughters, and the loyal guests who continue to believe in me and support my restaurants, it is my pleasure to prepare and host this holiday
feast. Every single dollar – one hundred percent of each ticket purchase – will go directly toward improving the lives of abused children right now, right here in our community. I hope you will join us, and I pledge to you my greatest effort yet to make it a culinary experience beyond all expectations.”
– Charles Mereday

C’mon to a place for kids to play

cmon houseby Robin DeMattia

Retirees aren’t the only ones having fun in Collier County. Since it opened in 2012, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon) has celebrated the natural curiosity of children by offering a dynamic educational space that encourages exploration and discovery for children from birth to age 14.

The two-story 38,000-square-foot space located across from the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon in the North Collier Regional Park offers hands-on play opportunities through 14 interactive exhibit galleries. The popular attraction also includes the Johnsonville Backyardville play area, a Family Resource Library, Discovery Center exploration rooms, Garden Café with healthy snacks, and Museum Store.

comon2Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the exhibits invite visitors of all ages to journey through the swamps of the Everglades, weave through a maze, climb a two-story banyan tree, or experiment with the water play station. Children can become a weather forecaster, a farmer, a chef, a fisherman, an artist, an architect or a veterinarian. They learn about the natural world while exploring the cold of an igloo, the whoosh of the wind, the sound of the sea, the effects of water and the colors of the rainbow.

The newest exhibit, “Build It!,” invites children to use their imagination as they design and build structures using nuts, bolts, planks and gravity. In “Mother Nature’s House,” they experience earth’s rhythms and the four seasons. They take a trip to the “Produce Market” where they grab a shopping cart, shopping list and discover the bounty grown in Florida.

On “The Farm,” they learn where that produce comes from by working as a truck loader, picker or other job.

Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit! created by The Magic House in collaboration with the Jim Henson Company is at C’mon through Jan. 18. Children enter Sid’s world and become hands-on “science kids” learning about simple machines, the laws of motion, magnetism and more.

All of this experiential play fosters creativity, curiosity, empathy and self-esteem. Children can learn to develop the social skills needed to cooperate with others, sharpen their senses as a means for exploration, strengthens growth and fine motor skills, and develops problem solving techniques.

And while adults can learn from these exhibits as well, they can also benefit from finding out how to make their homes “green” because C’mon is a certified LEED green building and serves as an educational learning lab. The museum uses wind turbines for power generation, solar hot water and rainwater harvesting for restroom facilities, among other environmentally sensitive and energy efficient projects.

cmon frontMembership is available, supports the museum’s operations and offers many benefits. C’mon members receive unlimited free admission for one year, discounts in the Museum Store and Garden Café, and invitations to special members-only events. Membership can be purchased at the end of a day’s visit, with the admission amount paid applied to the cost of membership.

C’mon is fully accessible to all children regardless of their physical or learning abilities.

Robin DeMattia has been a freelance journalist and marketing consultant for more than 20 years.

15080 Livingston Road
239.514.0084 |
Monday: Closed | Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Starting January 2015, C’mon will be open on
Monday and closed on Wednesday.
Children under one: free
Children ages 1+: $10
Adults*: $10
Seniors* (55+): $10
* Adults must be accompanied by a child to gain entrance to C’mon.