Arts, Culture & Science

There are lots of ways to kick back and relax or seek thrills in Lee County, whether it’s with outdoor recreation or gaming and entertainment . But when you want something a little more refined, there’s plenty of that to go around too. Check out these must-see cultural attractions in the Fort Myers Beach area.

Museums and Historical Sites

The rich history and scientifically significant past of southwest Florida are on display at a variety of attractions, including:

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

Learn about the wide variety of shells and mollusks found in Southwest Florida and around the world. There are over 30 shell exhibits, featuring rare and colorful specimens, and a variety of fun activities to take part in.

Historic Downtown Fort Myers

The rich history of Fort Myers is reflected in its downtown River District, which is home to historic buildings, cultural attractions and unique restaurants and boutiques.

Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium

The Calusa’s 105 acre site is home to a museum, three nature trails, a planetarium, butterfly and bird aviaries, picnic area, and gift shop. It’s a great place to learn about the diversity of wildlife in Florida and to explore the cosmos.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are responsible for some of the most important inventions in history and it just so happens that both of them made their winter homes in Fort Myers. Today, these 20 acres of estate grounds are open to the public and feature a variety of fascinating attractions including the Edison Ford Museum and Edison Botanic Research Lab.

Museum of the Islands

The history of Pine Island stretches back to the ancient histories of the peoples who inhabitant the island over 6000 years ago. Learn about the island’s fascinating history at the Museum of the Islands.

Southwest Florida Museum of History

Explore colorful and interactive exhibits focusing on everything from Seminole Indians to Dinosaurs to Rock and Roll. The museum also offers walking tours, which are a great way to a first-hand experience of Fort Myers culture and history.

USS Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef and Museum

28 nautical miles off of Sanibel Island is the final resting place of the USS Mohawk CGC, a sunken World War II warship which is now a designated memorial site to U.S. military veterans. Explore the sunken ship on a dive or visit the museum and learn about its history.

Performing Arts

Lee County has a thriving performing arts scene, including everything from musical theatre to classical symphony.

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

From Broadway shows to rock concerts to stand-up comedy, the Mann Performing Arts Hall hosts Fort Myers most high-profile performing arts events. It boasts great acoustics and almost always has a star-studded lineup of touring acts on its marquee.

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

Enjoy a delicious dinner and a Broadway musical under one roof at this intimate 100-seat dinner theatre.

Florida Repertory Theatre at the Arcade

Called “One of America’s top repertory companies”, the Florida rep stage their award-winning productions in the historic 393-seat Arcade Theatre, which has been loving restored to be one of the most striking performing arts venues in Fort Myers.

Murder Mystery Train

A truly unique experience in Fort Myers, the Murder Mystery train immerses you in a live and interactive murder mystery show while chefs prepare a five-course dinner for you to enjoy. In business for more than 20 years, this popular attraction keeps things fresh with an ever-changing lineup of new mysteries to excite passengers.

Southwest Florida Symphony

Their tagline is “World Class Music in Paradise”, which is very accurate. This talented orchestra hosts some of the world’s best guest conductors as they perform classical masterworks ranging from the classic to the contemporary.

Lee County Alliance for the Arts

Home to 3 art galleries, a 1,500 seat amphitheatre and a range of facilities for artists of every kind, the Alliance for the Arts is the place to go to feel in touch with the heart of Lee County’s arts scene.

Special Events

There are always exciting special events happening in Lee County. Some of the area’s top event venues include:

Lee Civic Center

Host to the Lee County Fair every February and host year-round to a variety of trade shows, markets and expos, there’s always something exciting happening at the Lee Civic Center.

Harborside Event Center

This extensive event facility in Fort Myers’ historic downtown is host to nearly 300 events every year, everything from conferences to weddings. It hosts events both public and private, including trade shows and expos.

Florida Gulf Coast University

This public, comprehensive university is home to a student body of over 14,000. With a thriving athletics program and vibrant cultural scene, there’s always something interesting and exciting happening on campus. Be sure to take in an FGCU Eagles game if you get the chance!
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