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Top Rated Attractions in Fort Myers

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Captiva Cruises

Captiva Cruises offers daily cruises around Pine Island Sound, the Captiva Islands as well as Sanibel Island. There are several excursions available, some of which include dolphin tours, sunset cruises and half-day trips to nearby beaches. Captiva also offers private charters for corporate receptions or private parties and each vessel has cash bars. Some of the other highlighted attractions are the Nighttime Astronomy Cruise and the Marine Naturalist Adventure.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Fort Myers, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates highlight the lives of two American intellectual behemoths that are Thomas Alva Edinson and Henry Ford. Spread across 20 acres (8 hectares) of pristine estates, this site was where legendary inventor Thomas Edison began spending his winters along the Caloosahatchee River from the comforts of his beloved Seminole Lodge in 1886. In 1916, Edison's dear friend Henry Ford built his Craftsman-style holiday home, known as 'The Mangoes' right next door. Edison's house is engulfed in a blanket of spectacular beauty thanks to the botanical garden designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman that houses Florida's largest banyan tree. The Rubber Laboratory is one of the sight's prime exhibits that showcase the facility exactly how it was left by Edison.

Six Mile Cypress Slough

The Six Mile Cypress Slough is one of many preserved and pristine swamplands spread throughout southwest Florida. The highlight of the preserve is the 1.2-mile (1.9 kilometer) boardwalk, a wood-planked corridor that runs through the 2,200-acre (890 hectare) wetland, where guests can see alligators, wild boar, otters and much more. During the dry season (October to June), birds like herons and egrets flock to the flag ponds which make it a perfect place for birders. There are guided tours year-round, and self-guided tour brochures in the LEED-certified interpretive center.

Lakes Regional Park

Lakes Park is one of the most popular recreational areas in-and-around Fort Myers. The 279-acre (112 hectare) park has several fresh water lakes perfect for swimming, fishing or hopping aboard a boat. Officially, swim season starts from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but throughout the year you'll see people wading in and out of the water. You don't have to go in the water however, because there is still a 2.5-mile (four kilometer) paved path used for running, rollerblading or riding your bike. Additionally, the Fragrance Garden offers a unique sensory experience and other picnic areas, concession stands, a miniature train ride, boat rental and showers, further delight visitors.

Ostego Bay Marine Science Center

The mission of the Ostego Bay Foundation is to promote a better understanding of marine life and the delicate balance of ecosystems through education and community involvement. At the Marine Science Center, exhibits, touch tanks and aquariums allow visitors to see and feel marine life. There are also exhibits on fossils, shells and endangered species that educate and entertain at the same time. Additionally, the center offers a walking tour which includes visits to a Coast Guard station, the waterfront and aboard a shrimp boat.

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge is 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) of tidal wetlands and mangroves, home to more than 200 species of birds, 50 different species of reptiles and 32 mammals. The best (and busiest) times to come (especially for bird-watching) are November through April. Visitors can explore the park on a two-mile foot trail, hop aboard a canoe or ride their bike along the Wildlife Drive which has views of the water on both sides. Moreover, the drive to its location on Sanibel Island is a treat unto itself.

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