Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. Rookery Bay's Environmental Learning Center is a state-of-the-art, air conditioned 16,500 square-foot facility with four research laboratories, classrooms, a 140-seat auditorium, and two story visitor center. The Environmental Learning Center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including a 2,300-gallon aquarium and a marine life touch tank. Other displays in the learning center address coastal research, local history and ongoing conservation efforts within Rookery Bay. There is also a number of nature trails, a scenic overlook bridge, unique gift store, art gallery, and picnic area. Guided boat and kayak tours are offered seasonally from November to May. Check our website for more information.
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Tours & experiences
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  • Mary Ann
    Spirit Lake, Iowa2 contributions
    Don;t miss this!
    This was my very best experience during a great stay in the Florida Everglades region. This beautiful teaching facility is manned by an army of the most knowledgeable volunteers I have ever encountered. Each volunteer was able to impart their information in an entertaining and arresting way. Every one was a star! Be sure you allow plenty of time to hike the beautiful trails around the facility.
    Visited December 2022
    Written December 23, 2022
  • Minnesota42
    Osseo, Minnesota228 contributions
    Nicely done!
    We were looking for something to do and this caught our attention. The fees are so reasonable. The visitor’s center is so well done! We walked the trail over the river and although we didn’t see much for wildlife, it was interesting to see the evidence of the controlled burns that have been done. The staff is absolutely wonderful and happy to share information with you. This would be an awesome outing for families.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 9, 2023
  • Sandy W
    Boyertown, Pennsylvania14 contributions
    Education can be fun
    We took the eco cruise with Winston, a very knowledgeable biologist, and saw osprey and bald eagles nesting, many other water fowl and Mom and dolphin calves rolling and playing. We learned a great deal about the estuary and all the sights while having a great time on the boat ride. Since it was Sunday, we returned another day to see the information center and take a guided tour on a half-mile walk with Paul, a very knowledgeable volunteer. Inside the information center, there was another very knowledgeable volunteer, talking about various local shell fish, letting the children touch them. The entire experience was great and all ages will find something of interest.
    Visited February 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written February 23, 2023
  • 195508Anonymous
    248 contributions
    Short but Sweet!
    We visited the National Estuarine Reserve on a cool day in March. There is a short and very nice trail outside the education center. It has some nice lookouts and it is an easy walk. We checked out the movie which runs on a loop and explains how the Reserve came to be and the essential work its scientists, staff and volunteers do. There are some exhibits and a small aquarium which are interesting but can be quickly viewed. The gift shop has some nice items and all proceeds from the shop and the admission go towards the advancement of the Reserve's mission. Although we enjoyed the visit, I feel there could be more done with exhibits since the trail itself is so short. We may take one of the Boat Tours which go into the Reserve and see first hand what good work this organization is doing.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 20, 2023
  • prpljl
    7 contributions
    SWFL treasure spot!
    My first time experience was an enjoyable lunch presentation about drone mapping of the 110,000 acre estuary and the geographical changes of southwest Florida since 1940. The minimal fee included entry to the educational learning center (touch tanks great for children 3+), butterfly garden (blue italia native to SWFL only - pic attanched), and snail walk. The speaker and volunteers were informative and passionate about their mission in caring for this protected area. There are kayak and eco tours which allow you to immerse yourselves in nature even more.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written March 31, 2023
  • Sara C
    Naples, Florida3 contributions
    Beautiful and Educational
    My trip to Rookery Bay was an amazing educational experience, as well as a very fun way to enjoy the scenery and wildlife of Naples. I was blown away by how interactive and well put together the education center was. I learned so much about the history of Rookery Bay in Collier County, as well as a lot of new facts about the ecosystem and wildlife found around. They had a touch tank that had many species! They have indoor attractions for when it may be too hot to explore outdoors, but the outdoor walkway was shaded by beautiful mangroves and quiet cool. The staff/volunteers were so friendly and informative. I highly recommend checking out Rookery Bay. It had lots to learn and do for both children and adults!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 6, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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TheCovertCritic
Apex, North Carolina424 contributions
Jan 2020
There are several videos, a touch tank, and paths to wander. But who is kidding who? I think that there is a purpose in information, but really despite all the talk about conserving Florida's big cats and the manatees and every other vanishing species in its once pristine ecosystem, the number of building starts far and away establishes what is really important in Florida. Efforts now to increase public awareness is too little too late. But, if you are really naiive and want to feel good about positive effects that have come of a few folk's efforts to save the state visit Rookery Bay to watch the videos and look at the displays. Then drive out of the parking lot and get back on the 8 lane highway edged on both sides with a non ending sprawl of shopping plazas and condos and get real.
Written January 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BeeCatz
Huntsville, AL21 contributions
Dec 2021
We spent a cooler windy hour at the center. When we first walked in, the greeter gave us a detailed overview and directed us to the theater for a movie about the conservation efforts- we came in halfway and watched the remainder of it and it set the tone. The display area is very small but the docent at the tank spent about 15 minutes with us telling us about and letting us touch 8 or 10 different specimens— so interesting! After we looked around the interactive area, we took a walk across the river and a short 1/2 mile trail. If the weather had been bette, we would have walked more.

Interesting place to visit. The docents really made it special. Go in realizing it’s small and that you have to take the time to interact with the volunteers to really make it worth your time. Fair price for the size of the attraction.
Written December 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lr03
11 contributions
Feb 2021
45 min live zoom call with Rookery Bay Team
You can put questions into the chat/q/A to be answered but team can't see or hear you.
Enjoyed by our whole family. Audio and Video were great--was impressed by how much detail we could see on the fish and whelk. Enthusiasm of the team brought energy to the presentation.
Got to see fish/shells/invertebrates very close up and learn a bit about them, the estuary and some of the data and equipment they use to learn more about the environment in the reserve.
Written February 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary Ann
Spirit Lake, IA2 contributions
Dec 2022
This was my very best experience during a great stay in the Florida Everglades region. This beautiful teaching facility is manned by an army of the most knowledgeable volunteers I have ever encountered. Each volunteer was able to impart their information in an entertaining and arresting way. Every one was a star! Be sure you allow plenty of time to hike the beautiful trails around the facility.
Written December 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

prpljl
7 contributions
Mar 2023 • Friends
My first time experience was an enjoyable lunch presentation about drone mapping of the 110,000 acre estuary and the geographical changes of southwest Florida since 1940. The minimal fee included entry to the educational learning center (touch tanks great for children 3+), butterfly garden (blue italia native to SWFL only - pic attanched), and snail walk. The speaker and volunteers were informative and passionate about their mission in caring for this protected area. There are kayak and eco tours which allow you to immerse yourselves in nature even more.
Written March 31, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dini O
Cleveland, OH211 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We had a great walking tour there today with Art, the naturalist. He was very informative about the plants that can be seen along the trail. His talk made the $5.00 admission fee worth it and then some. If you get the chance, make sure you take a guided tour while you’re there.
Written January 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandy W
Boyertown, PA14 contributions
Feb 2023 • Friends
We took the eco cruise with Winston, a very knowledgeable biologist, and saw osprey and bald eagles nesting, many other water fowl and Mom and dolphin calves rolling and playing. We learned a great deal about the estuary and all the sights while having a great time on the boat ride. Since it was Sunday, we returned another day to see the information center and take a guided tour on a half-mile walk with Paul, a very knowledgeable volunteer. Inside the information center, there was another very knowledgeable volunteer, talking about various local shell fish, letting the children touch them. The entire experience was great and all ages will find something of interest.
Written February 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

littleone1118
Fort Lauderdale, FL314 contributions
Jan 2020
We enjoyed the Environmental Learning Center at Rookery Bay. We were warmly greeted as soon as we walked in the door & the layout of the building was explained to us. The admission was $5, and worth the price. There's a quick 10min looping video in the auditorium which makes for a good starting point. Lots of information in the displays on 2 floors, including a small touch tank. There are a few walking paths, each 1/2mile, though for us it was too hot to enjoy. A guide was available for the walking tours.

We've lived in FL for many years, so much of what we saw there we had seen at other places. However, we still found it enjoyable. Highly recommended for anyone visiting or new to the area.
Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bron1303
Burnley, UK423 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
What a great place !!! We took our four year old grandson to say we were all enthralled is an understatement. The exhibits were brilliant especially the touch tanks !!! The walkway was something else. The staff so polite, patient and friendly, we learnt so much. My grandson really enjoyed his time.
Written June 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert F
3 contributions
Mar 2020
Took the beachwalk tour. Very relaxing and informative. Got to spend time enough on the beach collecting shells The boat trip to and from the beach was very informative and got to see the inner waterways, birds, some animals and a dolphin playing with his food, tossing a fish about and into the air. Going back for the boat tour on Wed.
.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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