Island Update

33rd Annual “Ding” Darling Day Conservation Carnival @ Lakes Park

Join in 2022 for our annual “Ding” Darling Day. This year’s family-centric event will be making the “great migration” across the Causeway to Lakes Park in Fort Myers to bring the Refuge to our local communities and a wider audience. The move is part of a larger Refuge System-wide Urban Initiative.

(schedule subject to change)

April 24th, 2022

  • 10 a.m. “Ding” Darling Day opens at Lakes Park. Check in at Welcome Table in Main Pavilion for free goodie bag (one per family) and information.
  • 10 a.m. Ranger-led Urban Birding for Beginners: 30 minutes, 20-guest maximum
  • 10 a.m. Caminata de Avistamiento de Aves: 30 minutos, 20 personas maximo
  • 10 a.m. Bring-Your-Own-Bike Tour: 1-mile loop, 1 hour, 10-guest maximum
  • 11 a.m. Mindfulness Walk: 30 minutes, 10-guest maximum
  • 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Free Southern SnoBalls: Main Pavilion, compliments of DDWS with proof of “Ding” Day participation (while supplies last)
  • 12 p.m. Ranger-led Urban Birding Walk: 30 minutes, 20-guest maximum
  • 12 p.m. Caminata de Avistamiento de Animales de Urbanos: 30 minutos, 20 personas maximo
  • 1 p.m. Nature Journaling Walk with Artist-in-Residence Rachel Pierce: 1 hour, 15-guest maximum
Island Update

RSW Airport news April 2022

New air service at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)

Breeze Airways: nonstop to Las Vegas (LAS) and Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), twice weekly, beginning June 11.
Eurowings Discover: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), weekly, year-round service

New flights at RSW
Sun Country: Duluth, Minn. (DLH), weekly; Green Bay, Wis. (GRB), weekly; Milwaukee (MKE), weekly; Rochester, Minn. (RST), weekly
United Airlines: Los Angeles (LAX), daily; San Francisco (SFO), daily

News from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)
Allegiant service from Akron, Ohio (CAK)

Island Update

Annual Easter Egg Hunt & Dolphin Cruise planned

Adventures in Paradise will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt & Dolphin Cruise on April 17 from 9 to 10:30 a.m., departing from dock “G” at the Port Sanibel Marina, located at 14341 Port Comfort Road in Fort Myers.

Take a ride aboard Dolphin Waters, a 45-foot Corinthian Power Catamaran, for a cruise between Sanibel and Captiva to “Easter Island”, otherwise known as Picnic Island. Sightsee along the way and learn about the local estuaries and wildlife, such as dolphins.

Upon reaching the island, experience an Easter egg hunt like never before with over 1,000 eggs. Easter pails and bottled water will be provided. Upon reaching the island, experience an Easter egg hunt like never before with over 1,000 eggs. Easter pails and bottled water will be provided

Island Update

Learn The Art of Fishing with Sanibel Sea School

Do you want to learn how to catch a snook from the beach or to tie a fly, or identify the species of fish that can be caught in your backyard pond? Join Sanibel Sea School this summer for a week of sandy feet and tight lines June 13-17 during “Let’s Go Fishin

Sanibel and Captiva offer some of the best fishing in Southwest Florida. Fishing is both a skill and an art and students will have the opportunity to experience both during this fun-filled week. Teens will be introduced to different forms of fishing, learn to identify common species, and become familiar with fish behavior. Both fresh- and saltwater techniques will be introduced. There won’t be an inch of the island left unfished — campers will hone their skills from shore and by kayak and boat.

Local experts will participate during the week to share their wisdom and guide campers on excursions. You won’t want to miss out! This is an introductory course to a fun outdoor activity that everyone can enjoy for a lifetime. The cost is $400 per camper.

Register for “Let’s Go Fishing Week” at Fishing Camp Sign-up. Call (239) 472-8585 or email sanibelseaschool@sccf.org for more information.

Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.

Island Update

Sanibel Recreation Center Hosts Open House: Recreation Reimagined

You are invited to join your neighbors and friends at the Sanibel Recreation Center Open House on Saturday, April 9 (2-4 p.m.). Enjoy free and fun family-friendly activities while participating in the “Recreation Reimagined” community conversation. The Leisure pool and Splash Pad will be open. There will be free food, music, and games for the whole family!

Participate in the Community Conversation:
Take part in the Sanibel Recreation Comprehensive Assessment: Share your ideas and comments at “charrette” stations that will be set up in the Gym. Drop by anytime during the open house and visit all four “stations” at your leisure.
Public participation and your input will be a key component of the study and will help to inform decisions that will guide the future development of the City’s recreation facilities and services.
The goal is to reimagine all areas of Sanibel’s Recreation Department (Recreation Center, Center4Life, and outdoor sports programs) to best meet the recreation needs of all residents (youth, adults, and seniors).

Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities at the Recreation Center:
Recreation staff will be available to supervise your children during activities so that you can take part in this important community conversation. The Leisure pool and Splash Pad will be open for family swim time with lifeguards. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 years in the pool.
The Spoonbill Room will have crafts and a Foosball table, and there will be sidewalk chalk and an open playground for the children.
The Kiwanis Club of Sanibel will be serving free hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks! Enter the FREE Raffle to win a Tote Bag filled with goodies! Tours of the Recreation Center will available, too.

Farmer’s Market:
Can’t make the Open House? Visit the project booth at Sunday’s Farmers Market (April 10th, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.) to share your input on various topics/questions with the BerryDunn project team.
You can also enter the free raffle to win the Tote Bag.

Participate online:
Click Here to also participate online, using three exciting tools that can be found on the “Social Pinpoint” community engagement platform designed for this project.[Note: Use the Chrome Browser to access this website.] Thank you for participating in this important community conversation.

Island Update

RSW Airport News March 2022

  • New air service at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
    Air Transat: Montreal (YUL), weekly, seasonal service
  • Eurowings Discover: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), weekly, year-round service starts March 28

New flights at RSW

  • Sun Country: Duluth, Minn. (DLH), weekly; Green Bay, Wis. (GRB), weekly; Milwaukee (MKE), weekly; Rochester, Minn. (RST), weekly
  • United Airlines: Los Angeles (LAX), daily; San Francisco (SFO), daily

News from Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)

  • Allegiant service from Akron, Ohio (CAK), begins March 2
Island Update

85th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival

Sanibel Island has some of the best beaches in the world for finding seashells. Every March, the island holds the world’s longest-running Shell Festival. Experts and novices alike compete in craft competitions during the festival.

It’s all about shells with shell art, crafts, pies and cakes, judged artistic and scientific exhibits. There is a $5 donation, free parking and lots of great raffle items. Sponsored by the Sanibel Community Association and Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club.

For more details, visit https://www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net/ or https://sanibelshellclub.com/.


  • What: 85th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival
  • When: March 3-5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: The Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
  • Details: Admission is free, with a requested $5 donation to access indoor activities

Click here for the entire article

Island Update

Sanibel Traffic, Beach Parking Sales Break Records Last Year

Sanibel experienced exceptional traffic last year, as beach parking sales rose to an all-time high and persisted to surpass records in January.
As per the causeway toll report, 3.5 million vehicles crossed the Sanibel Causeway bridge last year surpassing the annual records. Despite declines in January and February, traffic on the island was up 19 percent compared to the last year and 5.5 percent more than before the COVID pandemic in 2019.
The number of vehicles counted at the toll booth in December surpassed 300,000 for the first time, which also occurred in May, June, and July. December traffic was 13.62 percent higher or 36,835 more vehicles than the same month last year and 7 percent higher than in 2019.
In November 2021, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau reported record summer tourism numbers for Lee County. The study showed 27 percent of the nearly 1.2 million visitors to the county between July and September stayed on Sanibel.
The report also reveals that the number one attraction on the island is the beach. CFO Steve Chaipel told councilors at their February meeting that sales of beach parking spaces reached a historic high in the city in fiscal year 2021, which ran from October to September and continue to break records for the fiscal year 2022.
The city earned $1.2 million in beach parking sales in FY2022, a 40 percent increase in October, a 21.79 percent increase in November, and a 45.9 percent increase in December compared to the same months in 2019. January increased by nearly 25 percent over January 2021.
Beach parking permit sales also increased from $172,047 in FY2020 to $208,147 in FY2021.
Visitors looking to avoid standing in traffic on Sanibel Island can download the free Sanibel Bound app, which gives real-time traffic updates, or watch a live video stream of the Sanibel Causeway and Periwinkle intersections. Both are available on the city’s website.

Island Update

Captiva Island Yacht Club undergoes renovation

The 33-year-old Captiva Island Yacht Club has undergone total renovation recently. Stevens Construction completed this project which included demolition of the interior and a transformation of the main dining area, Founder’s Room, office space, commercial kitchen, new electrical and mechanical systems, exterior siding, windows, doors, pergolas, and a new roof. One of the main features of this project was to bring the coastal colors of the sea and island into the building. Amy Nowacki Architect was both an architect and an interior designer.

Click here for the entire article

Island Update

Acclaimed Pianist Launches Season

Pianist John Nakamatsu launches the 35th anniversary season of the Sanibel Music Festival on Saturday, March 5th at 7:30 pm. Gold medal winner of the 1977 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Mr. Nakamatsu has toured with many leading conductors and orchestras. In addition, he is an artist in residence at the highly selective Chautauqua Piano Program.

Tickets are on Sale at www.sanibelmusicfestival.org; at Bank of The Island on Sanibel, 1699 Periwinkle Way; by mail to Sanibel Music Festival, P.O. 1623, Sanibel, FL 33957, or by phone at 239.344.7025. Nakamatsu will perform at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.