Animal lovers have a few reasons to rejoice. The Naples Zoo became home to four orangutans from ZooTampa–DeeDee, RanDee, Dira, and Riplee. See the family near the zoo’s new South American Trail exhibit that includes tapir, capybara and toucans. In addition, the zoo’s new-and-improved welcome center opens in spring 2024. For more alfresco fun, check out The Roost at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The $1 million outdoor classroom offers a chic space for art shows, mindfulness classes, puppet shows, live music and more creative ways to promote conservation through the arts.
For farm-to-table aficionados, Bonita Springs’ Farmer Mike’s U Pick brings its bounty of fresh foods and seasonal festivities to Fort Myers with a new 55-acre location on Gladiolus Drive. The father-son duo who started the farm 25 years ago have big plans for the original Bonita location, too, in the form of an enclosed market and farm-to-table restaurant in the works. In the meantime, we’ll be picking up pumpkin and decking the halls at both locations’ fall and Christmas festivals.
Golfers should make note of Saltleaf Golf Preserve along Estero Bay. The 18-hole championship course and separate 9-hole course feel more like a nature preserve with their pine forest trails, marsh views and minimally altered landscape. Further south, the 18-hole private course at Kinsale Golf Club in North Naples near Kalea Bay is scheduled to open in the fall of 2024.
And for those rainy days in the Sunshine State: Silverspot Cinema is out; Alamo Drafthouse is in at Mercato, starting early 2024. The Austin-based chain is known for its dine-in movie service with craft beers, burgers and the like. Further south, if you haven’t been, now might be the time to revisit Tin City, which reopened over the summer after flooding from Ian, looking better than ever.