A Place To Play, Learn And Grow

The Glazer Children’s Museum hosts a wide variety of interactive exhibits with topics ranging from the deep ocean to deep space, which kids can play with to understand the world around them. Open year-round, the museum is constantly cycling through new events to make every visit a unique experience.

“As far as the events go, it’s an all staff kind of opinions. All of us continue to feed our opinions as to what will work and what caters to the families in which we serve,” said Alyssa Ortiz, marketing and communications manager at Glazer.

Frequent visitors to the museum have the option to purchase memberships. According to the museum website,  members gain access to special features, including: invitations to member-only events and previews, discounts to partnering organizations, museums, and aquariums, three dollars off general admission for guests and more.

For visitors that frequent the museum less often, there are still many activities that all children can enjoy.

“I love bringing my daughter to the museum because the museum offers so many different activities for her to learn and do,” said Vu Lieu, a visitor at the Glazer Children’s Museum.

Parents can be confident that their children will enjoy learning through interactions with various activities in a safe, controlled environment.

Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum and start the journey to a bright future.

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Photo courtesy of the Glazer Children’s Museum website.

A Factory’s Support For The Children

A Factory’s support for the Children

Pam and Tom Cronin, owners of the Shell Factory, spent years renovating and redesigning the park with families in mind- especially the kids. Field trips to the park are welcomed, and the Cronin’s are willing to help teachers overcome any obstacles to make the trips possible for the students.  

“When Lee county stopped supplying school buses for the kids for field trips, Tom and Pam Cronin decided they would do it. So we pay for all the kids to come here,” Anne Sheridan, the Shell Factory general manager, said.

During these sponsored field trips, students get to experience nature up close in the Nature Park. According to the website, the Nature Park includes over 400 wild animals; aviaries filled with different types of birds, tortoises, turtles and iguanas; an Eco Lab for exotic snakes and more. Gator biscuits are also available for visitors to toss out to the alligators that live within the park.

Our Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation has raised capital sufficient to fund field trips for over four thousand school children who otherwise would have been unable to visit the attraction,” The Cronins said on their website.

The park, however, is still growing and changing every year.

“As a work in progress the Nature Park is always expanding, improving, and acquiring new inhabitants,” according to the Shell Factory’s website.

Pam and Tom also host special events outside of school functions on the property. Weddings and corporate meetings can utilized one of two special rooms in the park- the Dolphin room and the Party Room- as well as birthday parties or other celebrations.

The factory was voted best shell store by North Fort Myers in both 2014 and 2015. Years in the making, the Shell Factory has become one of the best places in South Florida for locals and tourists alike.

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Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Safari Wilderness Ranch offers a wild time

Lakeland, FLA.- Safari Wilderness Ranch welcomes people to take a tour to see a variety of animals from around the world and to be educated about these animals through personal interactions. The Ranch’s family friendly atmosphere and interactive activities provide visitors with a hands-on experience aimed at raising awareness about the animals both at the ranch and in the wild.

“We really want to see people come out here, and see these animals and make the connection.” said J.J., an employee at Safari Wilderness. “And then whenever it’s time to protect these animals in the wild and keep them from disappearing, they’re more apt to do that if they’ve come out here and made a connection themselves.”

Children are an important audience for the ranch. During the springtime, many field trips are brought to the Safari for tours and to educate the children about the animals.

“They seem to really enjoy it. We are very kid friendly.” J.J. said.

The employees at Safari Wilderness also continue learning more about the animals by observing them in their natural habitats and by sharing information with each other.

“It was a first time experience for me, out here with the water buffalo.” said Devon, the newest employee at Safari Wilderness.

Tours are given through the visitor’s choice of vehicle, horse-drawn carriage or camel rides, according to the website.

Private tours are also available for a more one-on-one learning experience. All tours are reservation only and tours run at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Reservations can be made on the Safari Wilderness website.

The Safari also hosts special events like birthday parties, baby showers, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Christenings, graduation parties and more that can be booked on the website.

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Photo courtesy of Safari Wilderness

Copperfish Books finds home in downtown Punta Gorda

Cathy Graham opened her small business- Copperfish Books and Gifts- about three years ago with the goal to sell books and become closer to the community. Previously unable to establish her store downtown, Copperfish Books and Gifts is finally making its move to her intended location.

“I opened the store because I wanted to do more than just work out of my garage and run around in different directions.” Graham said. “You know, kind of become part of the community.”

Originally, downtown was the ideal location where Graham wanted to open her store. She expects more customers upon the move to the more populated area of the small town.

“We’ve always wanted to be downtown, but there was never space available.” Graham said.

The winter season is especially important for small businesses to earn significant profit.

“There’s a summertime here in Florida, and in Southwest Florida summertime is quite slow,” said Jerry Presseller, director of the Downtown Merchants Association in Punta Gorda.

Even in its new location, the goals of Copperfish are the same: attract customers and become part of Punta Gorda’s small town community.

“That’s the fun thing about owning a business, relationship building. It’s nice in a small town too, because you get to know people and they become regulars,” Graham said.

According to the Copperfish website, the store will officially move to 103 W. Marion Avenue, Main Street, as of March 1, 2016. A grand opening event will be held at 10 a.m. on March 5th.