The 105-acre Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers in a non-profit, educational facility that includes both indoor and outdoor areas. Voted the Best Nature Center in Florida in 2004 by Florida Monthly magazine, this museum strives to teach visitors about the natural history of Southwest Florida through interpretive displays and daily educational programs, many of which address concerns about current issues affecting the area.
The small museum section of the nature center includes displays that focus on the region, both past and present. Several programs are offered at the museum each day and give guests the opportunity to visit with some of the center's resident creatures including small mammals such as raccoons and skunks, beautiful white tail deer, and a vast selection of amphibians and arthropods.
The Calusa Nature Center also boasts a Butterfly Aviary, a 1,000 square foot, screened facility that houses more than 30 species of the winged creatures, all varieties that can be found throughout the state of Florida. A trip through the aviary also provides the opportunity to view the museum's native plant nursery, which includes huge varieties of indigenous Florida plants that nourish the butterflies with nectar. All the plants inside the nursery, big and small, are also for sale to visitors.
The Calusa Nature Center's planetarium is small but state of the art and is quite busy all the time, offering at least two shows per day including a "Skies over Southwest Florida'' presentation and a number of other different shows from which visitors can choose. Special group presentations for school children are available and offer age-appropriate subject matter that elementary students can understand.
The center also hosts a number of other special programs for all ages each and every day. including manatee encounters, guided walks, touch tank shows, telescope viewing, bird watching, and many others. There's also an annual Spring Fling as well as other holiday-related fare including Couples Hikes for Valentine's Day and Christmas festivities. Birthday parties for children ages 3 years and older can also be held at the nature center and include admission to the museum and trails as well as a specially selected half-hour nature program.
This Fort Myers nature center also hosts an Adopt an Animal program which allows individuals to sponsor one of the center's many animals. Adoption funds are applied to the care of the adopted animal including feeding, medical care, and other necessities, insuring that the animal will be able to remain at the nature center.
A one-price admission to the Colusa Nature Center and Aquarium in Fort Myersincludes the museum, trails, and all planetarium shows that are scheduled for that particular day. Group rates are available for 15 people or more.
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