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Learning about Local Life: Local Attractions Offer Educational Opportunities

Mar 09, 2022 10:36AM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

Southwest Florida offers an abundance of plants, animals, marine life, and birds with unique characteristics and habitats. Nature lovers can learn more about these local inhabitants and those that live beyond by visiting establishments dedicated to helping conserve, preserve, and celebrate life in many forms.  

At The Shell Factory in North Fort Myers, visitors can tour a nature park where permanent homes are offered to animals that are no longer healthy enough to live in the wild. “Over 400 critters, birds, reptiles, and fish inhabit the lush environment. There are aviaries, a gator slough, an ecological laboratory, a petting farm, and all manner of habitats and dwellings,” says Pam Cronin, who founded the Nature Park Environmental Education Foundation, now in its 15th year. The foundation aims to give the public experiences with plants and wildlife and offer nature-based educational experiences. Lee County school children are provided with transportation for field trips and education. Animals from an armadillo to a zebra call the Shell Factory’s Nature Park home.  


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 



Shell Factory and Nature Park 

16554 N. Cleveland Avenue, North Fort Myers 




IMAG - History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers