Day Trippin' with the Animals at Fort Myers Beach

Everyone loves a good day trip! And hey, when you're staying at Fort Myers Beach at Mango Street Inn, you are centrally located around more great day trip adventures than you can probably handle in a single trip. That means you'll just need to come back 😉.

We know you don't want to read a novel, so we'll divide some of our guest's favorite day trip destinations into three different blogs and categorize them by theme. So for you animal lovers, we suggest you bookmark this one for easy access when planning your travel itinerary for your Fort Myers Beach vacation. Here are SIX guest favorites!

1. Everglades Tours

Wildlife abounds in the Everglades and there are several guided tours you can take, from relaxing to adventure seeking. Several tour companies offer airboat tours, where you'll glide across Everglades National Forest viewing alligators, birds, manatees, and more. A few of the tours guarantee you see manatees year round ... in fact, they advertise, "No see, no pay, no waves". Other common sightings on these tours include eagles, osprey, herons, kingfishers, egrets, woodpeckers, and vultures. Everyone goes for the alligators and manatees ... but if you're an animal lover, you are going to be pleasantly surprised at the variety of species you'll see in the Everglades. It a short 50 mile drive from Mango Street Inn, so this is definitely a popular day trip!



2. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

Get closer to animals, closer to nature, closer to family at the Naples Zoo. Their mission to help people of all ages to respect, value, and help conserve wildlife and our natural world. In Naples Zoo, you'll find exotic animals surrounded by the mature trees and exotic plants of a historic tropical garden founded in 1919. As the botanical collection was planted fifty years before the animals were introduced, the exhibits carefully maximize the space around decades old trees. Because of this special need to conserve space, you will be very close to the animals -- often just three or four steps away! You'll see birds, mammals, and reptiles galore ... you may even have an opportunity to a feed a giraffe. They have detailed visitor information on their website, so you can easily plan your day trip around events or exhibits that you most want to see. [Naples Zoo Website] The zoo is located a short 25 miles down Estero Blvd. from Mango Street Inn, so it makes a perfect day trip!





3. Dolphin Tours

You can't come to Fort Myers Beach without seeing the dolphins that are so abundant in the Gulf and the back bay. The best way to do it is on a guided tour with a Marine Biologist or Certified Florida Master Naturalist, and the good news is there are plenty of local tour companies that utilize these experts as guides. Expect to encounter dolphins and other critters such as sea stars, conchs, urchins, and more. You might even spot a manatee! For these tours, you dress for the beach. Several of the tours stop on shelling islands, so bring your swim gear if you want to cool off. Drinks and snacks are typically available for purchase before your departure, and most allow you to bring your own small cooler aboard (be sure to call and check ahead of time). The dolphin tours are right in our backyard at Fort Myers Beach, so the drive is short and the water time is large!



4. The Butterfly Estates


The Shops at the Butterfly Estates opened in 2009, and it was a four year "green friendly" renovation of their shops, café, and the installation of their 3600 sq. foot glass butterfly conservatory. It's the home of The Florida Native Butterfly Society and is located in Gardner's Park in the Downtown Fort Myers River District. The Florida Native Butterfly Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Florida’s native butterfly species. If you enjoy butterflies, add this to your list of day trips. Just a few miles from Mango Street Inn to the downtown river district, you can enjoy The Butterfly Estates and see the historic district of Fort Myers all in single afternoon.



5. Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Aquarium

When you visit the Imaginarium you'll participate in real-life demonstrations of the wonders of nature. Guests can feel the power of a hurricane, run through a rainstorm, pet sting rays and sharks, see a 3-D Dinosaur movie, be a weather forecaster or just run, jump, and explore to your heart’s content. An ideal family day trip, the kids and adults alike enjoy their experience at the Imaginarium. Image a LIVE 3,200 Gallon Tank With an Interactive "Virtual Dive" Experience! Offering over 60 interactive exhibits, there is fun for the entire family to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and the history of Southwest Florida. You will enjoy touching live marine animals in their Sea to See Touch Tanks; a 3,200-gallon aquarium displaying a variety of fish, including sharks; the Living Lab with turtles, a ball python, frogs, a bearded dragon, prairie dogs and more. Located in Fort Myers, this is just a few mile drive from Mango Street Inn and is worth adding to your list!



6. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Preserve

Located on beautiful Sanibel Island, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. Bird lovers from all over the world travel here to observe and photograph the inhabitants of this completely unique ecosystem. The refuge provides important habitat to over 245 species of birds. This beautiful preserve is a must see. Their website offers the best advice for planning your day trip for the most enjoyable experience. [Darling National Wildlife Preserve Website]



Next up in our day trip series, we'll feature some our favorite history-lover day trips!



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126 Mango Street

Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931






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