Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve – January 2020


Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9am to 4pm 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

Naturalist Led Kayak Tours at RookeryBay 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.


Science Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm

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

  • January 4 – Invasive Species
  • January 11 – Birds of a Feather
  • January 25 – Skulls & Bones

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 am.

Lunch & Learn Lecture: Rookery Bay & theNext Generation of Scientists – The SeaTurtle Nesting Program: Connecting Science, Stewardship and Education

January 10 • 12 – 1pm • $15

Registration is required

Please join us for the third in a series of five lectures – The Sea Turtle Nesting Program: Connecting Science, Stewardship and Education. Jill Schmid, Rookery Bay GIS Specialist and Sarah Norris, Rookery Bay Environmental Specialist will co-present on the sea turtle monitoring and research program at Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Lunch will be provided. The 2019-20 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.

Essentials of Digital Photography

January 13 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m • $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.

Rookery Bay Brush Strokes –Birds in Water Color

January 16 & January 30 • 9:30 am – 12 pm • $60

Registration is required

Paint the beauty of coastal Southwest Florida and the wildlife of estuary waters at Rookery Bay Brush Strokes watercolor painting class. Local Naples artist Jan Deswik offers step-by-step simple instructions and creative support that’s perfect for beginners or anyone inspired by the coastal environment and wants to bring it to life in a one-of a-kind painting. Each class spotlights a natural theme from shells to birdlife to local waterways. Held in classrooms at The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, all materials are included. Participants will leave each class with  a completed painted piece with matte.

Festival of Birds

January 17, 18 & 19, 2020 

Join Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for the Festival of Birds. This annual event allows guests to explore the local environment through guided field trips to wildlife hotspots around Southwest Florida, and features programs and presentations at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Dozens of field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours will be offered by Rookery Bay Research Reserve and area partners. Trips range in price from $20-$145. Registration for fieldtrips is required.

Birds of the Beach

January 25 • 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. • $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).

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