I should have looked at all the reviews on different sites (bad reviews are common at this place) before booking my 6 year old's birthday party here. I booked and spoke with 2 different employees about the events for the party. On the DAY OF THE PARTY I happened to call to make sure everything was as we planned and they said they had no booking for us! The general manager tried to tell me that I booked at the wrong place when I in fact did not do that. The employees that I spoke with prior confirmed where their location was in Gardner Village and gave me details about how the party would commence. (I ended up having to reroute the party to another venue that took very good care of us). Not only that, the manager was very rude and condescending. I have booked multiple parties for birthdays in the last 7 years and never have I experienced such poor customer service. I am appalled at the treatment I received.
Cabbage Key Inn is about as full of history and charm and good food and drink as you can ask for in Southwestern Florida. It is a restaurant, an inn and an escape from the hectic real world all at once.
The inn is quite unique in that it's accessible only via boat. Charter one through Southern Instinct Charters, or hop on your own boat and come visit. Many folks love to come here for lunch - it gets very crowded mid day and is a great place to dine while in the area. Stop in for fish dishes since that's the specialty of the area, or see what menu item intrigues you most. You'll also love the many delicious desserts and fun cocktails (kids can get them alcohol-free so as to not miss out on the fun). Dinner is not as crowded, as not as many folks are out on the water then, but it certainly doesn't disappoint. The food here was great and there was a nice variety to choose from.
The setting is serene, as it is situated on 100 acres of tropical aquatic reserve. You can come for a hike or a nature walk and not have to worry about cars, as there are none on the island.
The inn has rooms available in the main building as well as several other buildings nearby. They are simply decorated and technology is kept to a minimum to really allow you and your family to feel like you've escaped a bit. Be sure to wander outside to check out the huge osprey nest on top of the water tower, as its been there for years and years and is something special to see. The decorated walls of the restaurant are also a great conversation starter. They're covered in dollar bills, many signed by previous guests to the place over the years, and some signed by celebrities and well-known people. Try to find the one signed by Jimmy Carter, the one from Jimmy Buffet, or the one signed by the man who signs our US currency. Be sure to add you own when you're there, as it's part of the fun and surely something your kids will want to do.
Cabbage Key Inn is a charming and homey place to visit. It's scenic, it's fun to get to, it's got delicious food and it's got some interesting history behind it. Visit and see what kinds of memories you can create here.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary meal and tour of the Inn as part of a press trip in order to facilitate this review. The opinions stated herein, however, are entirely my own.
One of the greatest challenges in visiting an area is finding something to do that allows you to see things in the area, yet isn't just another of the same-old activities. Southern Instinct Charters offers you a chance to get out onto the water, hit up the beach or explore the shoreline in a fun way.
Leaving from Port Sanibel Marina, the boat can be chartered for fishing trips on the water or along the shoreline. Depending on what you're interested in catching, the captain, Captain Ryan, can help you achieve your goal. Tarpon catching is popular for many, and sometimes you catch something incredible, even if you didn't think you could. Boats can be reserved for part of the day or an entire day, depending on what you think your group is up for. According to Ryan, the time goes quickly when you're having fun!
If you're not into fishing, head out on the boat for more of a sightseeing agenda. Many times, the area looks different from the vantage points you can reach by boat, so this is a great way to mix things up. Go shelling in the area, as it is known to be the seashell collecting capital for the sheer volume and variety you can find here.
If you'd just like to relax and see the sunset, Captain Ryan can accommodate you as well. His sightseeing sunset tours are perfect for those less adventurous water-goers who'd still like to get out and see things. Many times you can see dolphins or manatees or other wildlife during your time on the boat, and Captain Ryan will point them out to you so you don't miss them. He's tuned in to his passengers and makes it fun for his groups while they're on board, which is great. You don't have to worry about getting a captain with more of an eye on the agenda than the folks he has on board, which is key to have a great time.
Take a ride on a chartered boat and see what kind of adventure you can have on the waters of the area. It could end up being a great memory for your kids and your family to share a unique activity like this one offers.
*Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary sunset tour as part of a press trip in order to review the business. The opinions stated, however, are entirely my own.
This is a large greenspace just off New Hampshire Avenue, right next to Jackson Road Elementary.
The large adventure playground is at the end of the park near the school. It's dated (the plastic is sun-faded) but everything worked and my kids had a lot of fun playing. They especially loved the merry go round that would go really fast. There is a working water fountain and HEATED bathrooms (nice for my January visit) although the toilets looked really nasty. But hey, they worked and I don't think they WERE dirty, just old.
There is a nice pavilion right next to the playground that would be a great place to take a rest on a hot day.
Lots of sporting fields in the park and there is a swimming pool also but we didn't visit it.
I took my two four year old boys for a "hike" around the pond. It never really felt like a hike because the trails are paved and you can always see cars, no matter where you are - but the pond is nice, there are lots of geese and ducks and there was a little bridge to walk over, which we liked.
The website has great maps of the trails around the park, although truthfully, it would be hard to get lost. You can print them out and bring them with you if you want because the sign board there didn't have a map posted.
It was a fun way to spend the morning.
I visited on a weekend in November with my four sons. I'd come here years ago, when my kids were much younger, and the museum was in a trailer, so that was what I'd expected. Instead I saw a sparkling new building, clearly an investment was made so that was nice. I'm wondering if that's why there is such a steep admission price - I was $7 and my kids were $5 each.
It feels steep because, truthfully, there is not that much to see, not compared to other museums out there.
Things my kids liked:
*People LOVED the model Trolley track layout. It's set up like Connecticut Ave and by pulling a lever you can start the trolley moving. THAT was a hit. I will say, though, that ALL the little children in there wanted to pull the one lever, so there had to be some arranging of turns.
*They have a quiet room with funny old silent films playing that have working trolleys in them, people found them hilarious.
*We took a short tour back into the trolley barn. There were many lovely and refurbished trolleys as well as some that look like someone drove them into the barn 50 years ago and just let them rot. I liked looking at both and so did my kids. The elderly gentleman giving us our tour told us about them and the kids could ask questions. What they could NOT do was touch. Anything. That was kind of a bummer - I think they really wanted to climb inside and explore but that's not allowed.
*We got to go on a trolley ride (timed ticket they gave us at the desk- it's a Dutch trolley from before I was born and people loved our little ride through the woods. It did have a bit of trouble when we were half way out (it broke down two different times) so our ride was longer than normal and no one complained about that.
And that's about it. Like I said the kids did enjoy themselves but I had no real way to drag out our visit, there wasn't anything else to do. But for what it was, we learned a bit, saw a bit, had a bit of a ride and we left happy for the time spent.