The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is a 16,500-square-foot facility with four research laboratories, two classrooms, a 140-seat auditorium and two-story visitor center with exhibit hall. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences, including a 2,300 gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits addressing research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the reserve, as well as a nature store, art gallery and picnic area.
The observation bridge leads from the second floor of the visitor center across Henderson Creek to walking trails and viewing platform where visitors can see birds, fish and an occasional manatee, if conditions are right.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 to 12, and free for kids under 6. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Saturday hours from October through May.
Learn more about the Environmental Learning Center facilities, daily themes, art exhibit and more.
The center hosts a number of programs and events throughout the year, including birding classes, art and photography classes, lectures and Kids FREE Fridays (summer only).
Annual events include the Southwest Florida Nature Festival on the third weekend in January and National Estuaries Day on the last Saturday in September.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.