Florida West Coast Expeditions
Art on 5th Avenue South
Estero River History Paddle
The Great Florida Fossil Hunt
Paddling in Paradise Isle of Capri Kayaking
Sanibel & Captiva Barrier Island Nature Experience
Art on 5th Avenue SouthCrossing the heart of Old Naples on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, Fifth Avenue South is a charming thoroughfare of galleries, shops and premier eateries. This historic main street with its majestic Banyan trees and flowering Royal Poincianas offers visual rewards on every block. Explore with us the heart of one of Florida’s most sophisticated and charming cities.
Our tour selects the most promising and exciting exhibits from the array of innovative galleries along Fifth Avenue South. The galleries feature works from both local and international artists.
At our first gallery stop, we will enjoy mimosas while contemplating and admiring the art on display. The host of each gallery will be on hand to introduce the featured works and answer questions. As we progress down the avenue, our second gallery promises to offer a refreshing alternative collection of pieces that will change the pace.
Our final gallery will round out the afternoon with yet another look at the vigorous, innovative art venues of Southwest Florida. Naples offers a vibrant and healthy art scene and it will be our honor to introduce it to you on this exciting tour.
Estero River History PaddleExplore with us the jungle-like stretches of the beautiful Estero River as we navigate its twisting and turning oxbows by canoe. Oak trees hang lazily over the river, spilling their long beards of Spanish Moss toward the water’s tranquil surface. Here, it is easy for us to imagine what Florida was like in the first days of pioneer settlement. Watch for abundant wildlife along the surrounding shores and swimming alongside your watercraft.
Push ashore at Koreshan Unity, an idealistic commune established on the banks of the Estero River during the waning years of the nineteenth century. This village now exists as a state park. Learn how Dr. Cyrus Teed attempted to bring to life his “New Jerusalem,” founded on the principles that he received during a “divine illumination” in 1869. The settlement buildings of the Koreshan Unity have been restored to their original appearance during the early years of the 20th century. Discover the intriguing reasons why this settlement is now a historic site instead of a living community.
Wonder at the rare and beautiful trees and plants that the Koreshans imported from around the world to grow in their symbolically geometric gardens. Witness how these pioneers used crushed shells that reflected light in the evening to create silvery paths that glowed in the moonlight and turned the nighttime into a composition dynamic with beauty. A lazy tropical river with breathtaking scenery; an intriguing historic village to discover; overall, this expedition is a great way to explore a treasured piece of hidden Florida.
The Great Florida Fossil HuntIn a time when ancient mammoths, mastodons, camels and saber tooth tigers roamed the primeval, cycad-rich, tropic wilds of Florida, a series of creek beds and river bottoms became their mysterious final resting place. Even now, in these places of fascinating discovery and wonder, one can sense the slow passage of time and the faint echoes of antiquity.
We welcome those with inquiring minds and adventurous souls to escape with us on a journey back through time into Florida’s ancient past. Theorize on why so many of these fantastic creatures ended up in the same location and what their stories can tell us about this place.
Guided by one of Florida’s most noted fossil experts and author of the definitive guide to Florida fossil hunting, we will be screen-washing the shallow waters east of Fort Myers in order to search for the bones and teeth of these long-vanished species. Not since childhood has playing in the water and sandy creek bottoms been so much fun!
Paddling in Paradise Isle of Capri KayakingPerhaps the most enchanting hidden area of Florida includes the mangrove tunnels and pristine barrier islands off of the Southwest Coast between Naples and Marco Island. Journey with us into the wondrous realm of Rookery Bay and the alluring waters off of the Isle of Capri. In this landscape of wading birds and tree crabs, the sunlit tunnels of a mangrove canopied corridor lure kayakers into the world of an ancient but unforgotten Florida.
Hear the stories of the Calusa people who once thrived in these watery byways and the kingdom that they built to rule over all of South Florida. Explore the flora and fauna of a pristine estuary. If fortune smiles upon us, we may spot a gentle manatee or some playful dolphins frolicking off of the coast. Be prepared to swim or explore the beaches of the barrier islands that gaze dreamily from this vantage point out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Sanibel & Captiva Barrier Island Nature ExperienceExperience two of the world’s most enchanting islands, Sanibel and Captiva. We begin our journey by strolling the world-famous seashell-rich shoreline of Sanibel’s south-facing beach. See the historic Sanibel Lighthouse and follow the beach as it sharply doubles back on the bay.
Our next stop is the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. A locally treasured bird sanctuary, Ding Darling Refuge enchants as we push off onto the back bay in kayaks and search for dolphins and other sea-dwellers.
Lunchtime takes us to Captiva Island where we enjoy a well-deserved meal in the beautiful setting of one of the island’s signature restaurants. Local legend has it that Captiva is a shortened version of “Isla de las mujeres cautivas” or “Island of the captive women” because the breeze-swept island had low mosquito counts and was ideal for holding women hostages taken by area pirates until their ransoms were paid.
After lunch, we return to Ding Darling Refuge where we embark on an engaging tram ride through the refuge’s intriguing interior that takes us into the home of the island’s abundant birds and reptilian inhabitants. After lunch, we return to Ding Darling Refuge where we embark on an engaging tram ride through the refuge’s intriguing interior that takes us into the home of the island’s abundant birds and reptilian inhabitants.