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Annual 'Celebrate Cayo Costa' day set for Nov. 3

October 31, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , FL Guide

The Friends of Cayo Costa will host their annual "Celebrate Cayo Costa" day from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Reservations are under way for the popular event that offers a look at the little island accessible only by boat.

"This is a great opportunity for Floridians and guests to visit the park and enjoy the unique qualities this pristine barrier island has to offer," Friends of Cayo Costa chairperson Elaine McLaughlin said. "The day will feature nature and beach tours of the island, crafts for kids and even a barbecue lunch from Bubba's."

The mission of Friends of Cayo Costa is to "preserve, protect and promote the unique unspoiled natural beauty and heritage of Cayo Costa State Park for present and future generations."

The island of Cayo Costa, which mean "Key by the Coast," is a barrier island located south of Boca Grande and west of Pine Island.

It is only accessible by passenger ferry or private boat.

Cayo Costa was inhabited for over 10,000 years by the Calusa Indians and several of their shell mounds still remain on the island. Randell Research Center is a Pine Island based research center dedicated to learning and teaching the archaeology and history of southwest Florida. RDC will have Calusa Indian artifacts on display.

There are several island walking tours scheduled. One is to the "pioneer family" cemetery where Capt. Peter Nelson is buried. Nelson was a Cayo Costa pioneer who helped start the first school in Lee County and the first school on Cayo Costa. Nelson also served as Cayo Costa postmaster.

CROW, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, will have live animal demonstrations. The CROW website identifies their "animal ambassadors" as Lola the American Kestrel, Talon the Red-tailed Hawk, Bashful the Virginia Possum and Mina the Great Horned Owl. CROW is a teaching hospital on Sanibel Island dedicated to saving wildlife.

"We are very excited that this year we'll have a barbecue lunch that is provided by Bubba's Roadhouse," McLaughlin said. "During lunch, entertainment will be provided by Sheena Brook. Ms. Brook is a Fort Myers Beach songwriter fresh from the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival."

Tickets are $40 for adults and $30 for children under the age of 12. Friends of Cayo Costa members receive a $10 discount per adult ticket.

"This is an affordable all-inclusive day," McLaughlin said. "Tickets include the round trip boat ride from any of the four departure points: Bokeelia, Boca Grande, Captiva and Punta Gorda. All activities and lunch are included. We also offer a free pass to visit another Florida State park."

Captiva Cruises, Tropic Star and Kingfisher Fleet tour boat services are sponsors of the event and are offering roundtrip transportation included with admission on a limited, first come first serve basis.

Boats have a limited capacity and attendees are encouraged to reserve early.

For reservations please call:

- Departures from Bokeelia 239-283-0015

- Departures from Boca Grande 239-472-5300

- Departures from Captiva 239-472-5300

- Departures from Punta Gorda 941-639-0969

Private boating parties are encouraged to attend and may purchase tickets on the Island. Dock space is limited and available on a first come first serve basis. The event will take place rain or shine.

The Friends of Cayo Costa State Park is based on Pine Island. FoCC is a division of Barrier Islands Park Society (BIPS), a 501c3 organization which is the official Citizens Support Organization for Cayo Costa, Gasparilla, Stump Pass, Don Pedro State Parks and Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum, the organization's Web site states.

All funds raised by FoCC will be used exclusively for Cayo Costa State Park.



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