FGCU Trails For Tails Students Tour Lover’s Key State Park Welcome and Discovery Center

Written by Lea Manniello FGCU Trails For Tails Program Student

After 10 years of imagining and planning for the future on how to get people to be more interactive with the park, the FOLKS (Friends of Lovers Key) and Lover’s Key State Park are proud to announce the opening of their Welcome and Discovery Center this spring.

This center will educate park visitors on some of the different species within the park and overall facts about the park. The center will also include a Community Room with sliding glass doors that open up to reveal the surreal landscape of the park allowing you to take in its breath-taking views without getting a mysterious tan line in the process. The Community Room can be rented for classes, meetings, parties, the most beautiful wedding receptions, and so much more.

Members of Florida Gulf Coast University’s service-learning class, Trails for Tails, got a sneak peak of the center on Saturday, Feb. 6. The class toured the new Welcome & Discovery Center and got to see the newly installed Phase 1 exhibits inside the new Exhibit Hall. The students will continue to work with the park throughout the semester to help educate the public about Lover’s Key State Park and why the work that they do is so important.

The students, some new and some returning from previous semesters, were amazed at the work that was being done at the center. One student marveled at how dedicated Lover’s Key State Park is to being sustainable, even in construction. “I love how the construction was made to be sustainable, for example they are using low lumen turtle friendly lighting inside and outside the new building.”

Another was amazed at how the indoor, outdoor design really brings out the best of Lover’s Key. “This center allows us to have this unique learning experience that is really only something you can find at Lover’s Key.”

Trails for Tails is now in its second-year partnership with Lover’s Key State Park and the students continue to advocate for the park, while doing hands-on work with their direct service days, creating social media posts, writing newsletter articles, and making signs for the park trails. This semester the class will partner with the Lee County Native Plant Society to start the planting of native species surrounding the Discovery Center that will promote a healthy ecosystem

If you want to experience all of the great activities and features of the park, including breathtaking beaches and miles of trails, come visit Lover’s Key State Park anytime. The park is located at 8700 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931.

Open 8am to sunset, 365 days a year, Park entrance fees are: $2 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass, $4 Single Occupant Vehicle and Motorcycles, $8 per vehicle – limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

Visit their website https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/lovers-key-state-park
for ways to get involved and how to plan the perfect park visit.

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Hannah Long

Hannah Long

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