Guide to Florida's West Coast

On the Water
Adventure Sea Kayak has offered kayak tours from Captiva Island since 1985. Outings can include fishing, birding, shelling, and history or ecology lessons. (239) 822-3337

Naples
The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples (aka C'mon) will open in February 2012. The 30,000-square-foot venue will have interactive exhibits encouraging discovery and exploration. The space can be rented for private events.

The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Con­vention & Visitors Bureau has launched a free online service -- GAP, or Group Attendance Push -- to help meeting planners boost attendance at events through a variety of marketing strategies such as e-mail templates and visitor guides. Go to paradisecoast.com/gap for more information.

Scandinavian tour operator ComeFly inaugurated a program of nonstop flights in June between Denmark and Southwest Florida In­ternational Airport in Fort Meyers. Flights are offered from the Danish cities of Copenhagen and Aalborg.

Meeting Hotels
 Properties include the 474-room Naples Grande Resort & Club; 450-room Ritz-Carlton, Naples; 319-room Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; 295-room Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples; 199-room Hilton Naples; 189-room La Playa Beach & Golf Resort; 125-room Edgewater Beach Hotel; 100-room Bellasera Hotel, and 98-room Bayfront Inn 5th Avenue.

Convention Centers
Fort Myers Harborside Events Center; exhibit space, approximately 41,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, four; (239) 321-8110

Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center; exhibit space, approximately 19,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, five; (800) 652-6090

Airport Transit
Southwest Florida International Airport, 35 miles north of Naples. Transfer by taxi to Naples, $55; transfer by shuttle to Naples, $30

Taxes
Room tax, 4%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 10%

Group VenueDining at the Ngala Wildlife Preserve
The Ngala Private Reserve, just 20 miles from downtown Naples, offers participants a chance to experience an African safari on U.S. turf, with some 42 acres of waterfalls, tropical foliage and animals as highlights. Among the wildlife on display in natural settings are zebras, leopards and camels. Three canvas safari tents -- complete with authentic teak and bamboo furniture, antique steamer trunks and rustic lanterns -- provide upscale shelter for attendees and space to mingle and dine. The venue can accommodate groups of between 20 and 1,000. (239) 353-3572

ActivitiesAdventure Training Concepts offers outdoor adventure team-building programs. Participants might find themselves challenged by a high ropes course or stranded on a desert island, where they must work together to get back to home base. ATC can accommodate groups of five to 1,000. (239) 285-9142

Contact
Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Con­vention & Visitors Bureau, (239) 252-2384 or (800) 688-3600

Fast Facts
The 60,000-square-foot Man­atee Conven­tion Center in Braden­ton is undergoing a $7 million renovation, to be completed in early 2012.


The 489-room Doubletree Hotel Tampa Westshore Airport wrapped up a renovation of its 16,000 square feet of meeting space a year ago. This past summer, the property opened the ItaliAsia restaurant.

 

Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

The new $35 million Dali Museum in St. Petersburg opened in January. The strikingly designed facility, home to 2,140 pieces of art, is twice the size of its earlier incarnation and features 20,000 square feet of gallery space.


Lee County
The Art of the Olym­pians Muse-um and Gallery opened in Fort Myers this past March. The facility connects the world of art and athletics by featuring the work of Olympic Games competitors; visitors can view paintings, photography and sculptures from the likes of Olympic sprinters, skiers and cyclists. The venue can accommodate up to 200 people for a reception. 

Meeting Hotels
In Fort Myers, properties include the 227-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops, 227-room Holiday Inn Select Fort Myers and 225-room Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa.

On Captiva and Sanibel islands are the 444-room South Seas Island Resort, 347-room Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, 261-room Sundial Resort and 138-room 'Tween Waters Inn.

Convention Center
Fort Myers Harborside Events Center; exhibit space, 41,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, four; (239) 321-8110

Airport Transit
 Southwest Florida International Airport, 14 miles southwest of downtown Fort Myers. Transfer by taxi, $40

Taxes
Room tax, 5%; sales tax, 6%; total tax on hotel rooms, 11%

Group Venue
Let the innovative juices flow at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the winter retreats of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The 20-acre venue comprises a clutch of late 1920s-style buildings, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and a 15,000-square-foot museum devoted to inventions of the past. The property offers several indoor and outdoor options for events. (239) 334-7419

Contact
Lee County Visitor & Convention Bu­reau, (800) 237-6444