Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
10150 Metro Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (239) 938-0100
Fax: (239) 938-0370
Arts & Museums
The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium aims to promote a better understanding of the natural world around us as well as the cosmological one above. The 105-acre site contains a museum, an aviary, winding nature trails, a gift shop, and meeting and picnic areas. The museum has information on the Calusa Indians, a tribe also known as the Shell Indians because of their subsistence on the gulf shores and estuaries. In addition to history, there are daily animal shows, snake feedings and aviary tours.
Look for the yellow and green dinosaur next to the water tower and you'll know you have found the Imaginarium, a hands-on science museum for kids of all ages. Try your hand at being a weatherman, excavate a T-Rex in the "dig pit" or chart a course on a boat. The simple explanations make learning fun and easy to understand. There is even a living coral reef and alligator lagoon.
Probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Fort Myers, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates highlight the lives of two American intellectual behemoths. Inventor Thomas Edison began spending his winters along the Caloosahatchee River in 1886. In 1916, Edison's friend Henry Ford built his winter home, Mangoes, next door. Both are open to the public and include Edison's botanical gardens and laboratory (just as Edison left it), the largest banyan tree in Florida as well as a museum that features some of their innovations.
After tremendous pressure from locals and newspapers, the Southwest Florida Museum of History was opened in 1982 to highlight this part of the Sunshine State. Housed inside an old depot, this museum provides visitors an interesting insight into the history of Fort Myers. Collections here are centuries old and include artifacts, maps and documents used by herdsmen, settlers and fishermen as well as fascinating exhibits on its original inhabitants, the Caloosa Indians.
For anyone who has ever wondered where the "fort" in Fort Myers was, the answer to that question and many others can be found at the Fort Myers Historical Museum. Housed in the restored Atlantic Coast Line Depot, the museum traces the history of the area from prehistoric times to the present day. Exhibits include a Pullman car, a replica of a late 1800s "Cracker" home and a World War II P-39 Cobra. Call ahead to know about admission prices and other details.
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located in the heart of downtown Fort Myers. Not merely a vibrant art center, this venue also has a stunning neoclassical design with impressive pillars built from coral and limestone. Art exhibitions and art walks are a regular affair however fund raisers, charity balls, private events and more can be held too.
Also known as the Murphy-Burroughs House, cattle rancher John Murphy constructed this Georgian Revival Mansion in 1901, sixteen years after the establishment of Fort Myers. The property has amazing views of the Caloosahatchee River and its location in the River District is close to many downtown hotels. The nearly three-acre estate allows visitors to walk the grounds and see plenty of lush, green foliage as well as a grotto fed by an Artesian well. The Burroughs family purchased the estate in 1918 and retained many of the antique furnishings and historical details. One of the last family members bequeathed the home to the city of Fort Myers in 1978 and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Today it is run under the auspices of the Uncommon Friends Foundation and they provide guided tours twice a week.
Nestled in the Humanities building of the Fort Myers campus of Edison Community College is a find for Southwest Florida art lovers. The Gallery of Fine Art houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Stephanie Brody Lederman, among other nationally and internationally renowned artists. In addition, there are exhibits and receptions for local artists like Kathleen Holmes. The Gallery is open to the public and is free. Parking lot, off Summerlin Road, is in front of the building and is open to the public.
Cape Coral only became a city in 1957, but they still have a historical museum. The Cape Coral Historical Museum traces the history of the area, as well as its incorporation to the fastest growing city in Lee County. Exhibits and video explain early Cape Coral (and old Waltzing Waters), and include photos, artifacts from the Cape Coral Rose Garden, a collection of WWII lead soldiers, and a replica of a "cracker" house.
The Ostego Bay Foundation's mission is to promote understanding of marine life and the delicate balance of marine ecosystems through education and community involvement. At the Marine Science Center, exhibits, touch tanks and aquariums introduce visitors to marine life. There are also exhibits on fossils, shells and endangered species. The Science Center offers a walking tour that includes the Center, the Coast Guard station, the waterfront and shrimp boats, and explains how the industry works.
The Sanibel Gallery is the oldest gallery on the island, and features local artists and craftspeople whose work "reflects the essence of the islands." Located in Heart of the Islands Plaza, the gallery features over 170 artists who present their art in a variety of mediums. The artwork reflects the nature of Sanibel and includes watercolors by Tom Bond, oils by Milvi Wheeler, as well as acrylic, silkscreen, and pen and ink. The crafts include wood, copper, pottery, mosaic, porcelain, and the annual Sanibel Christmas ornament
BIG ARTS, which stands for Barrier Island Group for the Arts, is a cultural organization presenting everything from Jazz and Brahms concerts to classes in pottery. There are over 160 workshops and 20 concerts every year, as well as films and lectures. The BIG ARTS has a dance studio, art galleries and sculpture garden. Most events have a fee. Reservations for events and classes are necessary.