The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is a private, 501(c)(3), not for profit, environmental education organization located in Fort Myers, Florida. Our 105-acre site has a museum, three nature trails, a 44'-diameter dome theater planetarium, butterfly and bird aviaries, a gift shop and meeting and picnic areas.
Strolling through our Museum, visitors can learn about Southwest Florida's natural history. Daily educational programs allow visitors an up close and personal view of some of our resident creatures, including snakes, large alligators, foxes, a skunk, a bobcat, a raccoon, Butterfly Conservatory, and an Audubon Aviary which houses permanently injured birds of prey (hawks, vultures, bald eagles, owls and more!). In addition to our larger animals (which are generally in outdoor settings), various amphibians, fish and arthropods are housed in the natural history museum. The Museum's interpretive displays address many issues affecting our area, from water resources to educating visitors about endangered manatees.
The stars are always out in our full-dome planetarium, the only public planetarium south of Bradenton and west of the Miami. Come touch a 126-pound nickel-iron meteorite in our lobby meteorite display. The planetarium presents three different planetarium shows daily (note: two daily in the off-season). These shows are timed to fit around the animal demonstration, so that you can attend all available presentations without missing anything. Each show includes a live introduction to what's up in our local skies, followed by a professionally-produced full-dome planetarium show. The three-show lineup is changed monthly. Check the Planetarium web pages for astronomical happenings and other special events (for example, we also have three "laser show weeks" annually). Our Museum, Planetarium and large portions of our nature trails are accessible to people with disabilities.
Our Gift Shop has a wide variety of natural history, science, and astronomy-related books and merchandise for all ages, from science toys and astronomy posters through owl-pellet packets (available seasonally and in limited supply for educational investigations) to tee shirts to jewelry to on-request native plants. Be sure to check the gift shop out on your next visit.
The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is truly a "center," so we host meetings, train Scouts and Junior Naturalists, conduct field trips for thousands of local students annually, and rent out facilities for very special gatherings. In addition to our regular collection of programs and hosting of special events, we host numerous groups and organizations for their monthly or quarterly meetings and special programs. The Pine Pavilion is a lovely rustic covered venue open to the surrounding woods and overlooking the creek, perfect for intimate weddings in natural surroundings. The Iona House has complete kitchen facilities, a large two-story main room with a lovely wooded view and seclusion (great for meetings, day-long workshops or retreats). The Planetarium has a 22' stage, an attractive lobby for receptions, seating for 87 in the 44' full-dome theater, presentation projection facilities, and helpful staff to run sound and lighting systems or show planetarium shows to make your event truly unusual! If you, your family, your organization or your business need a unique and convenient (a few tenths of a mile west of the Colonial Blvd exit from I-75) site for your next meeting, presentation, birthday party, holiday gathering, wedding, bridal or baby shower, memorial service or picnic, please contact us to see what we can offer!
We have daily animal talks, nature walks, and planetarium shows, with other special events.
Our summer camp programs are designed to foster an appreciation of the natural world and to encourage interest and wonder. Each session will involve lots of outside activities, games, crafts, experiments, stories, and live animal presentations, along with a lot of just plain fun. Each camper will have the opportunity to hike all of our trails and see a Planetarium show.