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During our week-long visit to Naples, FL, the kids and I were looking for some fun and educational places to visit. Boy did we find that place when we found The Conservancy of Southwest Florida. I stumbled across an ad for The Conservancy when I was flipping through an area guide that I grabbed in my hotel lobby! It sounded like exactly what we were looking for…it was close by, the price was great, it was educational, and it was FUN!
We packed up our notebooks (as all good homeschoolers do, right?!?!), grabbed some waters and snacks, and hit the road. When we arrived at The Conservancy I was pleasantly surprised by how BIG it is…and there was plenty of parking…which is awesome! It was a super quiet day being that it was off season…the only “crowds” we saw were a couple of small summer camp groups!
We followed the signs to the entrance and were immediately greeted by a couple of very warm smiling faces. I wish I had written down names because everyone was SO friendly…and HELPFUL! Every person we ran into was so full of information and knowledge…it was a homeschoolers dream!
The first thing we did was reserve our spot on the Electric Boat Tour. The tour is 45 minutes long and included in your admission price!! Because it was such a quiet day we had the entire tour to ourselves! Captain Rick was our guide and he was wonderful. It was a gorgeous day for a boat ride. We saw lots of birds, native plants, invasive plants, and even mangrove crabs! Captain Rick explained to us all about the different types of mangrove trees and their importance. It was a wonderful experience…I highly recommend taking advantage of the boat tour! When you are at the dock getting ready to board your boat, be sure to look UP at the gigantic Oar Fish sculpture! Yikes!
After our boat tour we spent some time wandering around the Learning Labs and Discovery Center. So much fabulous information on conservation and wildlife! We absolutely LOVED the touch-tank! We learned all about Sea Turtles as well!! This was such a fun places for the kiddos! You can even be turned into a human ninja turtle…which apparently my kids are too cool to try…whatever lol 😉
One of the highlights of our trip was meeting volunteer Bob outside of the animal hospital. Bob was so friendly and so full of information! The Von Arx Wildlife Hospital is dedicated to caring for injured wildlife in such a way that limits their exposure to humans such that they can be successfully reintroduced into the wild. Bob brought us into the viewing area which was amazing. You can see in through the window but the staff and animals cannot see you. We were able to see many animals, mostly birds that day, being fed and weighed. The doctors, nurses, staff, and volunteers are so dedicated to helping these animals…it was wonderful to see! Definitely be sure to stop by and see the viewing area…it was amazing.
We explored around a little more and then ending up meeting up with Bob again for a private lesson on how The Conservancy got started and some lessons on how we can help! It was so informative and we really appreciated the time he took to talk to us.
If you ever find yourself in Naples, I highly recommend spending some time at The Conservancy of Southwest Florida. They are such a wonderful organization that is dedicated to protecting the environment and wildlife.
For more information head on over to their website at https://www.conservancy.org/
The Conservancy is located at:
1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples, FL
They are open from Monday-Saturday 9:30AM-4:30PM