There are many activities and events happening at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve that may seem off the beaten path, but still offer an opportunity for a unique nature experience in Naples.
If you are someone who isn’t really into environmental science or may not desire an adventure paddling through the Everglades, Rookery Bay Research Reserve might be the right place to discover something that speaks to you and brings out your inner nature lover.
Play Online “I-Spy” at Rookery Bay for Animals, Birds and Plants
Bring the kids and grab your phone to get engaged and enjoy nature with Rookery Bay’s latest project to connect the community with the outdoors. The iNaturalist web page for Rookery Bay enables visitors to discover all the cool animals, birds and plants that call the Reserve home. With a quick download of the app, visitors to the Environmental Learning Center, Briggs Boardwalk or any other part of the Reserve can play along by snapping photos of what they see and becoming part of a citizens’ science project that actually helps Rookery Bay scientists learn more about the plants and wildlife of the Reserve. It’s fun for all ages and a social way to learn about the nature around you. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/rookery-bay-research-reserve-elc-campus
Visit Rookery Bay’s Sunday Farmers Market
Healthy eaters and those looking for that unique item will find Rookery Bay’s Sunday Farmers Market the best place to spend a Sunday morning. Open 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Environmental Learning Center’s tree-lined parking lot at300 Tower Rd, Naples, FL 34113. Enjoy live music, fresh produce and herbs, skincare, fresh seafood, hot food, baked goods, smoothies, gourmet meats and more!
See a Rookery Bay Coastal Art Exhibit
Did you know Rookery Bay is home to an art gallery hosting up and coming local artists from all over Southwest Florida? For more than 15 years, Rookery Bay has partnered with the United Arts Council of Collier County to host juried photography, paint and mixed-art exhibits for local artists focused on flora and fauna. From February 1 – April 27, 2023, visitors can see the 2023 Natural Selections Photography Annual Exhibit in the Rookery Bay gallery.
Discover Your Inner Monet
Paint the beauty of the coast and the wildlife of the area with a watercolor painting class. Each two and half-hour 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 complete a painted piece at each session. https://rookerybay.org/events/
Enjoy a Scenic View and Some Shopping
Rookery Bay’s Overlook Bridge begins at the floor to ceiling windows of the second floor of the Environmental Learning Center and crosses the water to three loops of walking trails. The bridge offers some of the best views of wildlife (and human life) in the area. Guests often spot manatees in the mangrove-lined river as well as a variety of fish, kayakers, boaters and an abundance of local birds. After a bridge walk, shop in the nature store for clothes, jewelry, stuffed animals, toys, cards aswell as coastal artwork, books and paintings. There is something for every budget!