Spring Training#5 in Best Things To Do in Fort Myers
Although the nearest major league baseball teams are in Tampa and Miami, those visiting Fort Myers still see big league action in the form of spring training. Every March, the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins escape the cold for the warm spring temperatures the city has to offer.
The Red Sox have been making their home at JetBlue Park since 2011, where diehard fans can see a replica of the Green Monster as well as an old school manual scoreboard. Fans who visited recently said the park has earned the nicknamed "Fenway South." The Minnesota Twins have been suiting up to prepare for the season in Fort Myers since 1990. Their stadium, located at CenturyLink Sports Complex, is about 5 miles west of JetBlue Park. When it's not spring training, the complex is also home to the two minor league affiliates of the Twins, the Fort Myers Miracle and the Gulf Coast League Twins, as well as facilities utilized by local collegiate and community teams. Recent visitors to the stadium said they found concessions easy to find and that every seat provides a great view of the action on the field.
Both ball parks can accommodate about 10,000 people, plus multiple practice facilities. Check the JetBlue park website or the CenturyLink Sports Complex website for details on preseason games and tickets.
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#1 J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Named after a political cartoonist and conservationist, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge occupies 8,000 acres of land on Sanibel Island, located southwest of Fort Myer's city center. The refuge, which takes up about half the entire island, was originally meant to conserve the island's significant mangrove forest. Today, it is still home to those mangroves, as well as animals like crocodiles, alligators and countless species of birds. In fact, for herons, cuckoos, ospreys, and other birds, the refuge is an important stop along their migratory path. Recent visitors to the park said it's a unique way to see a variety of wildlife.
You'll see the most wildlife if you visit between the months November and April during low tide. If you visit in the summer be aware of the high humidity and increased amount of bugs – including mosquitos. You can explore the refuge in whatever way suits your tastes: on foot or bike via trails, in a canoe, or by car. Parts of the park also allow boating and fishing. The park is open every day, including holidays, but is closed all day each Friday. The park also offers a free visitor and education center that's open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May to December and open until 5 p.m. from January to April. Park hours vary throughout the year, so check the website before visiting. The website also includes tide charts to help you plan your visit. Admission is $5 per vehicle or $1 per pedestrian or bicycle.
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