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Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center


Seaworld Orlando - details / Tabs



The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forests, uplands and protected waters on the western edge of the Everglades. Where rivers and streams meet the sea, a unique habitat is formed. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals, thrive in the estuarine environment and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found within the Reserve. The reserve operates an Environmental Learning Center for the public that features aquariums, interactive exhibits, children's exhibits, marine touch tank, live animals, nature trails with observation platforms over Henderson Creek, guided kayak trips, art gallery, lunch and evening lecture series, gift shop, picnic areas, special events and more. Learn more at and

  • Activities:
  • Birding, Boating, Canoeing
  • Amenities:
  • Baby-changing station, Bus Parking, Concessions
  • Average Visit Time:
  • 2 - 3 hours,


High Points boat tour

March 20, 2015
Come along on this small boat cruise through back bays and winding creeks to visit one of the most unique areas of Rookery Bay Reserve. After disembarking, take a short hike to one of the highest points in Collier County, an ancient sand dune relic from the Pleistocene Era. Your naturalist guide will help you see and appreciate the geologic history of Sand Hill as you enjoy the remarkable view. You will also learn about the specially adapted live oaks and drought tolerant shrubs and wildflowers that survive in this coastal scrub ecosystem. Access to this sensitive area is restricted to protect it from damage, so this tour allows guests the op ...Read More>> ortunity to experience a place very few visitors ever get to see. This tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and participants must have the physical ability to get into and out of a boat tied up to the shore. Closed-toe shoes are recommended. Advanced registration is required at Read Less


Essence of the Estuary boat tour

April 09, 2015
Have you ever visited a place with the hope you might come away with a profound understanding of its essence rather than just a snapshot? This 2.5 hour small boat tour is designed to “get you there”. You will wander through the bays and backwaters of Rookery Bay Reserve, learning about the plants and animals that live here, but more importantly, how and why they fit into the complex tapestry of this special place we call an estuary. Curiosity is rewarded with discovery and discoveries offer insight and understanding. You will explore the effects of time and how human history and natural history have intersected. From mud crabs to manatees, an ...Read More>> from mound builders to mullet millionaires, this tour is designed to give you the experience of perspective. Your guide adapts the tour to changes in weather, tides, and participants’ interests so no two tours are ever the same. Participants will be on the boat the entire time and must have the physical ability to step on and off of the boat at our dock. Advanced registration is required at Read Less


Treasure Island boat tour

April 16, 2015
The treasure on this interesting island isn't gold, silver or pirates' booty. It is the amazing ecological treasure of a rare tropical hardwood hammock. Although public access to this area is restricted to protect it from damage, as our guest you will travel by boat to the island, disembark, and hike about ½ mile on a primitive trail in a shaded forest dripping with ferns and bromeliads. Your naturalist guide will introduce you to the wide variety plants that make this community of life unique and will share interesting stories of how human history and coastal ecology have intertwined. There is also the opportunity to see how some p ...Read More>> ople currently manage to live on these islands completely off the grid, without any access to public utilities. This tour lasts approximately 3 hours and requires the physical ability to step down onto, and up from, the boat at a dock and to walk ½ mile on uneven terrain. Closed-toed shoes are required. Advanced registration is required at Read Less


Sunset to Starlight Cruise

April 30, 2015 - May 01, 2015
This naturalist-led small boat adventure takes place in the evening and is often (but not always) around the time of the full moon. Guests will visit a remote section of Keewaydin Island, renowned for its shell-strewn beaches and pastel sunsets. Stroll along and enjoy beachcombing until the magical moment when the sun sinks into the Gulf. As darkness gradually enfolds you, begin the leisurely return cruise through the back bays of the reserve, becoming immersed in the sights, sounds and sensations of night in a mangrove-forested estuary. If the tide permits, you will ease by the rookery island where hundreds of herons, egrets and ibis gather ...Read More>> or the night. This tour lasts approximately 3 hours, and participants must have the physical ability to step down onto, and up from, the boat at a dock. Advanced registration is required at Read Less

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