We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Extremely helpful staff!”

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Marco Island Kayak Eco Tour
Ranked #16 of 124 things to do in Naples
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. The Environmental Learning Center is a 16,500 square-foot facility with four research laboratories, classrooms and 140-seat auditorium, and two story visitor center. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including 2,300-gallon aquarium and NEW Estuary Encounter interactive marine life exhibit and other displays addressing research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the Reserve, as well as a nature store, gallery and picnic area. Guided boat and kayak tours offered seasonally provide educational experiences while enjoying this special place. Check our website to see information about our tours.
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
91 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Extremely helpful staff!”
Reviewed April 14, 2014

We're vacationing in Marco Island for the month and wanted to explore some nature. For only $5.00/adult, we got admission to the educational center, free parking, and much, much more. The resident naturalist took us on a guided nature walk and we learned about mangoves, live oaks, invasive plants, feral pigs, snakes, palms, air plants, etc. The walk was flat on a small gravel walkway so it was an easy trek. When we returned to the center, we mentioned to the staff that we were interested in some history of Marco Island. We were told, "No problem; come with me". They escorted us to a classroom, set up a 30 minute video, and we enjoyed a narrative with "old time" photos and the history of the island. We never expected this personalized service. My only advice is to be sure to bring a long-sleeved shirt for the nature walk because the mosquitoes can be a pest on a humid day in April.

Visited April 2014
Thank BarbaraG332
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

267 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New Jersey
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“excellent nature session and learning for all”
Reviewed March 31, 2014

I highly recommend this as a stop over for those that enjoy nature. There is plenty of free parking and the interior of the building is loaded with exhibits and friendly staff. We got to sit in a classroom-like room with a naturalist, Patrick Higgins, who discussed all about shells. Patrick is an excellent speaker - clear, concise, well organized and answers everyone's questions. The room was packed but Patrick was able to keep everyone's attention from young to old - a difficult thing to do with a lecture type of setting. I enjoyed his session very much. I wish we were able to visit the Rookery Bay during the beginning of our vacation so we could see the full schedule of events to plan around it. They also have an outdoor trail for anyone to freely walk around and a couple of paid tours / sessions like kayaking, boat ride, etc. Go here early as they close around 4 / 5 pm. Entry is $5 per person to explore the building and walk the grounds and free learning sessions.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank LoneRogue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Level Contributor
54 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Really cool place for kids and adults alike”
Reviewed March 31, 2014

I just happened to find this place when I missed my turn to head to Miami via Rt 41. It is a great spot to bird watch, learn about the local animal and plant life, and take a break to get out of the car and stretch your legs. I paid $5 to get in and had access to a science museum display room, culture museum display room, snake lecture, bird lecture, conservation video, three walking trails, two observation bridges (both birds and manatees), picnic area, and gift shop. The science museum part had a touch tank for children and a scientist there to explain all the details on estuary sand creatures. Lovely lovely place to visit. Would recommend for everyone.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank Amanda D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newton(Boston), MA
Level Contributor
155 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Rating for Boat Tours”
Reviewed March 19, 2014

Haven't yet been to the nature center, but have taken 4 boat tours with Randy. The boats hold 6 people plus Randy and explore different aspects of Rookery Bay. Randy is extremely knowledgable about all aspects (plants, birds, shells, topogrphy, history, etc.) of the Bay. There are 5 tours (not including kayak) and we have been on 4 of them and have booked the 5th. Though they were all extremely interesting, they do cover different areas and information so important to read descriptions carefully. The most unusual one is Starlight which takes you to a remote section of Keewaydin Island to look for shells and watch the sunset and then, as you return, the full moon rises right in front of you and guides you home. Though you can see a Naples sunset on any beach, this is a unique experience. Book early. Since the boat is small, he tends to fill up quickly especially in high season. You get free admission to the nature center with your boat fee, but we've never had time to do it.

Visited February 2014
2 Thank sun&sea lover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A walk in the Mangroves”
Reviewed February 25, 2014

My wife and I got our pass, five dollars each, to walk amongst the mangroves at Rookery Bay. it was a perfect afternoon for a walk in the mangroves. We packed a lunch and some water and walked until we were tired and then sat along the banks of the mangroves to have a rest and a snack. We had a beautiful day watching the birds go by and the fish jump at our rest stop. It was a good way to be out in nature and to enjoy the outdoors. The scenery was like an art display on canvas. Reading the literature and being out there one comes to appreciate the little things that are so important for the ecosystem and for the enjoyment and serenity in ones life.

Visited February 2014
2 Thank Jerry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve also viewed

Naples, Southwest Gulf Coast
Naples, Southwest Gulf Coast
Naples, Southwest Gulf Coast
Naples, Southwest Gulf Coast

Been to Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing