Cedar Point Environmental Park
Cedar Point Park was purchased by Charlotte County in 1992, trails were established in 1995, and the Visitor Center opened to the public in 1998. CHEC has been actively involved in its management and the coordination of educational and recreational programs since 1995.The Park is a 115-acre Charlotte County Park located in Englewood across from Lemon Bay High School that borders Ainger Creek, Oyster Creek and Lemon Bay. Three hiking trails lead directly to Lemon Bay. Trail maps are available at the Visitors' Center.
Our beautiful two-story Visitor Center was constructed in 1998 but recently underwent a bold remodeling project that finished up in 2021. The building now features new displays of our local flora and fauna, live ambassador animals, beautiful panoramic windows that look out into the pine flatwoods around the building, and exhibits about our local history. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset, and the Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 8:00-4:00.
The historic Cookie House was part of the Bass Biological Laboratory, and served as the personal lab and office building for the lab’s founder, John Foster Bass Jr. Established in 1931, the BBL was the first full time marine lab in the state of Florida, as well as one of the first co-ed research facilities in the state. The lab welcomed a wide range of researchers and students, and over 470 marine and terrestrial species were described by residents of the Bass Lab. The lab closed in 1944 following the death of Mr. Bass and rationing during World War II, but its closure led to the creation of the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, which would eventually move north to Sarasota and be re-named as the Mote Marine Laboratory. The BBL originally spanned a ten acre property on nearby New Point Comfort Rd. in Englewood, but the Cookie House was relocated to Cedar Point in 2006 for preservation when developers bought the land, and it is now the last remaining structure left of the Bass Lab
Seagrass Wading Trips
By far our most popular programs at Cedar Point are our Seagrass Wading Trips! These programs will take you into the vibrant waters of Lemon Bay, where we will use dipnets and buckets to explore the critically important seagrass meadows and the creatures that live there. Frequently sighted creatures on these trips are: seahorses and pipefish, hermit crabs, juvenile fish, live conchs and whelks, sea birds, dolphins, and more! After we have caught the critters and learned about them together, they will all get released back into the habitat unharmed.
We offer regularly scheduled free wading trips that can be found on our calendar, as well as nighttime wading trips or private wading trips that are $15 per person. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 people, and advanced registration is required.
Ever since Cedar Point Park was established in 1992, we have recorded bald eagles nesting on the property. The eagles generally will use the same nest for several years in a row, beginning their nesting activity in October and having their chicks fledge and leave the area around April and May. Their nesting activity may cause some portions of the trails to be closed for part of the year, but we do install scopes to help you observe the nest from a respectful distance.
Guided Walks in Charlotte County
The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, in collaboration with the Charlotte County Natural Resources Department, conducts free guided nature walks, open to the public. Information about these walks may be found on our website calendar, or by clicking the links below. Generally, the walks begin at 9:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from November to April, in various locations around Charlotte County. On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search for and learn about plants, animals, fungi, and more, that live in Charlotte County preserves. Prepare for each walk by bringing plenty of water, insect repellent and sunscreen - and wear clothing that will protect you from biting insects and plant irritants.
Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 941-475-0769.