Conservancy of Southwest Florida announces summer programs

Parents looking for a fun and educational way for kids to spend time over the summer – consider the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is now offering new summer activities, including a Little Explorer pre-k programs, guided kayak tours, Junior Vet Lab, wildlife hospital exhibits and an environmental education lecture series.

Led by Conservancy representatives, guests will have the opportunity to come face-to-face with native reptiles, ocean cr
eatures, and occasionally catch a glimpse of rehabilitating wildlife. Daily Education Programs will begin from May 1 through Oct. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Wildlife Hospital Nursey Viewing Window.

Daily programs include:Photo 3

11 a.m. “Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window”

11:15 a.m. “Reptile Roundup”

12:15 p.m. “Wildlife Hospital Talk”

1:15 p.m. “Ocean Discoveries”

2 p.m. “Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window”

On the Water

Electric boat tours are also available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy a relaxing 45-minute ride on the mangrove lined Gordon River led by a Conservancy boat captain. Rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Boat Tours are included in price of admission to the Conservancy Nature Center, must be 2 years old to board electric boats.

In addition, kayak rentals for up to two hours, are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take a guided tour of the Gordon River or head out on your own and discover the hidden treasures of this brackish water habitat, which provides a perfect sanctuary for many native Florida species and explore the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. Kayak rentals and guided tours, reservations required.

Visitors can go on a 2-hPhoto 2our kayak adventure with a Conservancy-trained guide where they will learn about the importance of the mangrove forest while spotting Florida wildlife. Tours will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. for $40 for members and $50 for non-members, reservations required.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida will also offer a guided Boat and Lunch tours of the Gordon River on Fridays in May through September. Tours will depart at noon aboard one of its famous electric boats and stop for lunch at Wahoo’s River Bar and Grill. After your meal, guests will cruise back to the Conservancy’s Nature Center where they can explore the Dalton Discovery Center, the Little Explorer Play Zone and wildlife hospital exhibits, reservations required.

Little Explorers

The Little Explorers Pre-K programs will be offered Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m.  Little Explorer Play Zone provides the youngest visitors, the opportunity to explore nature and discover amazing animals through multi-sensory, interactive activities, stories, and crafts. No registration required. Admission is free for members and included in admission for non-members. Little Explorer Play Zone is most enjoyed by children 5 and younger. Summer programs include:

May 12; 14: A Color of His OwnPhoto 1

May 26; 28: Salty the Sea Turtle

June 9; 11: Over in the Forest

June 23; 25: House for Hermit Crabs

July 14; 16: Small Green Snake

July 28; 30: Where Should Turtle Be?

Aug. 11; 13: The Little Lazy Lizard

Aug. 25: Commotion in the Ocean

Adult Speakers Series

Free to Conservancy members, “Evenings at the Conservancy,” the monthly environmental education lecture series will continue on select Tuesday evenings. The series features a wide variety of presenters, eco-programs, panel members from the Conservancy, and local and regional environmental experts. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. Programs frequently sell out, please pre-register by emailing Sophia Navarra at sophian@conservancy.org or by calling 239-403-4207. Lecture topics include:

May 10: “Legislative Wrap Up” with Jennifer Hecker, Conservancy Director of Natural Resource Policy

June 14: “Invasive Reptiles in SWFL” featuring Ian Bartoszek, Conservancy biologist

July 12: “FWC Florida Manatee Research” with Denise Boyd, FWC Conservation Research Associate

Self-Guided Nature Center Tours

In addition to summer programs, the Conservancy Nature Center offers self-guided exploring. Visitors can explore the interactive Dalton Discovery Center, which features the wondrous ecosystems of Southwest Florida. They can discover live animals, get hands-on in the touch tank, and see Luna, the loggerhead sea turtle, in the 5,000-gallon aquarium.

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital treats more than 3,200 injured, sick and orphaned native animals each year. Discover threats facing our animals and injury prevention tips. Guided tours of the Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window are offered every day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Guests can walk through the hospital exhibits and check out a behind-the-scenes film, patient X-rays, animal artifacts, and the Jr. Vet Lab.Photo 4

The Junior Vet Lab is an interactive play space where children can learn how veterinarians care for animals, and the children can role-play with native animals (of the “stuffed” species). The Junior Vet Lab is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Nature Center’s Sapakie Family Classroom.

Special Celebration Days

May 7 will be Nature Cat Day, guests are encouraged to leave their inner house cat behind and explore the natural world, encounter animals, and enjoy interactive children’s activities based on the newest PBS Kids TV show “Nature Cat.”

On Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20 the Conservancy will celebrate Endangered Species Day to raise awareness about our must vulnerable species. There will be special activities throughout the day and special admission deals for Conservancy and Zoo members. Zoo members receive free admission to the Conservancy and Conservancy members get in free to the Zoo.

Summer at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will include special celebration days with family-friendly activities to celebrate our water, land and wildlife.

World Turtle Day – May 23: Celebration activities May 23-29

World Oceans Day – June 6: Celebration activities June 6-11

World Snake Day – July 16: Celebration activities July 11-16

World Lizard Day – Aug. 15: Celebration activities Aug. 15-20

 Free Admission Days

Mother’s Day, May 5-7: Free admission for Mom when accompanied by a paying guest.

Memorial Day, May 26-28 and May 30: Free admission for current and retired military with valid ID.

Father’s Day, June 16-18: Free admission for Dad when accompanied by a paying guest.

Independence Day, June 30-July 2: Free admission for current and retired military with valid ID.

Labor Day, Sept. 1-3: Free admission for First Responders with valid ID.

All Conservancy Nature Center programs and events are online at www.Conservancy.org/Nature-Center. Membership is available online at www.Conservancy.org/Join. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and to make reservations, call 239-262-0304 or visit www.Conservancy.org. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Pure Florida presents Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island Saturday, April 2

Edison Explorer

Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location will present an Eco-Cruise tour to Picnic Island on Saturday, April 2 from 8 – 11 a.m. The three-hour eco-adventure includes a narrated cruise along the Caloosahatchee River and a guided tour of Picnic Island, a natural, uninhabited island located between Sanibel and Pine Island.

During the Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island excursion, guests will have the opportunity to bask in the sunshine and experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. While discovering the island, explorers can enjoy leisurely walking amidst black and white mangroves, playing in sand, shelling and fishing. Visitors will also have the opportunity to observe wildlife native to the Caloosahatchee River and Picnic Island, including dolphins, manatee, birds and other animals and plants.

Eco-Cruise tours are guided by Coast Guard-certified captains and master naturalists and highlight the history of the Caloosahatchee River and the accomplishments of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford during their time spent at the nearby Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Registration for the tour is $44 per person, and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

The Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island is a popular attraction for voyagers of all ages. Guests are encouraged to bring bottled water and snacks aboard, soft drinks and alcohol are prohibited. Reservations are required. For more information or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email FortMyers@PureFL.com or visit the website at www.PureFL.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Pure Florida to offer St. Patrick’s Day cruises March 17

Pure Florida Cruise

In observation of St. Patrick’s Day, Pure Florida invites the Southwest Florida community to enjoy celebratory cruises on Thursday, March 17, setting sail from its Naples and Fort Myers locations at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., with sunset cruises departing one hour before sunset. Pure Florida’s St. Patrick’s Day cruises are available for $35 per passenger during the day and $37.50 for the sunset cruise at its Naples location, and $32 per passenger at its Fort Myers location. Throughout the day, drinks will be buy one get one free aboard any Pure Florida cruise.

Passengers cruising from Pure Florida’s Naples location will sail aboard the M/V Double Sunshine, traveling along the Gordon River while watching for dolphins. Guests visiting Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location will come aboard the M/V Edison Explorer, cruising along the Caloosahatchee River while watching for local birds as they return to their rookeries. Aboard the vessel, guests are invited to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Southwest Florida and observe the wildlife native to the region. Narration on local history, wildlife and ecology is provided by Coast Guard-certified captains, also master naturalists. Drinks will be available for purchase on-board the vessels, and snacks will also be available for purchase aboard the M/V Double Sunshine.

The M/V Double Sunshine departs from the historic Tin City, located at 1200 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers. Reservations are required. For more information on Pure Florida, or to register for a St. Patrick’s Day cruise, call Pure Florida’s Naples location at 239-263-4949, its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965 or visit www.PureFL.com.

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. announces vintners and chefs for The Grand Tasting at 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, tickets still available

2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest logo

Renowned vintners and Southwest Florida chefs have come together to support the mission of SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. through their involvement in The Grand Tasting at the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, taking place Saturday, Feb. 27 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club. Vintners and chefs participating in The Grand Tasting will offer delectable wines and special bite-sized dishes for guests to enjoy as they mingle prior to the Live Auction. Tickets to the Chef Vintner Dinners on Friday, Feb. 26 and to The Grand Tasting & Live Auction on Saturday, Feb. 27 are still available and can be purchased by calling 239-433-4260 or visit www.swflwinefest.org.

During The Grand Tasting & Live Auction, guests will sip and savor luxurious wines poured by vintners hailing from Northern California’s wine country. Participating vintners include Williams Selyem Winery as the Honored Signature Vintner, Benovia Winery, Dakota Shy, Gamble Family Vineyards, Carter Cellars, Checkerboard Vineyards, Husic Vineyards, Saint Helena Winery, Revana, V Madrone Cellars and BRAND Napa Valley.

Guests will also indulge in extraordinary culinary creations from Southwest Florida’s premier chefs. Chefs participating in 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest include Nico Bogert, Monkey Bar Steak & Seafood; Ryan Cook, The Veranda; Cristof Danzi, Cristof’s on McGregor; Tim Duque, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village; John Feagans, SS Hookers; Jason Grasty, Roy’s; Andrew Hunter, The Bayhouse; Andy Hyde, Chef Hyde Gourmet; Julian Lancrerot, Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club; Billy Mak, Blu Sushi; Keith Meyer, Trabue; Keith Nickerson, South Seas Island Resort; Brian Roland, Crave Culinaire; Thomas Sisson, South Seas Island Resort; Melissa Talmage, Sweet Melissa’s Café; and Anna Toole, Saboram.

“The 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will feature phenomenal wine and culinary masterpieces that will create a fabulous afternoon for guests to enjoy, all thanks to the many generous vintners and chefs that are donating their time, talents and resources to making this year’s event a success,” said Art Cherry, trustee and wine committee chair for SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. “We are very excited to offer such a unique selection of wines from the heart of wine country, while showcasing the best of our hometown’s flair for gastronomy, and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of the many young ones within our community.”

Following the Grand Tasting, guests will participate in the Live Auction, competing for the winning bid on a selection of 40 auction lots including exclusive getaways, delectable wine and culinary offerings and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, with all proceeds to benefit SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.’s beneficiaries, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University.

The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised and donated $12.8 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. donates 100 percent of the event proceeds to three local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, and the money raised helps to fund the building of the new family-centered children’s hospital that will provide new and expanded medical services and subspecialty services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition to providing funds for the new state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. supports pediatric health care programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

Cruise and Discover Matlacha Island Saturday, March 5 aboard Pure Florida’s M/V Edison Explorer

Photo 1_1

Pure Florida invites guests aboard the M/V Edison Explorer to Discover Matlacha Island during a special cruise to Pine Island on Saturday, March 5, from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. The day begins with a narrated cruise along the Caloosahatchee River and includes a guided tour of Matlacha Island. An old Florida fishing village, Matlacha Island is considered a “hidden gem” and is home to bright-colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants and more.

Photo 3_2

During the Discover Matlacha Island Cruise excursion, guests will have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida along the Caloosahatchee River and on the island of Matlacha. Upon arriving to the island, guests will be taken on a Taste of Matlacha Walking Tour, guided by True Tours, learning about the island’s unique history and enjoying a sampling of signature delicacies. Upon conclusion of the tour, guests may enjoy lunch at their leisure and visit the nearby shops and galleries. Local attractions include the Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens, where guests can tour the whimsical gardens and meet well-known Matlacha Island artist, Leoma Lovegrove. Following exploration, passengers can enjoy a peaceful return cruise on the M/V Edison Explorer.

Matlacha Island

Discover Matlacha Island Cruise tours are guided by Coast Guard-certified captains, also master naturalists, and highlight the history of the Caloosahatchee River and Matlacha Island. Registration for the tour is $64 per person. Lunch can be included for an additional charge of $12 per person. The M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

A complimentary bottle of water will be provided, and additional refreshments are available for purchase. Passengers are welcome to bring snacks aboard. Reservations are required. For more information, or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email FortMyers@PureFL.com or visit the Pure Florida website at www.PureFL.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Pure Florida presents Bark on the Ark Feb. 20

Photo 3_1

Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location is presenting Bark on the Ark on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 8 to 11 a.m. Guests will have the opportunity to bring their dogs aboard the M/V Edison Explorer for a sightseeing river cruise to Picnic Island, an island located between Sanibel and Pine Island that exhibits the natural beauty of Southwest Florida.

Photo 1_1

Passengers can enjoy a peaceful cruise along the Caloosahatchee River followed by a playful time on the island, socializing with man’s best friend. During the excursion, dogs and owners can run, swim and play catch while enjoying the sunshine, water, sand and fresh air.

Water, Frisbees and dog treats are included for the canines. Human treats, such as soda, wine and beer will also be available for purchase. The M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

Registration for the tour is $44 per human. Reservations are required as room is limited to 25 passengers and their pets. All dogs that can follow basic commands are welcome. For more information or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email FortMyers@PureFL.com or visit the website at www.PureFL.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Pure Florida to offer Valentine’s Day sunset cruises Feb. 14

Photo 2 (1)

In observation of Valentine’s Day, Pure Florida invites the Southwest Florida community to enjoy celebratory cruises on Sunday, Feb. 14, setting sail at 5:30 p.m. from its Naples and Fort Myers locations. Pure Florida’s Valentine’s Day sunset cruises are available for $37.50 per passenger at its Naples location, and $32 per passenger at its Fort Myers location, and each couple will receive one complimentary rose.

Passengers cruising from Pure Florida’s Naples location will sail aboard the M/V Double Sunshine, traveling along the Gordon River while watching for dolphins. Guests visiting Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location will cruise aboard the M/V Edison Explorer, cruising along the Caloosahatchee River while watching for local birds as they return to their rookeries. Aboard the vessel, guests are invited to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Southwest Florida and observe the wildlife native to the region. Narration on local history, wildlife and ecology is provided by Coast Guard-certified captains, also master naturalists. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase on-board.

The M/V Double Sunshine departs from the historic Tin City, located at 1200 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers. Reservations are required. For more information on Pure Florida, or to register for a Valentine’s Day sunset cruise, call Pure Florida’s Naples location at 239-263-4949, its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965 or visit www.PureFL.com.

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Design Studio by Raymond serves as venue for 2015 Foodie Camp Naples

Design Studio by Raymond’s Naples showroom recently served as a venue for two sessions of the Naples Originals’ 2015 Foodie Camp Naples, hosting Brian Roland, executive chef and owner of Crave Culinaire and his team of chefs, Blake Becker and Torrey Cardy. The culinary team presented guests with Photo 2a demonstration-style cooking class, featuring four courses of Crave Culinaire’s signature dishes. A portion of the proceeds benefited the Naples Originals Culinary Scholarship and St. Matthew’s House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to impacting the lives of others by providing housing for the homeless and food for those in need.

The inaugural Foodie Camp Naples event offered Southwest Florida a series of chef-led cooking classes providing guests the opportunity to learn from some of Naples’ most talented chefs, while supporting local initiatives. Utilizing Design Studio by Raymond’s fully-functional kitchen vignettes, Roland’s 90-minute demonstration-style cooking class offered an engaging and educational experience, where guests learned how to make a four-course meal and enjoyed tastings of the culinary creations. The demonstration featured innovative cooking techniques, including spherification, carbonation, sous vide and compression. Guests learned how to create Fig and Red Wine “Caviar,” Carbonated Watermelon and Wagyu Shortribs, finishing with a sweet dessert of Honey-Lavender Crème Custard.

“I love Design Studio by Raymond because they have a fully-equipped kitchen and beautiful backdrop,” Roland said when asked about his experience participating in events at Design Studio by Raymond’s Naples Showroom.

Design Studio by Raymond’s two-story, 8,500-square-foot loft-style showroom, located in the design district of Naples, offers fully-functioning kitchen vignettes accompanied by beautiful cabinetry with marble and granite counter space. Accommodating up to 150 guests, the showroom can serve as a venue for formal meetings, fundraisers, networking events, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and special demonstrations.

“The 2015 Foodie CaPhoto 1mp Naples was a hit in the Naples community, and we are honored that our showroom could serve as the venue for this charitable event,” said James Martin. “Our fully-functional kitchen vignettes and open showroom offer a lot of potential for a wide variety of events, and we truly enjoy having our location available for community, social and professional events.”

For more information on procuring Design Studio by Raymond’s Naples Showroom as an event venue, or to schedule a tour of the showroom, call 239-278-1334 or visit www.DesignStudiobyRaymond.com.

As part of the Raymond Building Supply family of companies, Design Studio by Raymond offers a diverse and comprehensive product selection and superior professional services. Backed by more than 50 years of industry experience, the design studio offers turnkey installation and contractor services, as well as support from trained industry professionals for a high-end one-stop shopping experience. The Design Studio by Raymond showroom has achieved recognition from industry leaders earning the “Best Of Houzz 2015” award for Design from Houzz, along with recognition in Collier Building Industry Association’s (CBIA) 2015 Sand Dollar Awards and ProSales Magazine’s 2015 ProSales Excellence Awards. The recently opened Naples showroom is located at 990 1st Ave. N., Naples 34102. Hours of operation and more information are available online at www.DesignStudiobyRaymond.com or by calling 239-278-1334.

Pure Florida presents Sunset Music Cruises in Naples and Fort Myers Friday, Dec. 18

Sunset Cruise

Pure Florida will offer Sunset Music Cruises on Friday, Dec. 18 at 4:30 p.m. departing from its Naples and Fort Myers locations. The 90-minute excursions will take passengers on a relaxing cruise featuring a live musical performance and the stunning Southwest Florida sunset.

Passengers cruising from Pure Florida’s Naples location will travel along the Gordon River and Naples coastline as the sun begins to set over the Gulf of Mexico. Aboard the M/V Double Sunshine, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scenery while listening to live music by Sunset Steel.

Guests visiting Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location will cruise aboard the M/V Edison Explorer, drifting along the Caloosahatchee River. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the evening scenery of downtown Fort Myers on the water and the beautiful bird rookery accompanied by live music.

Aboard the vessel, guests are invited to relax, have a drink and enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings, showcasing the unique wildlife native to Southwest Florida. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available for purchase on-board. Once out to sea, the captain will stop the vessel as the sun begins to set so that guests can enjoy the famed Southwest Florida sunset and take advantage of this premier photo opportunity. Once the sun has dropped below the horizon, the vessel will begin its return voyage, providing the opportunity for guests to enjoy the rich colors in the sky and twinkling evening lights on the river, set to the tune of the evening’s musical performance. Upon returning to the Pure Florida dock, guests can conclude their experience by exploring the local shops and restaurants of Tin City or downtown Fort Myers.

The M/V Double Sunshine departs from the historic Tin City, located at 1200 Fifth Ave. S. in Naples and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers. Reservations are required. For pricing and registration for the Sunset Music Cruises, contact Pure Florida’s Naples location at 239-263-4949 or Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965. For more information on Pure Florida and its cruises, visit www.PureFL.com.

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

Pure Florida presents Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island Saturday, Dec. 12

Edison Explorer

Pure Florida’s Fort Myers location will present an Eco-Cruise tour to Picnic Island on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. The three-hour eco-adventure includes a narrated cruise along the Caloosahatchee River and a guided tour of Picnic Island, a natural, uninhabited island located between Sanibel and Pine Island.

During the Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island excursion, guests will have the opportunity to bask in the sunshine and experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. While discovering the island, explorers can enjoy leisurely walking amidst black and white mangroves, playing in sand, shelling and fishing. Visitors will also have the opportunity to observe wildlife native to the Caloosahatchee River and Picnic Island, including dolphins, manatee, birds and other animals and plants.

Eco-Cruise tours are guided by Coast Guard-certified captains and master naturalists and highlight the history of the Caloosahatchee River and the accomplishments of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford during their time spent at the nearby Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Registration for the tour is $44 per person, and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

The Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island is a popular attraction for voyagers of all ages. Bottled water and light snacks will be provided and additional refreshments are available for purchase. Reservations are required. For more information or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email FortMyers@PureFL.com or visit the website at www.PureFL.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.