Things to Do in Fort Myers FL
Museums, historical landmarks, and yearly events give visitors the opportunity to experience the culture and heritage of Fort Myers.
The Southwest Florida Museum of History beginnings stem from the time when the railroad sold its track and warehouse on Peck and Monroe Streets to the city in 1971. In 1975 the old passenger depot, which had gone to ruin, began a transformation. With help from the city and donations, construction came to close in April of 1982. The museum showcases the history of Fort Myers. There is also a Downtown Walking Tour through historic downtown Ft. Myers, giving tourists a history lesson through the historic buildings.
A popular attraction for families is the Imaginarium. The Imaginarium features hands-on and interactive exhibits for all ages. Other fun aspects of the center include a hurricane simulator and an early-childhood area.
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates are also a tourist must-see. With over 250,000 visitors per year they are the 9th most-visited national historic site in the nation. The grounds measure approximately 20 acres, the tropical gardens cover 14 acres, and the museum totals 15,000 sqaure-feet. The museum showcases memorabilia from Edison and Ford with changing special exhibits. Guided tours run daily through the homes, museum, laboratory and gardens.
More than 25 hotels and inns provide a range of accommodations. Visitors to the area can select from luxury resorts, budget-friendly inns, and hotels geared specifically for the business traveler.
The numerous nature parks and recreation areas in and around Fort Myers team with irresistible beauty. One of Fort Myers’ jewels is Lakes Regional Park. A family favorite, this 279-acre recreational park offers fresh water fishing, canoing, swimming, kayaks, paddle boats and playgrounds. For those who would like to walk, run or bike ride, the park’s 2-mile paved pathway is ideal. Picnic pavilions and a lodge with full kitchen are also on the premises. A unique feature of Lakes Regional Park is the miniature railroad and villages. The train takes passengers on a one and a half mile ride through a 109-foot tunnel, over bridges, around a lake, and through miniature villages. The park also features a fragrance garden where visitors can smell, feel and eat the herbs and flowers.
Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is an environmental education organization set on a 105 acres. A museum, nature trails, planetarium and aviary offers visitors the opportunity to learn about Southwest Florida’s natural history, as well as have a chance to stargaze and take advantage of other various daily activities.
Lovers Key State Park’s 712-acre span is comprised of Black Island, Lovers Key and Inner and Long Key. The park plays host to an array of wildlife as well as activities such as swimming, boating, fishing and picnicking. Caloosahatchee Regional Park offers picnic areas and a covered recreation area, as well as two trails with one trail leading to an observation deck overlooking amazing views of the river. The world-famous J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, located on Sanibel Island, is not a far trek from Fort Myers. Guests to the refuge can drive, bike, or walk the five-mile trail, which is home to over 200 endangered species of birds. Lastly, the Six Mile Cypress Slough protects two thousand acres of wetlands with a mile-long trail for excursionists to roam. Guided tours are also available.
Arts & Entertainment
Fort Myers offers a wealth of entertainment opportunities with year-round musical and theatrical performances, parades, fairs and sports competitions.
Beginning as a vaudeville house in 1908, the historic Arcade Theater was patronized by famous Fort Myers residents Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. For over 90 years it has been a popular place for residents and tourists of the city. Today it is the home of the Florida Repertory Theater (now in its seventh season), one of few professional regional theaters in Southwest Florida.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater entertains over 150,000 guests each year with its Off-Broadway productions and two banquet facilities. Another great venue of Broadway performances is the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Edison College. The center is also home to the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.