Up the Bay With a Paddle


Looking for a fun, outdoor, natural way to spend a portion of your upcoming Holiday week? Then head to the iconic Mound House for a kayak ecotour of Estero Bay!

Explore the winding mangrove creeks and hidden backwaters of the bay as you can only on a kayak. Dexter Norris, biologist, naturalist, and new environmental educator for the Mound House, leads the dynamic ecotours. Experience the abundant natural beauty of the ancient realm of the Calusa Indians. Search for birds, fish, manatee, and dolphins as you paddle through the Estero and Hell Peckney Bays in a tandem kayak. Conditions permitting, tours will stop at Dog Key, an archeological site. The Mound House conducts its programs in accordance with the Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism guidelines.

“This is a perfect outing for families with children age 12 and up,” says Mound House Museum director Alison Giesen. “Kids are out of school, and residents often have company in town. We can accommodate private tours as well. This is the ideal way to experience all the Mound House has to offer.”

Kayak tours are Wednesday, December 28, and Saturday, December 31, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to Noon. Cost is $45 per person, or $15 if you are a Mound House member, and includes all paddling equipment and Mound House admission. Kayakers must be 12 years of age or older, be able to swim, walk over slopped and rough terrain, embark and disembark from a tandem kayak, and paddle for up to 3 hours. There is a maximum of 12 participants per tour, with a parent or guardian accompanying all children.

Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent; if you forget these, all are available for purchase at the Museum Store. Wear water or covered shoes; no flip-flops or sandals. You will get wet muddy feet – and love doing so! Bring dry clothing for after the trip, with changing facilities available on-site.

The Mound House requires reservations for the kayak ecotours in advance at 239-785-0865; for more information see www.moundhouse.org.

The Mound House, Estero Island’s oldest standing structure now owned by the Town of Fort Myers Beach and restored to its 1921 grandeur, opened to the public on November 14, 2015, as a cultural and environmental learning center. Admission is $10 for ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free. It is open May through December Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and January through April from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Mound House is at 451 Connecticut Street, with additional parking at 216 Connecticut.

Enjoy your Holidays with a Mound House kayak eco-tour!