Our Favorites: 10 Fun Family Activities

  1. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens – Amid exotic animals in an historic tropical garden, your family will experience what it’s like to be a true adventurer. A full day ticket to include to view the animals includes a ride on the primate expedition cruise!
  1. Naples Botanical Garden – A specially designed children’s garden within the lush botanical garden setting offers programs, events and activities to delight the senses. The Wild Florida Loop Trail takes you on a journey through a cypress swamp, hardwood hammock and shell mound.
  1. Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’Mon) – Kids love to learn by doing what they do best – play! At this museum, hands-on galleries allow children to go to new places – the Everglades or an igloo- and try new experiences.
  1. Collier County Museum – Travel back in time to witness prehistoric mastodons and colossal sharks, and meet some of the native Americans, cattlemen, clam diggers and railroaders who make up Collier County’s rich history. There are five shaded acres of treasures to unlock, from native gardens and an archaeology lab, to a Seminole village and Calusa Indian camp.
  1. Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center – This nature center truly offers something great for everyone, from the smallest visitors to parents who thought they’d seen it all. Highlights include the nursery viewing window and the wildlife hospital that allows kids to put on a white lab coat, scrub in and wind their way through the interactive exhibits.
  1. Sun-N-Fun Lagoon – Take a dip in one of the waterpark’s four crystal blue pools, float along the lazy river, hit the splash playground or interactive water features and enjoy a thrilling ride on the five exciting water slides. A full day of entertainment can be had with amenities like a snack shack to grab a bite, showers and lockers.
  1. The Dolphin Explorer – Join the Ten Thousand Islands research team on a sightseeing and shelling eco-cruise aboard q 30-foot catamaran. You get to team up with a scientist guide and participate in an active marine research project to track and catalog bottlenose dolphins.
  1. Pure Naples – Whether you and the gang are ready for a high-speed day on the water or a leisurely sightseeing cruise, the folks at Pure Naples will get you geared up and ready to go. From cruising and fishing to jet skis and jet boats, the rental options run the rampant, and are conveniently located at historic Tin City.
  1. Wooten’s Everglades Airboat and Swamp Buggy Tours – Get the full Everglades experience with a grassland airboat tour, a swamp buggy tour, a live alligator show or a visit to the otters, panthers and snakes housed at the animal sanctuary and alligator park.
  1. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum – In the Seminole language, Ah-Tah-Thi-ki means “a place to learn, a place to remember.” Nestled in the heart of the Everglades on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Naples, the museum houses over 30,000 artifacts and archival items and experiences, as well as a variety of crafts and games to engage visitors of all ages.
Posted in Marco Escapes News

Marco Island Sparkles with Options for the Fourth

 

 

Marco Island and Naples will be alive with patriotism as various locations celebrate with fireworks, festivals parades and events.  On the island, the Fourth of July takes the shape of an all-day beach party with activities throughout the afternoon leading up to the big finish…. the fireworks display out on the Gulf of Mexico off Residents’ Beach.

The Marco Island Civic Association hosts the affair, burning up over $45,000 worth of pyrotechnics in under half an hour! The rockets’ red glare make up for a spectacular show with the fireworks reflected in the water and the boom sounding off the beachfront condos and luxury hotels.

Many islanders as well as valued vacationers will show up to the beach, bringing caravans of luggage including coolers, chairs, beach towels and umbrellas.  Some stay all afternoon, splashing in the water to stay cool, while others stake out their spot, go home to the air conditioning, and come back for the aerial display as the sky darkens and the sunset fades.

The city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department supervises games and contests for those who hang out on the beach.  Contestants can compete in tug of war, sack races, three legged races, hot dog eating and sand castle building contests!  Tiny tikes are not forgotten with a hula-hoop and limbo contest as well as an arts and crafts tent.

 

Other Local Interests…..

Naples 4th of July Parade

Time : 10:00 am

Location: 5th Avenue, Naples Florida

Admission: Free

Everglades City Party on Fourth

Time: 10:00 am

Location: Everglades City Hall

Features: Floats, Food, Bake Sale, Face Painting, Arts and Crafts, Vendors, Raffles, Playground Games

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

What’s Old Is Not Forgotten

Long famous for its Key Marco Cat- one of the most remarkable and influential discoveries in North American archaeology- the new Marco Island Historical Museum explores Southwest Florida’s Calusa Indians and brings this vanished civilization to life with informative displays and an exciting recreated village scene. Temporary and traveling exhibits trace the settlement of this subtropical island paradise from its early pioneer roots as a fishing village, pineapple plantation and clam cannery, through its explosive growth and development in the 1960s by the Miami-based Deltona Corporation.

Outside, the grounds of the Museum complex are beautifully landscaped with ponds, waterfalls and native, tropical plantings.  These peaceful surroundings set off this gem, and include an inviting gazebo where one can take a few moments to enjoy it’s ambiance , including a large replica of the “Key Marco Cat”.  After you serene downtime, head to the museum gift store where you can purchase local artwork, jewelry, clothing and historical books.

Current Exhibits:

“What’s Old Is Not Forgotten” – June 6 – August 26

This is exhibit is comprised of images captured within Collier County by local photographers.  Images include selections of buildings, people lifestyles and culture and well as wildlife and ecosystems.

“Transportation in the Digital Age” – May 3 – July 31

Features several works depicting transportation from around the world, including lively and colorful renditions of trains, automobiles, plane and other modes of transportation.

Want to find out a little more about the grand history of this amazing hidden island gem?  Click below:

Modern Marco https://themihs.info/modern-marco/

Pioneer Days    https://themihs.info/pioneer-days

Calusa Period   https://themihs.info/calusa-period/ 

 

MARCO ISLAND HISTORICAL MUSEUM

180 S HEATHWOOD

MARCO ISLAND, FL 34145

239-642-1440

TUE-SAT  9AM-4PM

ADMISSION: FREE

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Everglades: A Natural Estuary

The Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands are a rare and beautiful place.  It is one of North America’s unsung wild places – a beautiful, rugged, subtropical landscape that is experienced by a relatively few adventurous souls each year.

Traveling in Southwest Florida isn’t complete without stopping in the Everglades.  Whether you want to step into a haven amongst the mangroves, immerse yourself in the sense of wonder that surrounds you or sink deep into the slow, languid pace of life in a swamp!

We have listed our favorite activities, restaurants and tips for your Romp in the Swamp:

Museum of the Everglades

105 Broadway Ave w

Everglades, FL 34139

239-695-0008

A showcase for the history of the Everglades region, the museum presents the story of 2,000 years of human habitation with artifacts and period photographs.


Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Immokalee, FL 34142

239-657-8001

Two hiking trails are open to the public.  They provide the refuge visitor a chance to experience the various habitats found on the refuge

Wooten’s Air Boat Rides 

**RECOMMENDED BY THE TEAM**

32330 Tamiami Trail E

Ochopee, FL 34141

239-695-2781

Glide across 259 acres of the Everglades!  Watch, pet and hold alligators!  Soak up the natural beauty of a cypress forest on a Swamp Buggy Tour!  See panthers, tigers, otters, snakes and much more….

 

Fun Restaurants (try the gator..it’s delicious!)

Camelia Street Grill – 201 Camelia Street

City Seafood – 609 Begonia Street

Everglades Scoop – 203 Copeland Avenue

Grimm’s Stone Crab – 919 Dupont Street

Leebo’s Rock Bottom Bar – 801 S Copeland Ave

Oyster House – 901 Copeland Ave

Triad Seafood – 401 School Drive W

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Taste of Marco : Local Samplings

Marco has taste, Marco eateries have tasty treats, and if your taste in entertainment runs to sampling a smorgasbord of specialties, the Taste of Marco is for you.

The island’s signature food-tasting event returns to the Esplanade on Sunday, April 23.  The Taste of Marco, benefitting the YMCA, will bring more than 20 restaurants and food purveyors with thousands of eaters from 11am -5pm.

This food spectacle gives restaurants the chance to reach new customers, who may never have been exposed to their dishes, and lets the public try some of their signature styles, all for a $5 admission and a few dollars in food tickets.

The event is generally thronged, and could be considered the last hurrah of the season on Marco Island.  Restaurants put their best food forward, tempting tasters with unusual offerings, or bringing back tried and true favorites.

 

What: Taste of Marco

Where: Esplanade

When: April 23

Time: 11 AM – 5 PM

Cost: $5 Adults/Children Under 12 Free

Tips from the Team:  There is free parking available, but for a $5 suggested donation, patrons can park at Veterans’ Community Park, and arrive in the shuttle, with parking proceeds going to support the Lely High School football team.  For those arriving by boat, slip rental is available by calling the dockmaster at 239-394-6333.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Sunrise Service: An Easter Tradition

A beautiful and tranquil service backdropped with the calmness of the ocean and paired with the salty warm air of the gulf…

The 29th Annual Easter Sunrise Service on the beach will be held Sunday, April 16th at 7 am on the beach at the JW Marriott Beach Resort, 400 S. Collier Blvd. Marco Island, FL 34145.

Beginning 29 years ago with 240 people, the event is now the largest one-hour event on the island with the last year’s attendance estimated to be 10,000.

Beach access is north of the Marriott Spa and the public access path north of Madeira.  The Marco Police and volunteers will direct traffic and assist with parking, including double parking along Collier Boulevard.  Additionally, the Resident’s Beach parking lot will at open at 6 a.m. for member parking.  Dress is casual, bring your own blanket or chair.   Musical prelude begins at 6:45 a.m.

For information call Marco Presbyterian Church at 239-394-8186.

 

Fun Easter Brunch Options:

La Tavola Restaurant and Bar 10am-2pm

Adults -$29pp

Children – $12pp

 

Bistro Soleil  10am-2pm

Adults – $49.95pp

Children – $30

 

Maia in the Marriott  12pm-3pm

Adults – $45

Children – $20

 

Mangoe’s Dockside Bistro

Adults – $28.95

Children – $12.95

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Luck of the Irish

Break out your green to avoid getting pinched on this lucky day filled with Irish beer and lots of corn beef and cabbage!  Who knows maybe there will be a pot of gold at the end of the festivities!!!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

When: March 5, 2017

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: Veteran’s Park

Cost: Free

Tips from the Team: Arrive early and bring chairs!

Party in the Plaza

When: March 17, 2017

12:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Where:  Marco Walk Plaza

Enjoy live music and festivities in the plaza!

 

Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day – Impress Your Friends!!!!

  1. Patrick is one of the most famous patron saints of Ireland. Acccording to the legend, he brought Christianity to the island, made the shamrock fashionable and freed Ireland from snakes.  This holiday marks St. Patrick’s death and has been observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for over 1500 years.
  2. Ireland only officially started celebrating the day in 1903. Since the Emerald Isle is mainly Catholic and St. Patrick’s day usually falls on Lent, it used to be a quiet and religious holiday – until the 1960s when a law allowed pubs to open…hence St. Paddy’s Day.
  3. Patrick is not actually an Irishman named Patrick : Born Maewyn Succat, the Irish patron saint was actually British. According to legend, he was sold into slavery in Ireland when he was a teenager, became religious, escaped back to England, became and ordained priest named Patrick and started converting all of the Irish Celtic pagans to Christianity.
  4. According to legend, St. Patrick freed Ireland from snakes. According to biologists, there were never any actual snakes in Ireland.  The diplomatic explanation is that the snakes are a metaphor for paganism that was forced out by St. Patrick
  5. It’s said that St. Patrick used shamrocks (clovers) to explain the holy trinity (God, Son and Holy Spirit) to the Irish. The Celts believed that each leaf of the clover has a meaning, so using clover leaves as a teaching material was fruitiful.  Patrick started several churches, schools and monasteries and made the clover popular.
  6. It’s green as far as the eye can see – from hair to clothes and even food. We’re not talking spinach here but bagels, pancakes and even beer – if you can put green food coloring on it, it will be served on St. Patrick’s Day.  But the coloring fun doesn’t stop there: rivers, monuments and even ski resorts have all been turned green to commemorate the occasion.
  7. Even though everyone does green, Patrick himself apparently preferred blue and proof can still be seen on old Irish flags. During the 1798 Irish Rebellion, wearing the clover and the color green became a symbol of nationalism – and it stuck
  8. Besides the drinking and green wearing, watching or participating in a parade is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly enough the largest St. Paddy’s Day parades are held outside of Ireland as the Irish expat communities around the world are taking the festivities very seriously.
  9. During St. Patrick’s Day, the worldwide consumption of Guinness almost triples – from 5.5 million pints on a regular day to 13 million pints!! Cheers!
  10. Corned beef and cabbage is a classic dish that goes extremely well with all of that beer – even though the dish was “invented” by Irish immigrants in New York. This might explain why in the US, over 26 billion pounds of beef and over two billion pounds of cabbage are produced during the holiday.

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Hook, Line and Sinker

Southwest Florida is known for its commercial fishing heritage and quality seafood products.  Many communities throughout the state are home to annual festivals that celebrate the positive impact of commercial fishing and seafood.  All of these family oriented events have local flair that are unique to each community.

For Marco Island, that fun begins on March 24 and continues through March 26.    In addition to great music from some of the area’s best local talent, all of your favorite seafood specialties will be available as well.  You can sample plenty of fresh fish, grouper, crab cakes, stone crab, shrimp, crawdads, oysters, scallops, frog legs, gator bites, chowder and much more!  For the land lover, there will be plenty of local dishes such as steak and chicken kabobs and good ole fashioned hamburgers.

When your full of fish, you can sample fine arts and crafts from over 60 vendors.  Find the perfect take home keepsake from a selection of handcrafted furniture, fabulous florals, jewelry, wearable art, handmade soaps, candles traditional and fine art and a lot more.  A kid’s zone with bounce house, slide, rock climbing wall, trampoline will keep the children occupied while you enjoy the music, the food and the friends.

What: Marco Island Seafood Festival

When: March 24-26

Hours: 11am-9pm

Cost: $10 per person

Where: Veteran’s Park – Elkcam Cir W

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Stone Crabs, Snapper and Shrimp ..OH MY!

 

 

Calling all seafood lovers!  It’s almost time for the Everglades Seafood Festival, a popular annual event steeped in tradition with great live music, fun arts and crafts, and the finest, freshest seafood South West Florida has to offer.

This quaint little community of fishing and farming will be celebrating another year of fun festivities and boasts of the city’s most famous produce – seafood.  Among the craft booths and carnival rides, visitors will be entertained by the sights and sounds of live music being performed by some of Nashville’s up and coming stars. An assortment of culinary vendors will also be in attendance to tempt your taste buds with a variety of tasty delights from fresh Stone Crab Claws to fried gator and other country fair favorites.  Don’t forget the kids!  They will be sure to have a good ole time with the mechanical bucking bronco and high-flying amusement rides.

Festival Schedule:

Friday, Feb. 10 – 5:30pm to 10:30pm

Saturday, Feb. 11 – 10:00am to 10:00pm

Sunday, Feb. 12 – 11:00am to 6:00pm

Tips from Our Team:

Traffic can be tricky, so arrive early and bring your patience.

Wear comfortable shoes!  You will be walking!

Bring cash.  Very few vendors take credit cards.

No Pets

No Coolers

Bring your appetite!!!

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Gem Hidden: Tigertail Beach

Located on Hernando Drive on sunny Marco Island, Tigertail beach offers thirty-one acres of everything from natural resources to beachside amenities, making your visit a rewarding one.   Tigertail’s dunes, famous bird watching setting, and a plethora of lagoon wildlife suggest picturesque calm many seek in a day at Marco Island’s famous beach.  A short distance across the tidal lagoon, what only ten years ago was Tigertail’s sandbar is now Sand Dollar Island, a barrier island in the making.  Changes in the formation of the island are noticeable on a yearly basis and it’s development is a welcome occurrence for the many shorebirds using it as a nesting site.  You will see Herons, Egrets, Ibis and many kinds of Terns, Sandpipers, Plovers and Gulls.  You will even see birds of prey such as the Osprey gliding overhead.  A trip to Tigertail is not complete without a stroll along the beach for shells and other beach items!  You may even find a sand dollar or two!

Location: Herando Drive
Hours: 8 am to sunset
Phone: 239-252-4000
Parking: $8.00 daily rate
$1.50 hourly rate

Amenities:

  • 6 boardwalks
  • Tigertail Beach Café/full service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch/beer and wine available
  • Restroom Facilities
  • Education Kiosk
  • Children’s Playground
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Picnic Area with Tables and Grills

 

Beach Rentals:

  • Stand-up Paddleboards
  • Kayaks
  • Electric Seaquirts
  • Water Trikes
  • Electric Boats
  • Paddleboats
  • Beach Cabanas and Chairs

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News