Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday year-round, with special Science Saturdays on the last Saturday of every month. Enjoy the two story visitor center, art gallery, gift shop, nature trail with viewing platform and more. Themed naturalist programs are offered daily on topics such as manatees, sharks, sea turtles, Estuary
Encounter marine life exhibit and more. 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 US41 and Collier Boulevard.
Guided Boat and Kayak Tours
Two-hour guided kayak tours let you explore backwater bays and mangrove tunnels while learning about your surroundings from an experienced guide and naturalist. Boat tours provide opportunities to see wildlife such as wading birds, osprey, fish and dolphins. All tours include free admission to the Environmental Learning Center on day of trip and proceeds support the non-profit Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc. Kayak and boat tours are offered Tuesdays through Fridays from November through April.
March 3 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Birds of the Beach Workshop
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 is followed by a field trip to practice identification skills. Cost is $40.
March 9 | 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Enjoy this fun and informative class designed to help you identify birds around you. Oriented toward the beginning birder, the classroom session explores how to use birds’ plumage, shape, behavior and habitat to recognize various species. It also covers the effective use of binoculars and field guides. During the second part of the class you will learn more tricks of the trade during a field trip to a nearby park where you can enjoy practicing new. Cost is $40.
March 12 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop
If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, the Essentials of Digital Photography: How to get the most from your digital camera workshop is for you. This 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. No previous camera or photography experience is necessary, just a desire to learn. 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. Cost is $55.
March 16 | 6 – 10:30 p.m.
Batfish Bash for the Bay
Celebrate the taste and feel of Old Florida and life along the Gulf coast at this year’s re-imagined Bash for the Bay. Expect an evening of Southern charm reminiscent of Collier County 100 years ago. Guests will enjoy cocktails, sunset on the bridge over Henderson Creek, dinner and dancing with live music from Three Crooked Steps, a raffle and live auction, and other surprises at Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s colorful Environmental Learning Center. Proceeds will help support education, research and stewardship at Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Registrations can be made at rookerybay.org/bash or by calling 239.530.5971. Cost is $250.
March 20 | 12 – 1 p.m.
Lunch & Learn:
Lighthouses of the Sunshine State: Sentinels of History along Florida’s Coast
Hear from expert speakers and enjoy a meal during the Lunch & Learn Lecture Series sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and the Friends of Rookery Bay. Join Maritime Historian Brendan Burke to journey through time and across Florida’s coasts in search of stories from our unique lighthouses. From the Dry Tortugas to the First Coast, light stations are not only beacons for navigation but stand as silent witnesses to the history of the Sunshine State. Cost is $15 (includes lunch)
March 22 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
World Water Day
In celebration of World Water Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.” Cannot be combined with other offers.
March 31 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Science Saturdays provide an opportunity for families to spend the day at the Environmental Learning Center enjoying programs, labs and activities centered around a different science theme, on the last Saturday of every month. This month’s theme is Critter Photography. Scheduled activities include Estuary Encounter, Activity Lab, Show & Tell, and Nature on the Silver Screen. Cost is $5 for adults. $3 for children 6 – 12, under 6 is free.