Florida has no shortage of gift shops, zoos, theme-parks, waterparks and family-friendly restaurants. Rarely, however, do you find all these things in one place. This makes the Shell Factory and Nature Park one of the most diverse attractions in Fort Myers.
Beautifully decorated Christmas Trees in walking distance to a minigolf course, life-sized dinosaurs next to a petting zoo, real alligators and a climbing wall – the Shell Factory offers an astonishing variety of things to see and do.
SHELL FACTORY AND NATURE PARK – ACTIVITIES
Nature lovers of all ages will feel right at home at the Shell Factory’s Nature Park, home to 400 animals from turtles and iguanas to grown alligators. You are even allowed to feed Florida’s iconic reptiles – from a safe distance, of course.
Freshly hatched baby gators are displayed in the Touch Center. Cute raccoons, lemurs and sloths live in authentically designed enclosures, and behind glass walls you can observe lizards, snakes and a variety of insects. Even extinct animals can be found here: In the Dinosaur Park, guests take a walk under the watchful eyes of T-Rex, Triceratops and other primeval giants.
A highlight for children is the petting zoo with its guinea pigs, goats and cows. And watching the animals is not the only activity at the Nature Park: Visitors can interact with colorful parrots, and see nocturnal animals on a guided camping trip.
In the adjacent Fun Park, children can dig for gold, or rather fool’s gold, have water balloon battles and feed turtles and fish on a boat ride. Guests looking for some vertical fun can master the climbing wall, climb up a 40 feet pole and zoom across the lake with a zipline. On hot days, there is nothing better than riding the motorized Bumper Boats equipped with water cannons.
If you want to stay dry, you can play minigolf, or enjoy yourself with exciting games at the arcade hall. History fans should visit the exhibit “Dark Days of American History”. Here, you will learn more about the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of J. F. Kenney.
SHELL FACTORY AND NATURE PARK – RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES
Hungry visitors should have a seat at Capt´n Fishbones, a family-friendly seafood restaurant serving comfort food like Fish and Chips as well as fried oysters, salmon and shrimp cocktails. If you do not like fish, try the generously topped burgers, prime steaks, Italian pasta or healthy salads. The park’s Subway restaurant is the perfect choice for delicious sandwiches.
If you are looking for a souvenir for your loved ones, you should visit the gift shop: Here, you can buy beautifully designed jewelry boxes, candles, windbells made from shells, shark teeth, corals and pearl necklaces. All year round, the Christmas House features Florida´s biggest collection of Christmas presents.
With its festive trees, cute elves and Santa’s sleigh, Florida’s biggest gift shop is a highlight for children. Fans of eccentric memorabilia will love the sleigh pulled by a zebra and the shell-covered gulf buggy. And do not forget to open the outhouse, where an animated Christmas robot tells stories from the old days of Fort Myers.
TICKET PRICES, OPENING HOURS AND EVENTS
Entrance to the Shell Factory is free. You only have to pay 13 USD for the Nature Park. Tickets cost 10 USD for senior citizens (55+) and 8 USD for children aged 4–12. Children aged 3 and under visit the park for free. If you want to save money, you should check out discount websites like Groupon. The Shell Factory’s shops are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. The Nature Park and the Fun Park open at 10 am and close at 5 pm.
Thanks to a fun-filled event calendar, it pays to visit the park more than once. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, there is a flea market with 150 stalls selling artworks and trinkets, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fans of Mexican Food should visit the Capt´n Fishbones on Taco Tuesday. In addition, the restaurant’s Dolphin Room draws in visitors with live-concerts, dances and karaoke parties. Memorial Day is celebrated with barbecues, and in the festive season, little guests can visit Santa Claus in the Christmas House. Thanks to its countless attractions, the Nature Park is a perfect place for birthday parties with pizza, camp fires and a night under the stars. At the Shell Factory’s event hall, you can host weddings and other big celebrations.
MAP & DIRECTIONS TO THE SHELL FACTORY AND NATURE PARK
The Shell Factory and Nature Park is located north of Cape Coral and can be reached in 20 minutes by car. Guests based in central Fort Myers need 15 minutes. To get to the Shell Factory from Estero, you should plan for a 40 minute ride.