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Sanibel Island Birds

Things to Do in Sanibel Island, Florida

From a historian's perspective, Old Town Sanibel is a delight. In her book "The Sea Shell Islands," Eleanor Dormer, Sanibel's most noted historian, first used the term "Old Town Sanibel" to describe the quaint village of specialty shops and breakfast/lunch cafes. Providing the hub of Sanibel's commercial activity from 1833 to 1963, this charming community is the original site of Sanibel Island's Sanibel Island Wildlife development.

Sanibel Island Fishing Piers, Marinas, Nature Walks, and Biking Trails

Here, one can visit Sanibel's oldest standing structure, the historic lighthouse at Point Ybel in San Carlos Bay. History buffs will also not want to miss Sanibel's local museum, best breakfast in Lee County, the Lighthouse Cafe caters to both the hungry and the lighthouse enthused. Here, breakfast and lunch patrons can dine on such homemade specialties as fritattas, hotcakes, fresh fish/seafood griddle sandwiches, and Caesar salads amid the over 100 framed photographs of lighthouses which grace the walls. Old Town Sanibel is within walking distance of fishing piers, marinas, nature walks, and biking trails.

Bailey-Matthew's Shell Museum

A museum dedicated entirely to the history and natural development of seashells, Sanibel Island Beachcombers the only one of its kind in the United States, can be found in the Bailey-Matthew's Shell Museum. As stated by the Founding Director, Dr. R. Tucker Abbott, the museum's mission is "to explain the miracle of sea shells and how they influence the affairs of mankind." Information is given on various roles shells have had in the development of religion, art, medicine, and literature. Educational forums include interactive exhibits, lectures, and family events. Truly discover why Sanibel and Captiva Islands are known as the "Seashell Islands."

Sanibel Island's Wildlife Refuge

In spite of the variety of indoor activity to be found, the real beauty Sanibel Island Trolley of Sanibel and Captiva Islands lies in their outdoor splendor. Nowhere is this natural state more breathtaking than at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1945. Encompassing more than 5,000 acres, this spectacular wildlife refuge lies on the north side of Sanibel Island. It provides nesting sites for over 200 species of birds, many of them threatened or endangered, and is also an ecological system that is sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, river otters, armadillos, and rabbits. The refuge is named for Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling of New York, a Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist and a life-long environmentalist. Darling once headed the US Biological Survey and was instrumental in establishing more than 300 sanctuaries across the United States. Many of Sanibel's local establishments highlight the cartoon art of Darling, which focused on the visiting and Sanibel Island Restaurant local 'shellers' who came to the islands. Besides a first-rate Visitor Center, open Saturday through Thursday, the refuge offers an observation tower, nature trails, and a two-hour guided tour via tram.

Everglades Day Safari is Available from Sanibel Island

For the slightly more adventurous, time spent at Everglades Day Safari is in order. Self-lauded as "The Everglades Finest Eco-Tour," the day is spent exploring the flora and fauna of the Everglades in a high-adventure fashion. One can board a jungle cruise down the Blackwater River in search of the elusive Florida manatee and crocodile, embark upon a nature walk to view first-hand a "gator hole", or whiz through the "River of Grass" on an airboat ride. If one is seeking the most memorable way to enjoy Sanibel Island's Great Outdoors, the Everglades Day Safari may very well be the ideal activity choice.

There are two non-profit wildlife and nature organizations headed on Sanibel which provide relief and sanctuary for the endless variety of wildlife in the area. Both Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Center and Care and Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W.) provide tours and educational programs to the islands' residents and tourists. The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Center, while dedicated to conserving Sanibel's natural resources, furnish walking trails, a marine touch tank, and a nature store to the public. Acting as a veterinary hospital, C.R.O.W. works to rehabilitate and restore sick and injured animals back to their native, wild habitat. C.R.O.W. receives animals from the entirety of South Florida and both participate in wildlife studies and sponsor educational programs and tours.

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