Monthly Events

Monthly Events

Come Meet the Giant Sloth and other paleontological wonders of Southwest Florida!  There is never a charge for parking, and our low admission price includes a daily animal demonstration and three planetarium shows as well as the museum, trails, butterfly pavilion, aviary and animal enclosures.

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August Calendar at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

Weekly Events

Every Weekday M-F except holidays: NatureLab Summer Camp!  Ends Aug 9! To register online, visit (opens in new tab) http://calusanature.org/calusa-camp-general/

Every Friday, 11am – Solar Observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope Are there sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Planetarium volunteers and/or staff will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium at 11 am on Fridays, weather permitting.

Sundays, 12 noon-3 pm – Dog Day Afternoons
Bring your dog(s) to CNCP on Sundays between noon and 3:00 pm to walk the trails with you. The cost is $5 per human. Your dog(s) must be on a leash. They are not permitted to visit the museum, animals, or butterfly enclosure. Water is available: BYO bowl. We can’t wait to see you and your furry family member each and every Sunday!

Aug 2017 Daily Schedule

12:00 pm Fun “Stars: Life Cycle of the Universe” Planetarium Show #1

1:15 pm Live Animal Demonstration in the main Museum building

2:00 pm Planetarium Show #2: “To the Universe!”  Get ready to travel from the Earth and Solar System out to the farthest detected galaxies, and back!

3:00 pm Planetarium Show #3: “Cosmic Castaways” plus (optional) “Summer Stargazing” — or Potluck*  When galaxies collide, it’s not a big crash, more like a gravitational ballet! Will the Milky Way ever collide with another galaxy? (A: YES! in 4 billion years, but it’s a beautiful sight… come watch!)

*For detailed information about the planetarium shows, please see our listing on the Planetarium page. We show three different planetarium shows each day, and we have a live orientation to what you can see in our local night sky as the initial part of each show (this is our sneaky way of getting you dark-adapted!), followed by a fulldome planetarium “movie.”

The Month in Detail: stuff that happens in addition to the Daily Schedule

August is Membership Month at CNCP

Thursday, Aug 3 rd , 7:00 pm – Calusa Herpetological Society Monthly Meeting
Join the Herpers!
Meeting is held in the Iona House. Non-members pay $3 at the door. Dedicated to education, conservation and enjoyment of reptiles and amphibians. For details of this month’s meeting, please see http://www.calusaherp.org/calendar.htm

Thursday, Aug 3 rd , 7:30-9:30pm –  SW FL Astronomical Society Meeting: “Eclipse Preparation with Brian Risley”
Join the Astronomers! SW Florida Astronomical Society Pred=sident Brian Risley has been observing eclipses since the 80’s and will share with us the important safety and “how to make sure you have fun” information he has gathered painstakingly over that time: BE PREPARED to have fun! Presentation is preceded by a Society meeting. Free and open to the public. See http://www.theeyepiece.org/ for details.

Friday  Aug 4th , 11 am – Solar Observing (clear skies permitting) Live solar observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope Are there sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Planetarium volunteers and/or staff will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium at 11 am on Fridays, weather permitting. Included with admission.

*** THREE DAYS OF FORGOTTEN COAST! ***

Friday  Aug 4th , 3 pm – “The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida” Special Environmental Education Screening in the Planetarium We at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium are proud to present Florida Wildlife Corridor’s ‘The Forgotten Coast’ in place of the 3 pm planetarium show on Friday August 4th, Saturday August 5th and Sunday August 6th.  This special screening is the epic story of an expedition along Florida’s west coast from the Everglades to the Panhandle.  Run time is 56 minutes. Included with regular admission to the museum. For more information, see: http://floridawildlifecorridor.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/FloridaWildlifeCorridor/   This special screening takes the place of the 3 pm planetarium show today.

Saturday  Aug 5th , 3 pm – “The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida” Special Environmental Education Screening in the Planetarium We at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium are proud to present Florida Wildlife Corridor’s ‘The Forgotten Coast’ in place of the 3 pm planetarium show on Friday August 4th, Saturday August 5th and Sunday August 6th.  This special screening is the epic story of an expedition along Florida’s west coast from the Everglades to the Panhandle.  Run time is 56 minutes. Included with regular admission to the museum. For more information, see: http://floridawildlifecorridor.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/FloridaWildlifeCorridor/   This special screening takes the place of the 3 pm planetarium show today.

Saturday Aug 5th, 7:00pm – Fort Myers Aquarium Society Monthly Meeting and SECOND ANNUAL SWAP MEET!
Open to the public, for all aquarium enthusiasts at all skill levels, to share techniques, knowledge and friendships. Meeting is in the Iona House.  Visit https://www.fmas1.com for more details

Sunday,  Aug 6th 12:00-3:00pm Dog Day Afternoon
Bring your dog(s) to CNCP between noon and 3:00 pm to walk the trails with you. The cost is $5 per human. Your dog(s) must be on a leash. They are not permitted to visit the museum, animals, or butterfly enclosure. Water is available: BYO bowl. We can’t wait to see you and your furry family member each and every Sunday!

Sunday  Aug 6th , 3 pm – “The Forgotten Coast: Return to Wild Florida” Special Environmental Education Screening in the Planetarium We at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium are proud to present Florida Wildlife Corridor’s ‘The Forgotten Coast’ in place of the 3 pm planetarium show on Friday August 4th, Saturday August 5th and Sunday August 6th.  This special screening is the epic story of an expedition along Florida’s west coast from the Everglades to the Panhandle.  Run time is 56 minutes. Included with regular admission to the museum. For more information, see: http://floridawildlifecorridor.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/FloridaWildlifeCorridor/    This special screening takes the place of the 3 pm planetarium show today.

Thursday, Aug 10th , 6:30pm – SW Florida Photographic Society Monthly Meeting
Open to the public, for all photographers at all skill levels, to share techniques, knowledge and friendships. Meeting is in the Iona House. For details of this month’s meeting, see http://www.swflphotosociety.com/

Friday Aug 11th, 11 am – Solar Observing (clear skies permitting)
Live solar observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope Are there sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Planetarium volunteers and/or staff will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium at 11 am on Fridays, weather permitting.

Friday Aug 11th, 6 pm – “A Touch of Mars” Reception and VI-Preview The Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium (CNCP) is about to be one of only four places in the USA where visitors can experience direct Mars contact! CNCP is one of only four host-facilities in the USA that will offer the extremely rare opportunity to not only see a piece of the Red Planet, Mars, but also to touch it.  On Friday Night, AUGUST 11, you can be one of the FIRST to SEE and TOUCH the Heitz Mars Meteorite Exhibit. This special reception for our loyal supporters and new friends of CNCP will also feature with light fare and drinks, photo opportunity and meet-and-greet with Tim Heitz,the rare rock’s donor, who will also speak about his adventures meteorite hunting! You will also be treated to a short full-dome planetarium show on Mars.

Please support our event by attending this special reception, as it serves as a fundraiser for the CNCP mission to bring more unique educational “Wow!” opportunities to our Southwest Florida community.  $30 in Advance and $40 at the Door: Seating is limited, so to be sure of a seat, get your tickets today!


Saturday Aug 12th, 11 am-4pm – Experience Mars Exhibit Opening: Touch a Piece of Mars! On Saturday, August 12, the Experience Mars exhibit will be opened to the public, with all-day space-related activities (crafts, games, scavenger hunt, information table with SW Florida Astronomical Society, etc.) for all ages from 10am to 4pm, with the CNCP ‘special event’ entrance fees of $15/adults and $10/children (3-12 years).

Mr. Heitz is an adventurous soul who has been all over the world in search of these rare pieces of outer space — or in this case, a piece of an alien world. Heitz, owner of Midwest Meteorites (www.meteorman.org), has gifted only one other institution, the Saint Louis Science Center, with a piece of Mars that can be touched. The other two touchable exhibits are located at NASA Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, TX, and at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Now, Southwest Florida’s Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium is a permanent home to a touchable piece of Mars with the opening of the Heitz Mars Meteorite Exhibit.


Sunday, Aug 13th  12:00-3:00pm Dog Day Afternoon
Bring your dog(s) to CNCP between noon and 3:00 pm to walk the trails with you. The cost is $5 per human. Your dog(s) must be on a leash. They are not permitted to visit the museum, animals, or butterfly enclosure. Water is available: BYO bowl. We can’t wait to see you and your furry family member each and every Sunday!

Friday Aug 18th , 11 am – Solar Observing (clear skies permitting)
Live solar observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope Are there sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Planetarium volunteers and/or staff will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium at 11 am on Fridays, weather permitting.

Sunday, Aug 20th 12:00-3:00pm Dog Day Afternoon
Bring your dog(s) to CNCP between noon and 3:00 pm to walk the trails with you. The cost is $5 per human. Your dog(s) must be on a leash. They are not permitted to visit the museum, animals, or butterfly enclosure. Water is available: BYO bowl. We can’t wait to see you and your furry family member each and every Sunday!

Monday Aug 21st , 1:30 pm – 3:45 pm – Solar ECLIPSE Observing (clear skies permitting)
Eclipse Maximum is a 2:53 pm, please arrive earlier if you hope to get a glimpse through the special solar telescope. Live solar observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope: The Graesles will guide you to a view of the eclipse in detail as it progresses from 1:23 pm “first cotact” right through the maximum (78% coverage) at 2:53 pm, and back out the other side… PLUS eclipse glasses will be available for those who wish to watch the progress at real-scale when not looking through the telescope: due to extremely high demand, we have a limited number of these, so if you have your own, do bring them. DO NOT GAZE AT THE SUN WITH NAKED EYES. Will there be sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Nobody can be sure until the day arrives… Planetarium volunteers from the Southwest Florida Astronomical Society will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium for this rare event. If the skies do not cooperate, our Education Coordinator Walter Cheatham will attempt to stream the eclipse from NASA’s internet feed to a computer inside the planetarium: thank you, Walter! Planetarium Director Heather Preston will be live on the path of totality in Wyoming (results of that “remote” subject to technical considerations, we are not a TV network but we will try!) Detailed Schedule Here.

Friday Aug 25th, 11 am – Solar Observing (clear skies permitting)
Live solar observing using the Coronado Solar Telescope Are there sunspots today? Prominences? A flare? Planetarium volunteers and/or staff will show you the Sun “live” as few people get to see it. Catch our narrow-band filter’s detailed view of the Sun live on the platform in front of the planetarium at 11 am on Fridays, weather permitting.

Sunday, Aug 27th 12:00-3:00pm Dog Day Afternoon
Bring your dog(s) to CNCP between noon and 3:00 pm to walk the trails with you. The cost is $5 per human. Your dog(s) must be on a leash. They are not permitted to visit the museum, animals, or butterfly enclosure. Water is available: BYO bowl. We can’t wait to see you and your furry family member each and every Sunday!

What’s Up (besides fireworks) for August Skies: see http://calusanature.org/our-current-sky/ to find out about our beautiful SWFL night skies.

Coming Up Next In September:

Saturday, Sept 30 All Day: FRIENDLY FOREST FESTIVAL
Come celebrate the fall season at our family friendly weekend event. Sat., Sept 30 and Sun., Oct 1. from 11:00-3:00 each day. Activities include decorated trail hikes, nature themed crafts and games, animal presentations, and special planetarium shows. All included with regular admission. Members free. Fun activities for all ages!