National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida.
An amazing world exists within the pristine mangrove-fringed waterways, uplands and freshwater wetlands that can be found only a few miles away from downtown Naples. This estuarine environment, where rivers meet the sea, provides an ideal setting for visitors to enjoy a variety of outdoor learning experiences and outstanding recreational activities, including boating, kayaking, birdwatching and more. A good way to start exploring the 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters enclosed within the Reserve is a through a visit to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, a 16,500 square-foot facility with research laboratories, classrooms and 140-seat auditorium two-story visitors center. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including 2,300-gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits that shine a spotlight on the native plants and animals in the region as well as research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the Reserve. Also at the center is a nature store, art gallery, picnic area, butterfly garden, and an observation bridge which leads visitors across Henderson Creek to the Snail Trail and creekside viewing platform.
The reserve is five miles south of Naples, Fla.