Spring Is A Beautiful Time In Marco Island

Spring Is A Beautiful Time In Marco Island

The Beauty of a Marco Island Spring

Spring is a beautiful time in Marco Island.  There are many flowering shrubs and trees in bloom right now around Marco Island.

The tabebuia heterophylla or pink tabebuia is a variety that will grow to 50 feet. There is also a dwarf variety, T. bahamensis, which will only grow to seven feet. This is the variety you see blooming right now in the medians.

The tabebuia caraiba is a beautiful, yellow tree that blooms along our streets. The tree is deciduous in winter and will make quite a mess while losing its leaves. The reward is the bell shaped, yellow flower produced in profuse clusters before the new foliage forms. They prefer full sun, average moisture and good drainage. No pests bother this tree.

The Hong Kong orchid tree has an orchid like flower six inches wide and rose-purple in color. The flower has a delightful scent which fills the air around the tree. They are an open, spreading shade tree which will grow to 35 or 40 feet in height with a 30 foot spread. The tree is evergreen but loses some leaves when in bloom. There is also a pure white flowered variety, B. purpurea candida, which they have planted along with the pink tabs in the medians.

Marco Island Farmer's MarketThe frangipani plumeria is another fragrant tree which fills the air with a nice, light scent. The flower is used to make the Hawaiian lei. They are a small broad crowned tree which will grow to 20 feet in height with a 15 to 20 foot spread. The flowers come in yellow, pink or white. They lose their leaves in the fall although there is a variety that does not defoliate. The stiff, thick branches are interesting with no foliage until they begin to flower in spring and summer.

The Confederate Jasmine is a woody vine with pure white, one-inch fragrant flowers. They will grow to 20 feet if supported with arbors or trellises. This vine can also be trained in espalier fashion. The Jasmine Minima is a dwarf ground cover variety and lacks the fragrant flowers. San Marco Villas on San Marco Road has beds of this jasmine throughout the front landscaping. You can smell it in the air when you drive by.

The gardenia is a rounded shrub which will grow to eight feet tall by six feet wide. They produce handsome, white flowers up to five inches wide in the spring and early summer. The gardenia is valued especially for its fragrance.

The bougainvillea is also entering the height of its flowering season. It has had a setback because of the desiccating winds of the last two cold fronts.

These are just some of the flowering shrubs and trees which help to make Marco and all of Southwest Florida a colorful place to be.  Spring time in Marco Island is very special and we hope you get to experience it!

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
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Marco Island Day Trip: Take a Big Cypress Swamp Walk

Marco Island Day Trip: Take a Big Cypress Swamp Walk

Marco Island Day Trip: Take a Big Cypress Swamp Walk

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For the more adventurous of our Sea Mar Condo guests, what about a Swamp Walk?  I have to admit I haven’t done this and probably will not.  However,  I do know people that have done this and loved it.  I hear the photography opportunities are awesome in  the Big Cypress area.

Take a Big Cypress Swamp Walk
(239) 695-2428

Tours are located behind Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery along the scenic Tamiami Trail (U.S.41) about half mile east of the Big Cypress National Preserve Oasis Visitor Center.

Ok…For those of you who are ready for some adventure…here it is!

A Big Cypress Swamp walk is a getaway and a thrill! Clyde Butcher, an Everglades photographer, leads a guides eco-swamp tour through the swamps of Big Cypress National Preserve behind his gallery. Traverse through a rarely seen world, one with vibrant colors and mysterious sounds while experiencing the serenity of nature in the purest form.

This is a leisurely eco-tour tailored to match your interests and physical ability. Walks are approximately 2 hours long. Clothing suggested is long pants, hat, and old tennis shoes. Also bring bug spray, water bottle, lunch or snacks, and a complete change of clothes.

Rates: Two people – $125 each, Three people $117 each, For people $95 each.

Marco Island Pickleball Popularity – Pickleball at South Seas Marco Island

Marco Island Pickleball Popularity – Pickleball at South Seas Marco Island

Marco Island Pickleball Popularity – Pickleball at South Seas Marco Island

Pickleball Popularity

PickleballSouth Seas Resort has Pickleball courts for our guests at Sea Mar Condo….but what is Pickleball? If you are like me, I had never heard of this sport until a couple of years ago.

What is “thocking” and “plocking”? Those words come to mind when watching pickleball players using paddle bats and “wiffle”-like plastic balls as they enjoy one of the country’s fastest growing sports.

The thocks and plocks are the sounds of paddles hitting balls in a game similar to tennis, but which is played on a smaller court and relies less on covering distance than on fast reflexes.

It’s a game about strategy and placement of the ball. A lot of strength is not required since the ball doesn’t have to be hit hard, thus making it a game of  fun for all ages.

The sport is played with a paddle and was created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.

The Basics of Pickleball:

*A fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
*Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly
modified tennis net.
*Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
*Played as doubles or singles.

A Game for Everyone:

According to USAPA.org, there are over 15,000 indoor and outdoor courts in the United States; and at least one location in all 50 states. Pickleball is being introduced to teenagers in physical education classes in middle and high schools. And though the sport has become more competitive through the years, many players enjoy the social aspects of the game and the ability to stay active in their own towns and communities. Many retirement locations have adopted pickleball as an integrated sports activity for their population of residents. Tennis, racquetball and ping pong players love the competitive nature of the sport and regularly participate in local, regional, and national tournaments.

The History of Pickleball:

The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island. It has evolved from original handmade equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout the US and Canada. The game is growing internationally as well, in many European and Asian countries.

Why Call it “Pickleball?”

Pickleball has a very interesting name (no pickles are used). The game may have been named after the inventor’s (Joel Pritchard) cocker spaniel, named “Pickles”, who used to chase the ball and run off with it.

The Pickleball Court

The game court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. The same court is used for both singles and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the “kitchen”).

Pickleball Equipment

Pickleball BallsEach player has a paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. Players also need a net and a pickleball. The ball is unique, with holes through it like a whiffle ball. Different ball models are intended for indoor and outdoor play. Balls come in several colors, including white, yellow and green, but must be a single color to meet International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) specifications

The snowballing interest in this sport has also prompted executives and board members of the Greater Marco Family YMCA to plan for more courts.

Sea Mar Condo LogoVisit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
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Marco Island/Naples Shopping: Fifth Avenue South – Naples

Marco Island/Naples Shopping: Fifth Avenue South – Naples

Naples and Fifth Avenue South – Naples

5th Avenue SouthWhile much of Naples has a sprawling, suburban feel, its historic downtown is a whole different animal.  Fifth Avenue South is a beautiful, European-flavored and highly walkable district.  It is jam-packed with high-end luxury shops (Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in America) and a thriving bar and restaurant scene. This area is where most of the action takes place.  Third Street South is another lively sector buzzing with nightlife on the weekends.

Naples Pier at Sunset

After drinks and dinner in downtown, stroll a couple blocks over to the Naples Pier and listen to the waves crash along the shore.  This is also the perfect place to capture that perfect sunset picture even if you are an amateur photographer.  (I captured this pic with my cell phone).  The pier area can be a little crowded for the sunset hour,  so get there early, especially if you need a parking spot.

There’s Always Kilwin’s Ice Cream!

Kilwin's Ice Cream NaplesI have to admit that my favorite place on Fifth Avenue is the Kilwin’s ice cream shop.  After walking around shopping and sightseeing it is a real treat to visit Kilwin’s.  My other favorite shops in this area are Fresh Produce and all the specialty shops that have so many unique items.

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com

2019 Everglades Seafood Festival

2019 Everglades Seafood Festival

Everglades Seafood Festival

Everglades Seafood Festival
Fun for all at the Everglades Seafood Festival

The 2019 Everglades Seafood Festival begins Friday, February 8th and continues through the 9th and 10th.  Enjoy the 49th annual Seafood Festival held in Everglades City, featuring three days of live country music, carnival rides, arts, crafts and incredible food. Feast on fresh gulf shrimp, fish and stone crab claws, fried gator and lots more seafood. More than 100 vendors offer a variety of great seafood, refreshments, and handmade arts and crafts. The kids will love the rides! And the best part….IT IS FREE to attend (although there are fees for the food, drink, and rides)!

ADDRESS and DIRECTIONS

The Festival takes place in front of City Hall on the Circle, 102 Copeland Avenue, Everglades City, FL, 34139.The GPS coordinates are 25.85°N 81.38°W.

DIRECTIONS
From I-75 (Alligator Alley), take Exit 80 south onto SR-29. Drive about 18 miles to the intersection of US-41 (Tamiami Trail). Continue south on Route-29 about 4 miles to the center of Everglades City.

AIRPORT: You can fly in to Everglades Airpark.
link for official information to http://www.airnav.com/airport/X01
link to Everglades Outpost blog http://www.flyeverglades.blogspot.com/

ENJOY TO SEAFOOD AND LEARN ABOUT EVERGLADES CITY

This area was settled in the 1870s as a farming and fishing community. The Storter family bought a homestead on the river in 1889 and lodged visiting sports fishermen at what is now the Rod & Gun Club. In 1923 Barron Collier made the village of Everglades the headquarters for the building of the Tamiami Trail (US-41) from Tampa to Miami and the seat of his new Collier County.

The historic City Hall building (behind the stage) was once the County Courthouse. The County moved to East Naples in 1962 after the population had shifted. You will notice many Olde Florida houses that have been lovingly restored in our neighborhood.

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Sea Mar Condo is located an easy drive to Everglades City

Visit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island and the surrounding areas.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com

Marco Island Farmer’s Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise

Marco Island Farmer’s Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise

A Fresh Slice of Paradise

The Marco Island Farmer’s Market is a great way to spend a few hours on a Wednesday.  All of the fruits and vegetables look really fresh and snacks like kettle corn and chocolates are delicious.  It’s also a pretty place with all the fresh cut flowers and beautiful arrangements of fruits and vegetables.  The farmer’s market is also the perfect place to pick up a take home souvenir or a gift.

Marco Island Farmers Market
Marco Island Farmer’s Market

Larry and I made our first trip to the Farmer’s market on the island when we were there this past December over Christmas. We enjoyed talking to many of the vendors and learning about their products or crafts.   I couldn’t believe the selection of goods and the beautiful layouts of each vendor.  I purchased a beautiful aerial photograph of Marco Island for Sea Mar Condo.  I know our guests will love it!

Market Hours

The Farmer’s Market is open every Wednesday through April 24, 2019 from 7:30am – 1:00pm at Veterans’ Community Park.  It is located at 901 Park Avenue, Marco Island.  The market is operated by the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation.

Visit vendors who will be selling items such as: fresh fruits, garden vegetables, herbs, fresh flowers, seafood, baked goods, honey, sauces, kettle popcorn, chocolates, fresh flowers, soaps, exotic jewelry and works from local artists.

One great thing about the Marco Island Farmer’s Market is admission is free.

Sea Mar Condo LogoVisit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
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The Dolphin Explorer is A Great Way to See Marco’s Most Famous Residents!

The Dolphin Explorer is A Great Way to See Marco’s Most Famous Residents!

The Dolphin Explorer

The Dolphin Explorer is a great way to see Marco Island’s most famous residents! The National Geographic book “100 Places that Can Change Your Child’s Life”, lists the Dolphin Explorer as the only activity in Florida selected by the award-winning writer Keith Bellows, who traveled around the world looking for experiences which would be life-altering for children. However, The Dolphin Explorer is not only fun for children – it is perfect for adults as well!!!!

This is what you’ll see when you take a tour with The Dolphin Explorer!

Dolphin ExplorerYou not only get to take a great boat ride wander on a totally pristine deserted beach and collect beautiful seashells, you get the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures on the planet…the bottlenose dolphin! You also get to be part of a unique scientific project – in fact you become a citizen scientist.

Underwritten and managed by Sea Excursions, the Dolphin Explorer is engaged in the only on-going daily dolphin study in the area. With the help of their passengers, they chronicle every dolphin sighting and by comparing them to their chart of dolphin photos the crew are able to recognize each dolphin by the shape of the dorsal fin. This allows the naturalists to build a bank of knowledge about them….who they associate with, where they spend their time, when babies are born and how long they stay with their mothers.

And, if you are under the age of 12, you can also participate in “The Dolphin Challenge” where you can receive a Dolphin Patch and become a member of the exclusive Dolphin Explorer Club.

What’s Uniques About the Dolphin Explorer?

The Dolphin Explorer is a 30 foot catamaran with two 225 HP outboards capable of carrying up to 28 passengers. Because of its design, it is perfect for both navigating the water of the Gulf and the backwater estuaries of the area. An excellent platform for survey work, it’s unique in “getting up close and personal” to observe marine life and photography.

Dolphin2
Get great photos aboard The Dolphin Explorer

The Dolphin Explorer’s design and power attracts dolphin to its wake for fabulous photographs. The vessel provides a choice of sun or shade for those with children, complimentary beverages and shelling bags. Be sure to bring sunglasses, your camera, sunscreen and any snacks you and the family might enjoy. Dolphin Explorer is professionally crewed by a USCG Master Captain and Mate who is a Master Naturalist and Wildlife Photographer.

My Tour Was Fantastic!

I took a recent tour on The Dolphin Explorer and it was one of the most fun adventures I’ve done on Marco Island. We saw 17 different dolphins, moms with babies and several jumping behind the boat. We also saw lots of great shells and baby least terns on the beautiful island we stopped off on for a while and even saw a manatee at the most southern end of Tigertail Beach.

Scheduling a Tour with The Dolphin Explorer

Two survey trips daily: one in the morning departing at 9:00am
the second departs in the afternoon at 1:00pm.

To make your reservation by phone
Call: (877) 523-7266
or visit their website at http://dolphin-study.com/the-dolphin-explore

The Dolphin Explorer
(877) 523-7266
Rose Marina
951 Bald Eagle Drive
Marco Island, FL 34145
9-12 noon and 1-4 pm daily

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondon.com. Our “Top 10 List” provides information on many things to see and do in Marco Island. We also recommend several tour companies and restaurants to make your vacation on Marco Island the best vacation ever.

Mini Reefs on Marco Island Helping to Clean Ocean Water

Mini Reefs on Marco Island Helping to Clean Ocean Water

Mini Reefs on Marco Island Helping to Clean Ocean Water

The Marco Island Yacht Club was the first yacht club in Southwest Florida to install a “Mini Reef” artificial marine habitat system under its dock. Installing a Mini Reef supports an environmental initiative to restore cleanliness and aquatic diversity of the region’s canals and waterways.

Residents of Marco Island Are Important to Mini Reef Installation

Marco Island residents soon became involved with the initiative by installing mini reefs below homeowner’s docks. Marco Island is proud to participate in this important environmental program to create a cleaner and sustainable marine environment. This is especially important in a year marked by Red Tide in much of southwest Florida waters.

Mini Reef
A new Mini Reef before Installation

Each mini reef installed produces thriving and diverse ecosystems full of fish and other marine life. They are capable of cleaning thousands of gallons of seawater a day. In addition to cleaning the polluted water, large numbers of Mini Reefs can produce millions of fish and crabs each year. An article in the MICAWave by David Wolff, President and Executive Director of Ocean Habitats, Inc. states that Marco Island already has enough Mini Reefs installed to clean 15.6 million gallons of water per day. Mr. Wolff also states that if each dock on the island had 4 Mini Reefs installed, they would clean 1 billion gallons every day.  This would produce approximately 8.4 million fish and 5.6 million crabs every year!

Each Mini Reef is Unique

When a Mini Reef is installed, it develops its own marine ecosystem of life. First, small shrimp and baby fish will use the structure as a safe place to avoid predators, but soon other residents move in. Over 150 different filter feeders like sea squirts and oysters will grow on the mini reef and spend their days eating the green plankton out of the water passing through. On average, a fully developed mini reef can clean all the plankton out of 35,000 gallons of seawater per day.

Installed Mini Reef
Installed Mini Reef

The mini reef mimics the environment that one finds in the eco root system of mangrove trees. This natural environment was removed from Marco Island’s waters when the canal system was developed on the island. Installing mini reefs under docks along the canals is an opportunity to restore the water cleaning properties once provided by the mangrove root system. Just one habitat covered with invertebrates such as oysters, sea squirts, mussels and more, can turn that water from green and polluted into cleaner seawater. This in turn will help to restore the canals to function as sustainable marine habitats teaming with a diverse array of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life.

Ocean Habitat is encouraging dock owners on Marco Island to install as many of the Mini Reefs as possible. Discounts are available for orders of multiple units. There are docks on the island with as many as 27 Mini Reefs.

Reference Article: What Can Mini Reefs Do to Help Water Pollution Problems in South Florida? by David Wolff.

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondon.com. Our “Top 10 List” provides information on many things to see and do in Marco Island. We also recommend several tour companies and restaurants to make your vacation on Marco Island the best vacation ever.

A Day Trip to Naples Zoo

A Day Trip to Naples Zoo

A Day Trip to Naples Zoo

A Day Trip to Naples Zoo is a wonderful adventure! Just a short 30 minute drive from Marco Island and Sea Mar Condo, the zoo is fun for kids and adults alike. Naples Zoo is a nationally accredited zoo and charitable institution that features a full day of fun activities. Plan your trip to the zoo, today!

Naples Zoo
1590 Goodlette Road
Naples, Fl 34102
Zooline: (239) 262-5409

Hours: Open 7 days a week
Monday through Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
(Last Ticket Sold at 4:00pm)

Zoo Exhibits

The Naples Zoo is a 1 mile long path that winds through botanical gardens past the main exhibits. The main exhibits are:

Alligator Bay – provides a home to the zoo’s American alligators. This lake is also home to many native species including herons.

African Oasis – This area houses many African animals including crested porcupines, Naples ZooDorcas gazelles, greater kudus, miniature zebu, impala, African gray parrots, and leopard tortoises.  You can even hand feed a giraffe in The Giraffe Preview Exhibit.

Leopard Rock – home to both spotted and black leopards.

Lake Victoria – contains several islands that are home to the zoo’s primates. Visitors can view the primates up close by taking a short Primate Expedition Cruise around the lake on one of the zoo’s catamarans. The majority of the species on these islands are endangered in the wild.

Naples Zoo LionLion’s Lair – is a mesh fenced area that is home to the zoo’s lions.

Fosas of Madagascar – is home to fossas. Naples Zoo is the only zoo in the Southeast that houses fossas. The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar.

Black Bear Hammock – is home to black bears, and consists of two separate habitats: one a natural environment and one a back yard. Viewing for both areas is from behind glass. It is the largest black bear exhibit east of the Mississippi River.

Tiger Forest – a bamboo forest habitat for the zoo’s Malayan tigers. The Naples Zoo is a participating member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan for this species.

Backyard Habitat – a section of the gardens set aside and certified by the National Wildlife Federation in their Backyard Wildlife Habitat (BWH) program. It includes a pool where visitors can feed the fish.

Naples Zoo Florida PantherPanther exhibit – home to Uno a Florida Panther. The big cat was found after having been shot between the eyes at close range and left for dead. After being nursed back to health he was brought to the zoo and put on exhibit in a environment similar to what would be his wild habitat of mostly wetlands.

There are other exhibits throughout the zoo for hyenas, Parma wallaby, blackbuck, muntjac, yellow-backed duikers, honey badgers, cheetahs, coyotes and macaws.

      Admission

Naples Zoo BuildingAdmission Prices: Your admission supports wildlife at the Naples Zoo and in the wild.
As a nonprofit institution, no tax is charged on admission.

Adults ages (13*- 64) $22.95
Seniors (ages 65 and up) $21.95
Children (ages 3 – 12) $14.95
Children ages 2 and under Free
Parking is Free at the Naples Zoo

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondon.com. Our “Top 10 List” provides information on many things to see and do in Marco Island. We recommend several tour companies to make your vacation on Marco Island the best vacation ever!

Parasailing Over Marco Island’s Gulf Waters

Parasailing Over Marco Island’s Gulf Waters

Parasailing Over Marco Island’s Gulf Waters

Nothing beats soaring over the open ocean with the sense that you are flying! Parasailing over Marco Island’s Gulf waters and beach is awesome. Parasailing offers amazing views of the island as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy seeing wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, pelicans, and stingrays from high in the sky. Adventurous? Consider a Parasail Ride.

Although I highly recommend this adventure for our guests at Sea Mar Condo, I must admit I have not worked up the courage to parasail myself.  However, several of our guests and friends have parasailed and loved it!  I love the idea that you can soar like a bird over the ocean and see all the beauty of the island…and not even get wet!

Parasailing with Marco Island Water Sports
Parasailing with Marco Island Water Sports

Parasailing begins on a powerboat. You enter the boat from the shoreline, alone or with a friend. After climbing onboard you harness up and take a seat at the back of the boat. The sail is let out, as the boat takes off and before you know it you are floating 300 feet above the water. All you have to do is sit comfortably in your harness, dangle your feet and relax while enjoying the breathtaking view.  You fly like a bird for approximately 10 minutes and then you are reeled back into the boat standing up.

Remember to Bring Your Camera!

Remember to bring along a camera. From several hundred feet up in the air you can hear only the wind gently blowing in your ears. The sights are breath taking, the skyline of Marco Island on one side, the Gulf of Mexico never ending on the other.

Note:  It is best to parasail on a calm day with little wind, and no chance of storms in the area.

Marco Island Water Sports
560 S Collier Blvd
Marco Island, FL 34145
(239)-642-3337
www.marcoislandwatersports.com

Sky’s The Limit Parasailing (featured picture)
500 S Collier Blvd
Marco Island, FL 34145
(239) 825-4866
www.floridaparasail.com

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondon.com. Our “Top 10 List” provides information on many things to see and do in Marco Island. We recommend several tour companies to make your vacation on Marco Island the best vacation ever!