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CONTACT: Renee Wilson, 239-530-5958,


Rookery Bay

Educational activities, like this touch tank, keep kids learning through the summer months.

NAPLES With school out for most Florida students, many parents are seeking entertaining but productive ways for their children to spend summer break. The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting numerous science-based activities and events for students.

"During the summer it is important to keep children educationally entertained and active," said Kevin Claridge, director of DEP's Florida Coastal Office. "Rookery Bay's Environmental Learning Center provides educational, fun and affordable opportunities for students to help bridge the learning gap while they're out of the classroom."

Events include engaging educational lectures, a watercolor exhibit and free admission for several events. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection encourages students and parents to join us for these fun-filled educational events. The following activities and events will be held at the Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

Watercolor Exhibit

May 29 – September 29

A watercolor exhibit featuring “Wonders of the Beach and Bay” by artist Linda Soderquist will be on display throughout summer and early fall.

Kids Free Fridays

June 6 – August 1 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

The aquariums, interactive exhibits, walking trails and art gallery will be open. A food vendor will be on-site to sell lunch. The theme varies weekly.

  • June 6: Water
  • June 13: Oysters
  • June 20: Mangroves
  • June 27: Birds
  • July 11: Water
  • July 18: Oysters
  • July 25: Mangroves
  • August 1: Birds

*Children free when accompanied by a paying adult.

World Oceans Day

Monday, June 9

World Oceans Day is recognized internally in an effort to encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and future generations. In celebration of World Oceans Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers buy one, get one free admission.

Coral Reef Awareness

Tuesday, July 15

Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts. During Coral Reef Awareness Week, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers buy one, get one free admission.

Smokey the Bear's Birthday

Friday, August 8

Smokey the Bear reminds us of the danger of forest fires and how we can do our part to prevent them. Take the day to learn about Rookery Bay’s prescribed fire program and how this program helps prevent uncontrolled forest fires. In celebration of Smokey Bear’s birthday, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers buy one, get one free admission.

For more information about Rookery Bay click HERE.

Admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 (unless otherwise noted).