Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay in November

Ongoing Programs

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

At Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, you can learn about environmental science and the natural world through actual hands-on experiences with marine life touch tanks, exhibits and coastal habitat displays. The two-story modern visitor center is air conditioned and includes an art gallery, naturalist led programs, gift shop, nature viewing platform over the water and more!

Kids and grown-ups alike can explore the center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 – 12, and free for kids under 6 and Friends of Rookery Bay members. Located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US 41 and Collier Boulevard. Learn more and register for tours and events at Friends of Rookery Bay member discounts apply to most events. 

Naturalist Led Kayak Tours at Rookery Bay Research Reserve – All Year!

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a kayak adventure into the beautiful backwaters of Rookery Bay Reserve with our exclusive partner, Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region.

The whole family can enjoy a memorable and educational adventure into the estuary. With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees! Book at

In the Rookery Bay Gallery – Annual Painting Exhibition

November 3, 2019 – January 9, 2020 • Included with Admission to Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

The Friends of Rookery Bay and the United Arts Council of Collier County present the Annual Painting Exhibition with works submitted by artists from Collier and Lee counties. Following Rookery Bay’s environmental mission, works share a central theme of flora and fauna.


Birds of the Beach

November 2 • 8 am – 12 pm • $40

Registration is required

Southwest Florida is a critical stopover site for thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds. In this class, Adam DiNuovo of Audubon Florida will discuss the life history of these birds and the amazing journeys many of them make annually. Winter shorebirds are notoriously difficult to ID, so practicing the skills learned in this class is essential.

You will learn how to use plumage, size, and behavior to help with identification. The classroom session will take place at the Rookery Bay Field Station on Shell Island Road. It will be followed by a trip to Tigertail Beach, one of the most important winter shorebird sites in Florida, where we will see many of the birds discussed. Be prepared to wade in water up to your knees, with adequate footwear that will protect your feet (no flip flops). Collier County beach parking fee applies ($8, free with sticker).

Science Saturdays

$5 Admission for adults, FREE for kids 12 and under •Facility is open 9 am to 4 pm

• November 2 – Sea Turtle Hurdles

• November 9 – So Much More than Seashells

• November 16 – Days and Days of Sharks and Rays

• November 23 – Skulls & Bones

• November 30 – Marine Mammal Marathon

At the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, Science Saturdays are sure to unleash your inner scientist or marine biologist with hands-on discoveries for all ages. Every Saturday a different theme at Rookery Bay, enjoy eco-crafts, a presentation, a featured film and our “Lessons in Laboratories” program from 11 – 11:45 a.m.

Lunch & Learn Lecture: Rookery Bay & the Next Generation of Scientists – Wading Birds Colonies and the Impact of Hurricanes

November 8 • 12 – 1 pm • $15, includes lunch

Registration is required

Please join us for the first in a series of five lectures – Rookery Bay& the Next Generation of Scientists – Making a Home at Rookery Bay: Wading Birds Colonies and the Impact of Hurricanes. Anne Mauro, Rookery Bay’s Avian Ecologist and Gina Cheadle, Florida Gulf Coast University student will co-present on the impact extreme weather has on wading bird colonies in Southwest Florida. The 2019-2020 lecture series focuses on key projects occurring at Rookery Bay and the collaboration of senior scientists and up-and coming young staff members or interns. During co-presentations of findings and information, the teams will highlight the importance of mentorship in science and how working together with today’s young professionals positively impacts the future of environmental ecology and conservation in Florida.

Girls in Science Slumber

November 9 –10 • Ages 8 – 14yrs • Drop off November 9at 5 pm Pick up November 10 at 8 am. • $60

Registration is required

Discover the nocturnal side of nature while camping with Rookery Bay Reserve Educators inside our Environmental Learning Center. This program will emphasize Southwest Florida’s unique ecological environment that we call home. Participants are required to bring their own sleeping bag/pillow. Pizza and light snacks are included.

Painting Annual Exhibition – Art Reception

November 14 • 5:30 – 7 pm • This is a Free Event. Open to the public.

Registration is required

Join us for the opening reception of our Annual Painting Exhibition presented by of the Friends of Rookery Bay and the United Arts Council of Collier County. Works are submitted by artists from Collier and Lee counties and juried. Following along with Rookery Bay’s environmental mission, works will share a central theme of flora and fauna. Most of the paintings are for sale. The opening reception includes wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

America Recycles Day

November 15 • BOGO Admission

Visit the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center for buy one get one free entrance on November 15 to promote the importance of recycling for our economy and environment. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Each year, thousands of communities across the country participate by promoting environmental citizenship and takin action to increase and improve recycling in America.

Classic Car Show at Rookery Bay

November 16 • 9 am – 2 pm • $10

Registration is required

The Friends of Rookery Bay is teaming up with Island Automotive to showcase more than 40 of the coolest classic cars around at the Rookery Bay Environmental Center. The show is family friendly with kids’ activities and presentations. Attendees can also peruse a collection of mint car mascots and hood ornaments from the Jon Zuler collection.

Essentials of Digital Photography

November 18 • 9:30 am – 12:30 pm • $55

Registration is required

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understand your camera’s features, this camera workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how-to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity. Sonny Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students.

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