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Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium | Things to do in Fort Myers with Kids

Explore and Discover the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium in Fort Myers, a sanctuary of adventure for the entire family.

Welcome to the lush landscapes and celestial wonders of Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium!

Nestled in the heart of Fort Myers, this 105 acres hidden gem in Southwest Florida offers a myriad of educational and entertaining experiences for families seeking adventure in nature.

From captivating planetarium shows to immersive wildlife encounters, there's something for everyone to enjoy at Calusa Nature Center.

Join us as we embark on a journey through this enchanting destination, uncovering one of the top things to do with kids in Fort Myers.

girl hikinh calusa nature center trail

Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

Discover the Natural World

At Calusa Nature Center, families can delve into the beauty and diversity of Southwest Florida's ecosystems. Take a leisurely stroll along the tranquil nature trails, where towering cypress trees and vibrant flora create a picturesque backdrop.

Along the way, keep an eye out for native wildlife, from elusive wading birds to the famous gators. Over 50 engaging exhibits provide fascinating insights into the region's ecology, making learning a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages.

Calusa Nature Center and planetarium is also home to many rescue animals, a butterfly and raptor aviary.

calusa nature center museum kids area

Here are some fun things you can expect to experience at Calusa Nature Center

Journey to the Stars

Step into the state-of-the-art planetarium and embark on an awe-inspiring voyage through the cosmos. From dazzling displays of constellations to thrilling presentations on space exploration, the planetarium offers a captivating blend of science and imagination. Children will marvel at the wonders of the universe as they learn about distant galaxies, planets, and celestial phenomena. With regularly updated shows and special events, there's always something new to discover among the stars.

Hands-On Learning Opportunities

For budding young scientists, Calusa Nature Center offers a variety of hands-on learning opportunities. Interactive exhibits encourage exploration and experimentation, fostering a deeper understanding of the natural world. Whether they're examining fossils, observing live animals, or participating in educational workshops, children are encouraged to ask questions, make observations, and engage with the world around them. These immersive experiences ignite curiosity and inspire a lifelong passion for learning.

boy looking into microscope at Calusa nature center

Family-Friendly Events and Activities

Throughout the year, Calusa Nature Center hosts a diverse array of family-friendly events and activities. From guided nature walks to wildlife presentations, there's always something exciting happening on the grounds. Seasonal festivals celebrate the beauty of Southwest Florida's landscapes, while themed workshops provide opportunities for creative expression and discovery. Families can check the center's event calendar for upcoming programs and plan their visit accordingly to make the most of their experience.

girl coloring scorpio coloring page at calusa nature center in fort myers

Trail Adventure

There are two trails at Calusa Center and Planetarium that visitors can enjoy; Pine Loop Trail and Wildlands Trail.

Pine Loop Trail is the best option if you are on a wheelchair or have kids on a stroller and the total trail time is about 15 minutes long with a 1/3 mile hike. While Wildlands Trail is 1.3 miles long with a hike time of about 30 to 60 minutes. Keep in mind that Wildlands is also not wheels friendly with grass reaching pretty high since the area is not mowed.

hiking trail at calusa nature center and planetarium in fort myers

What you should know before you visit

1 - Hours of operation: Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 4 pm

2 - Entrance fee: CNCP Members and ANCA Reciprocal Members - FREE

Non-Members: Adults - $10 • Children 3-12 - $5 • Under 3 - FREE

Discounts for Seniors, Students, Military, First Responders and AAA - Inquire at the front desk

3 - They have a no pet policy with the exception of task trained service dogs.

4 - Location - 3450 Ortiz Avenue, Fort Myers, Florida 33905

5 - Bring Bottles of water and snacks for kids to munch on while nature trailing.

6 - Parking is free

7 - Before attending check out their website for events, shows and classes happening on the day of your visit and the time for each one.

8 - If you are local, check out their membership prices as it may be better to buy the membership for a family and enjoy all year long, versus paying daily admission prices.

We are a family of six with our youngest being 2.5 years old which means she enters for free, so we purchased a family membership for a full year that includes unlimited visits for the price of $60 versus paying $35 for a one time entry.

I believe that this is a much better deal because we can enjoy for a full year, giving us enough time to explore each activity without having to rush to go to the next. Plus, if we visit twice within a year the membership will have paid for itself.

In my opinion, it is totally worthwhile if you are a local or even if you vacation here often.

As you plan your next family outing in Fort Myers, be sure to include Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium on your itinerary.

With its blend of natural beauty, educational opportunities, and interactive exhibits, it's the perfect destination for families seeking adventure and exploration.

Whether you're gazing at the stars in the planetarium, wandering through the wilderness, or getting up close and personal with native wildlife, you'll create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.


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