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Alligator Creek Preserve
The Alligator Creek Preserve was established in 1987. It is adjacent to the 45,000+ acre Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. CHEC is located on property owned by the State of Florida and the Center’s portion is leased to the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, Inc. for environmental, educational, and recreational activities. The Alligator Creek Preserve includes four (4+) miles of nature trails. Volunteers offer interpretive trail walks to the public, free of charge, during "season".
Scan our QR codes and listen to our audio tours as you walk. Visit our butterfly and wildflowers gardens, watch the birds from our bird blind; see (at their leisure!) the adult and baby alligators in our alligator pond. You might see vultures, up close and personal, or an eagle in a tree. Or wild hogs off in the distance. Perhaps a bobcat sachaying down a little-used service road. And more.....
The Caniff Welcome Center
The Caniff Welcome Center, open to the public from October - April, is located at the very end of the driveway boardwalk. A unique all-wood building on "stilts", its main architectural attraction is a "cupola" from which a large hand-carved wood mobile depicting birds and sea life, hangs. Outside, there is a wrap-around deck which looks out over an upland eco-system. Inside once again, you will find small live animals such as Henry, the ball python; Izra, the skink; Isak, the red rat snake; Daisy, the Russian tortoise, Elon, the Razorback Musk turtle, and Tyrus, the Stinkpot Common Musk turtle. There are also display cases of very interesting shell, bone and ancient tool artifacts. Also on display, you can see and read about some of the birds and animals you might find here at our location. Come see us during "season"!
The Rose Isaksen Gift Shop
This very special gift shop was made possible by the late Rose Isaksen, who, with her husband Bob, gave tirelessly of their time and resources for over 25 years, as benefactors extraordinaire. Located in the Caniff Welcome Center, it is full of unique southwest Florida gifts, including handcrafted items from local artists. The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday from mid-October – April.
Gift Shop Goodies
Some of the special items for sale include:
A variety of informational books and guides on south Florida wildlife;
Fresh, raw local honey - very popular;
Children’s gifts including stuffed animals, books, t-shirts and other toys;
Hand-carved wood walking sticks, beautifully crafted, from birch, pine, ash, cherry, beech, mangrove, carrot, and melaleuca trees from both Florida and New Hampshire. Each walking stick is zip code inscribed with the origin of the tree wood, along with the wood type and Charlotte Harbor name - made with love by the late, great Bob Isaksen;
Handmade birdhouses, butterfly houses & bat houses made of recycled wood, also by Bob Isaksen;
Hand-made ceramics and small wallets;
Florida-themed T-shirts of various sizes…youth to adult;
Beautiful CHEC coffee mugs, ball caps and totes, and other interesting environmentally-themed items.
Friends of CHEC members receive 10% off on CHEC items sold here. You must show your membership card to receive the discount.
Gardens, Gardens Everywhere.....
We are garden-obsessed at CHEC! We have a thriving butterfly garden which attracts butterflies, and a garden with native plants, beautifully landscaped with help from the Punta Gorda Garden Club, which attracts butterflies! We have a lovely bromeliad garden, which used to attract wild hogs endlessly until we finally fenced it in. The former small satellite offshoot of the All Native Nursery is now the location for our new butterfly enclosure - more information coming on that soon! In the meantime, for your native plant needs, feel free to visit the All Native Nursery in Fort Myers. And come see our gardens anytime!
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