Sunday, January 16, 2022

Kids Free Fridays at Rookery Bay




The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting its annual summer program, “Kids FREE Fridays,” at its Environmental Learning Center through Aug. 1. This summer education program provides free admission for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult (up to 5 children per adult). Educators will present a different topic each week following a central theme around the rookery. Lunch will be available for purchase from 11 AM-1 PM.

June 6 and July 11: Water

Let’s begin building a Rookery! We will have to start with water, the most important part of this habitat. When fresh water and salt water mix together, they form a special kind of water called brackish water. Join us for experiments on salinity and an exploration into the world of plankton during this opening week of Kid’s Free Friday.

June 13 and July 18: Oysters

Now that we have the water in our estuary, let’s add some very important filter feeders! Oysters filter the water and provide great hiding places for small crabs in the estuary. This week we will learn all about oysters and their importance in the estuary.

June 20 and July 25: Mangroves

What beautiful oyster beds we have in our brackish water of the estuary! Now the mangrove propagules (seeds) can grow big and strong on the oyster beds to create mangrove islands. Little fish love the roots of the Red Mangrove tree that grow down into the water like a cage. Learn with us this week about mangrove trees in the estuary.

June 27 and August 1: Birds

The mangrove islands formed on top of the oyster beds in our estuary provide a great place to nest and rest for birds…we call this a Rookery! Congratulations! We have made a Rookery and now the birds have a safe place to raise their young and sleep for the night.

Scheduled Activities:

• 10-10:45 AM: Story Time (auditorium)

• 11-1:45 AM: Lab Demonstration (auditorium)

• 11 AM-1 PM: Lunch for Sale (gallery)

• 12:15-1:55 PM: Films from LIFE series (auditorium)

• 2-2:45 PM: IMAX Feature Film (auditorium)


Ongoing activities: (10 AM-2 PM)

• Touch Tank

• Kid’s Crafts


The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 10 miles from downtown Naples, on the way to Marco Island. From May 1 through Oct. 30, the center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, adding Saturday hours for Nov. 1 through April 30. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities. For more information, call 239-530-5977 or visit and

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