Reservations are being taken now for boat tours to Mound House and Mound Key. The pontoon boat Estero Bay Express II will leave Fish-Tale Marina at Fort Myers Beach for the Calusa sites beginning Oct. 4 and continuing through April 3, 2018.
The boat trips are a pleasant and enlightening way to experience the unspoiled nature of Southwest Florida today and imagine the Calusa people walking, fishing and simply living in this same area more than 2,000 years ago.
Passengers will board the 40-foot Sunsetter boat for a 90-minute adventure. The first stop is Mound House and its three-acre grounds and museum, and the second stop is Mound Key, known as the capital of the Calusa. At both sites, guests will learn about the rich history of the Calusa as well as new findings scientists are discovering about this ancient society. Passengers will leave the boat to tour both sites. While the bayfront, landscaped grounds and museum of Mound House are easy to walk, the hiking trails of Mound Key are rougher terrain.
A cooler full of ice will be on board, but guests should bring their own beverages. The Estero Bay Express II is equipped with a restroom and 35 people can fit comfortably aboard.
Reservations are required. The cost is $55 per person, or $50 for Mound House members. Call the Mound House at 239-765-0865 for more information and to secure reservations.
Trips are scheduled on the following dates and times:
-Wednesday, Oct. 4, 12:30 to 3:45 p.m.
-Sunday, Oct. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
-Friday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
-Monday, Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
-Tuesday, Jan. 30, 1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
-Tuesday, Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
-Tuesday, Feb. 27, 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.
-Tuesday, March 13, 12:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
-Wednesday, March 28, noon to 3:15 p.m.
-Tuesday, April 3, 2 to 5:30 p.m.
About Mound House: The oldest structure on Estero Island, the Mound House sits atop a 2,000-year-old shell mound left by the Calusa Indians. A museum on the grounds contains artifacts of these people as well as the later settlers, including Cuban fishermen.
The address is 451 Connecticut St., Fort Myers Beach. Parking is on-site; overflow parking is at 216 Connecticut St. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students with college ID; $5 for ages 6 to 12; free for children 5 and under. It’s open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 31.
For more information, including programs about art of the Calusa, guided tours of the museum, and family kayak trips, sunset kayak trips and others, go to moundhouse.org or call 239-765-0865.