On Flag Day, Thursday, June 14, there will be two large events at the Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers, with more to come over Father's Day weekend.
First, on Thursday, there will be a special dedication on the new Rain Forest Exhibit at the Nature Park. Following that, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott will be on hand for a special Flag Day celebration.
At 10 a.m. attendees can join Lee County Commission Chair John Manning in a special proclamation and dedication for "The Rain Forest."
"The Rain Forest is a new attraction at the Shell Factory Nature Park," said Marketing Director Rick Tupper. "It's a walkway with misters, and lots of plants and animals," he said. "It's meant to simulate a tropical rain forest."
Karen Schneider is the Nature Park director.
"The Rain Forest is already attracting native wildlife that is free to come and go in the park. This is from cardinals to bluejays to the occasional heron that visits the gator pit for snacks. Not to mention anoles (lizards), butterflies and possibly a black snake or two," she said.
A special, new and colorful hand-carved bench called the Parrot Bench has just been installed; it features painted macaws.
Young Cape Coral residents Anthony and Gianna Goodwin visited the Shell Factory Nature Park last week, and were excited about the new Rain Forest after a preview. They came with their great-grandmother, Frannie Ryan of Cape Coral.
"It's going to be a wonderful experience," said Ryan. "And it will be cool because of the misters."
Admission that day, including when there is Manning's dedication, will be half price for all to the Nature Park; adults $6, seniors $5, kids $4, 3 and under free. The dedication will take place in the Nature Park.
Then, at 11 a.m. Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and the Department Honor Guard will present the colors for a Flag Day ceremony.
"The Shell Factory is proud to be part of this patriotic day," said Tupper.
There also will be a coloring contest, with great prizes for kids and more.
"Call, check the website or ask any Shell Factory Employee for details," Tupper said.
"One of my favorite parts is that Sheriff Scott will award the prizes for the coloring contest," said Shell Factory owner Pam Cronin. "As a child, it sets such a great precedent that this is something that the children will remember."
These activities are all part of the formal Shell Factory & Nature Park 75th Anniversary Celebration.
And that's not all.
"If you are just looking for a laid-back evening out, on Friday, June 15, there will be an All U Can Eat Fish Fry for $9.95 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m with The Certified Band at the Swamp Bar," a popular and talented band.
Then on Saturday, June 16, at 9 a.m. there will be a Dock Dog Exhibition from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"You can submit your best 'Dog Days of Summer' photos for a contest that day to Dogbones Cafe in the Shell Factory," said Tupper. "There will be a $100 prize."
At 3 p.m., there will be karaoke at Dogbones, followed by a big Doggy Parade at 4 p.m.
"That will be held at Doggy Heaven Dog Park, a free dog park open to the community," Tupper said.
Then on Sunday, June 17, Wiener Dog Races will be held there at 9 a.m., along with a Dock Dog Exhibition at the same time.
At 10 a.m. there will be a Father/Son Mini Golf Tournament, open to all for Father's Day.
"We also have a special Father's Day Menu all day long, featuring barbecue and shrimp."
Doggy Church is also open Father's Day at 12:30 p.m. where you can bring your pooch for a 30-minute service.
The band Top Shelf will play at the Swamp bar at 3 p.m. for a Father's Day Hospitality Happy Hour.
"That's where hospitality workers get special discounts," Tupper said.
"As a community icon, the Shell Factory has provided great memories and hope all that visit over these four days have a great time, and more memories."
The Shell Factory & Nature Park is at 2178 N. Tamiami Trail.
The phone number is 99-2141 and website shellfactory.com