Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve—commonly just called Rookery Bay Reserve—is a mangrove estuary in Naples, Florida. It is an important ecological area as it is one of the last undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. Rookery Bay Reserve covers 110,000 acres and is home to over 150 wildlife species. People are able to visit certain sections of Rookery Bay Reserve on guided tours.
During a boat tour, you’ll board a six-person boat that takes you slowly through the reserve. Your guide will point out animal species you come across, which may include birds, deer, raccoons, tortoises and even bottle-nosed dolphins. Another way to tour the reserve is on a guided kayak excursion where you’ll be taken through backwater bays within the mangrove forest. Just like with the boat tour you’ll get the chance to learn about the animals and vegetation you see from a knowledgeable guide.
Before or after your guided tour, visit Rookery Bay Reserve’s Environmental Learning Center. You’ll learn more about the reserve through hands-on exhibits, a large onsite aquarium and films in its auditorium.
Rookery Bay Reserve is located at 300 Tower Road in Naples. The Environmental Learning Center is open Monday through Saturday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. In addition to being closed on Sundays, the reserve is closed on Saturdays from May through October. Advanced reservations are recommended for guided tours through the reserve.