The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel treats visitors to an abundance of wildlife, attractions and memories. From restored turn-of-the-century villages to wildlife refuges, these popular museums are perfect family-friendly excursions.
If you’re looking to pack your weekend with Southwest Florida’s best beachside museums, use this itinerary as your ultimate guide!
It’s the only museum in the country devoted solely to shells and the mollusks that make them. And with unique perks, like on-staff malacologists and art work crafted entirely from shells, this attraction will undoubtedly show you a thing or two you never knew existed.
Transport yourself to another era in a village made up of authentic historic buildings, all restored to their original glory. The site was founded in 1984, with the mission to preserve and share Sanibel history. You can discover something new at this old Florida restoration site that offers yearly special events.
Drawing those with avian interests from around the world, this preserve is home to a wide variety of native birds. Although not technically a “museum”, this refuge is full of educational experiences. It is dedicated to protecting and maintaining Florida’s natural landscape and its wildlife.
Start your day hiking the winding trails underneath the tall oaks and across grassy marshlands. Then, cool off on the water as you canoe or paddleboard across peaceful waterways. At the end of the afternoon, escape the sun for a bit by checking out the interactive exhibits at the visitor’s center.
The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W.) teaches how injured, sick, and orphaned animals are admitted, diagnosed, treated and released back into the wild. Here, you can take a self-guided tour that follows a patient’s journey from admission to being released back into the wild.
Accessible only by boat, this small, secluded island is home to a unique history. While sailing to the shore during a Captiva Cruise, sit back for a narrated tour or grab a bite to eat onboard.
The museum itself details the history of local Native Americans as well as modern events. And while there are 15 permanent exhibits showcasing the area through the ages, you’ll also find temporary exhibits that change frequently. Past displays revealed intriguing local tales, like a photography spotlight on the little-known “Florida Cowboy,” or how Florida became the first state to have cattle ranching.
As Estero Island’s oldest standing structure, the Mound House was recently reconstructed to its original 1920s condition. And it’s all set on top of a 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound, a spiritual place high in organic compounds and rich with tools and artifacts.
Nestled against Estero Bay, the museum offers guided kayak eco-tours and beach walks, too. So once you’ve seen the inside, head outside to experience nature and history firsthand.
Enjoy a 3,200-square-foot space devoted to our railways’ past. And if you’re really looking to get involved, then climb aboard the Lakes Park & Gulf Railroad. This train travels past towns, lakes and woods, and even ventures over bridges and through tunnels. After all, what better way to head straight into history than full-speed ahead?
With so many history-packed places to explore, you may have to make more than one trip to truly soak it all in. Start planning your museum-loaded tour of The Beaches of Fort Myers &Sanibel today.
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