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Parks & Recreation

Rotary Park Environmental Center

Location
Rotary Park Environmental Center
5505 Rose Garden Road
Cape Coral, FL 33914
Hours
Monday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Friday: 8:00am-4:00pm
Like the Rotary Park Facebook Page to see upcoming events/programs

PARK AMENITIES:
  • Environmental Center
  • Liam J. Perk Playground
  • Thomas J. Allen Butterfly House
  • Wagging Tails Dog Park (registration required)
  • Glover Bight Boardwalk & Observation Tower  
  • Picnic Shelters (3) w/ BBQ grills*
  • Nature Trails
  • Ponds
  • Butterfly and Native Gardens
  • Free Mulch (you haul)
  • Walking Path w/ Fitness Stations
  • Restrooms
Rotary Park has limited parking. Click here to view Rotary's overflow parking map

Consisting of 97 acres, Rotary Park is the result of funding from a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection stipulating the area be preserved in perpetuity. In the mid-1980’s, the Rotary Club of Cape Coral was looking for a worthwhile project where they could utilize the funds they raised through various activities on something to benefit the community. The site currently known as Rotary Park was then city property with no plans for development. After many years of hard work, Rotary Park opened to the public in 2001 as the result of the combined effort of three local Rotary Clubs, the Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Cape Coral. 


The upland area is occupied by the environmental center, butterfly house, dog park, playground, picnic shelters, and some open space for playing. The 4,200 square foot environmental center is used for a variety of programs, classes, and activities. This facility is available to rent for gatherings, as long as you don’t mind partying with a few creatures! The facility is home to an assortment of snakes, lizards, turtles, and fish, most of whom were unwanted pets that have been given up by their owners and now reside at the park. 

Get more information on Rotary Park by clicking on the links below for details on that topic and/or scroll down to see all details.

* Trails

* Butterfly House
* Playground
* Programs & Classes
* Excellent Events
* Florida Friendly Landscaping
* Birding
* Dog Park
* Little Free Libraries
* Kayaking


TRAILS

Please note - this preserve contains marshland and is very swampy at certain times of the year. That means be prepared for mosquitos when you visit

There are several rugged trails at Rotary Park and a boardwalk at Glover Bight which is a wheelchair accessible 3/10 mile boardwalk, located within Rotary Park.  The walkway meanders through mangrove wetlands and ends at Glover Bight, an area of oyster bars and shallow flats that is a great place to view wading birds, especially during low tide.

Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Rotary Park has a rugged trail that is less than one mile long and passes through uplands & salt marshes. Possible wildlife sightings include gopher tortoises, alligators, snakes and a large variety of wading & migratory birds. At times, sections of this trail may be under water, particularly during the rainy season, so visitors should wear appropriate footwear.

Also at Rotary Park is a trail known as the Glover Bight Trail. This is a boardwalk, so it is wheelchair accessible; it passes through mangrove wetlands and ends at Glover Bight. Glover Bight is a broad area of oyster bars & shallow flats that is a good area to view wading birds, especially during low tide. Both trails have observation towers that people can climb to get a bird’s eye view of the area. (Note: as of 2011 the tower at Rotary Park is no longer open to the public...as of 2019, unfortunately, there has no meaningful progress on revamping or replacing the tower) A good time of day to come to the park is early in the morning. Walk quietly for the best chance to see wildlife. Please keep in mind these are nature trails, so NO running, biking, or dogs are permitted on the trails.

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BUTTERFLY HOUSE

The Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly House was established in 2009 and is maintained by volunteers from the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. Access to the house is limited to the free guided tours, which are offered every Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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PROGRAMS & CLASSES
Numerous activities for children and adults are held at Rotary Park throughout the year. Yoga, butterfly gardening, informational programs about wildlife, paint-n-sip parties, summer camp, guided walking and paddling tours, and more. Please check the Parks & Recreation program guide to see the current schedule. 
Looking to come to Rotary Park for a field trip? Check out our rates & options here.

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PLAYGROUND

Visit the Liam J. Perk Playground or try out the exercise equipment sprinkled throughout the park. Please visit the Liam J. Perk Foundation website for Liam's story. http://www.liamjperkfoundation.org/


EXCELLENT EVENTS

Rotary Park plans several excellent events throughout the year, including the annual Burrowing Owl Festival, a semi-annual native, butterfly & edible plant sale, Just for Fun Dog Show, Family Camp Out at Jaycee Park, a Polynesian Show, Star Gazing party. Check the current program guide or Activity Calendar for details of upcoming events.

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FLORIDA FRIENDLY LANDSCAPING

The City of Cape Coral encourages all residents to embrace the University of Florida’s “Florida Yards & Neighborhoods” program. There are many free, informative classes held at Rotary.

To keep Florida beautiful and have clean water, it is important to minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides in our yards. One of the easiest ways to do that is to plant Florida friendly grasses, shrubs, and trees. This outreach program was designed to help residents learn how to create and maintain attractive landscapes that will help protect Florida’s natural resources. There are many free, informative classes held at Rotary Park. See the current Parks & Recreation program guide for the schedule.

For more information on Florida Friendly Landscaping, visit http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/

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BIRDING
Did you know Rotary Park is included in the Great Florida Birding Trail? See how many different kinds of birds you can spot on your next visit!

Visit the Ecotourism page of this website for more information on birdwatching and to see a list of birds that can be found in Cape Coral.

Recent sightings at Rotary Park include:acadian flycatcher, indigo bunting, rose-breated grosbeak, Swainson's thrush, scarlet tanager, green-winged teal, and more. Check out the Southwest Florida Bird Alert Facebook page for pictures and up-to-date sightings


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WAGGING TAILS DOG PARK

Pets are not permitted on athletic fields, playgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, nature trails, or boardwalks, but there is a dog park in Cape Coral located at Rotary Park for our four-legged friends. Wagging Tails Dog Park includes a 1.25 acre fenced in area for small and large dogs, as well as several park benches and shaded areas for owners to socialize while their pets play and interact with other dogs. Registration is required to use Cape Coral's only dog park. 

Registration Information:  The fee for fiscal year 2020 is $20 per dog. Registration for the dog park goes by the City's fiscal year, which runs annually from October 1 through September 30. No matter when you register, the registration will be paid through the end of September. There is no pro-rating or daily rate.

Click here for fiscal year 2020 registration form.

Completed forms and annual dues can be paid in the Rotary Park office from 8:00 a.m.  until 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, excluding government holidays and special events. For more information, call 239-549-4606.

Dog Obedience Classes
The City of Cape Coral partners with the Dog Obedience Club of Lee County to offer dog obedience lessons in the employee parking lot at Cape Coral City Hall several times throughout the year. Each session is nine weeks long and meets on Thursday evenings. People can register in advance with Parks and Recreation or just show up the first night of the session and register then. Registration begins at 7:00 p.m. the first night only, class regularly meets from 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. People should bring proof of up-to-date vaccinations for their dogs and be prepared to pay the class fee. http://www.doclc.com/  

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LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES
Visit our Little Free Library! Take a book • Return a book.
LFL's are currently located at Rotary Park, Four Freedoms Park, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, Jaycee Park, Sirenia Vista Park, and Kiwanis Park

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KAYAKING

Kayak rentals are available at Eco Preserve on weekends only from November through May. Single and tandem kayaks are available.
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Activity Calendar