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DECEMBER

‘Night Lights’

From 6 to 9 p.m. every day, through Jan. 5, at Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples. Stroll through the Garden, and marvel at the beauty of our collections illuminated in thousands of lights. Soak up the spirit of the season with family, friends, and loved ones as you sample specialty menu items from the Garden’s own Fogg Café and sip on a signature cocktail in celebration of this special time of year. Make a wish on a Wishing Tree, or hum along to live music every evening, including performances from Opera Naples Youth Chorus, Naples Ballet, a selection of talented artists from Artis-Naples, and more. Cost: $25, Nov. 29 through Dec. 15; $30, Dec. 16 through Jan. 5. Information: 239-325-1354 or naplesgarden.org.

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Art at the Marco Island Library

The Marco Island Public Library and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts work cooperatively to provide art shows at the Marco Library branch on Heathwood Drive. Through January features a collection of original watercolors by Marco Island artist Wanda Coady. Coady has painted exclusively in watercolor for 40 years. Inspiration for many of her paintings comes from travel in a variety of countries around the world.

JANUARY

‘The Dixie Swim Club’

In this hilarious, touching comedy, five unforgettable women, whose friendships began on their college swim team over 30 years ago, set aside a long weekend every year to recharge those relationships. Written by trio Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, “The Dixie Swim Club” is set at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks where the friends meet to catch up, laugh, and meddle in each other’s lives. Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York, is on stage Jan. 2-19, at The Marco Players Theater, Marco Town Center Mall, 1089 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island. Shows are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. and are $32 or $34.  Attend the first week of the show and automatically be entered in a drawing to win a dinner cruise for two on The Marco Island Princess. Tickets are on sale at www.TheMarcoPlayers.com or by calling the box office at 239-642-7270. 

Become a better boater

America’s Boating Club – Marco Island (ABClub-MI) recently announced its boating education program for the 2019-20 season. The curse meets for five 2.25 hour sessions over two and a half weeks. It will be offered on Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and March 9. Information: Peggy Reiss at 239-213-8686.

Festival of Birds

Friday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 19 at Rookery Bay, 300 Tower Road, Naples. This annual event allows guests to explore the local environment through guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida, and features nature programs with expert speakers at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Festival of Birds attendees can customize their experiences by selecting from a variety of field trips, including birding walks, kayak tours, buggy rides, swamp “tromps” and boat rides. Trips range in price from $0-$150. Advance registration is required. rookerybay.org.

ONGOING

Marco Island Bocce League

The Marco Island Bocce League is accepting registrations for the third season starting on Monday, Jan. 13. The purpose of the League is to provide a coordinated bocce activity for the residents and winter vacationers to the Island.  The teams may be made up of both genders. No experience is required; therefore, the skill level will vary. A registration form is available at marcoislandbocceleague.com or may be picked up at the Mackle Park front desk. Information, Charles Pineno at 540-336-4121.

Monday Night Bingo

Bingo is played every Monday evening at the Synagogue located at 991 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Bonanza is posted at 6:15 p.m. and the game is called at 7 p.m. A complimentary supper is served to each player consisting of a Kosher hot dog, a special roll, relish, sauerkraut, pickles, chips, coffee, tea, pastry, ice cream and fruit. The cost of a two pack is $17, and a three pack is $24. The game is open to the public. Information: 239-642 0800.

Farmer’s market at Veterans Community Park

The popular Marco Island Farmer’s Market has returned to Veterans Community Park, held from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays (moves to Monday this week - Dec. 30), at Veterans Community Park, 901 Park Avenue. Local Southwest Florida vendors will be selling home good items and crafts Items include: fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, salsa, sauces, fresh flowers, seafood, soaps, and much more. Information: cityofmarcoisland.com/calendar.

Rookery Bay

Touch, see and explore Southwest Florida’s coastal environment at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Experience hands-on, interactive exhibits including marine-life touch tanks and habitat displays. Enjoy trails, naturalist-led programs, nature-viewing bridge over the water and more. Kids and adults alike can explore the center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information rookerybay.org or 239-530-5940.

Science Saturdays

Rookery Bay’s Science Saturdays are now year-round and free for kids 12 and under. Different coastal theme each Saturday. Admission $5 for adults, free for kids 12 and under. Enjoy eco-crafts, a presentation, a featured film and our “Lessons in Laboratories” program from 11-11:45 a.m. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information rookerybay.org or 239-530-5940.

Friends of Rookery Bay expands eco-tour offerings

Friends of Rookery Bay now offers guided boat trips in addition to guided kayak trips that explore the 110,000-acre Rookery Bay Reserve in Naples. All tours are small groups led by active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors with Rising Tide Explorers, the Friends of Rookery Bay’s exclusive eco-tour partner. Learn more and book at rookerybay.org or call 239-530-5972.

Senior Softball

The Marco Island Senior Softball League has resumed play at Winterberry Park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pick-up games are scheduled each of those days at 10:15 a.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Anybody interested in a friendly game of softball can participate, with all skill levels welcomed. While the minimum age for regular league games is 55, age limits are not strictly enforced for pick-up games. Information: 239-642-2930.

Key Marco Cat 

The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) celebrates its 25th Anniversary with the culmination of their quest to bring home the enigmatic Key Marco Cat and other rare 500 to 1,500-year-old Pre-Columbian Native American artifacts discovered on Marco Island in 1896. The artifacts return on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. They will be showcased in an exhibit at the Marco Island Historical Museum from now through April 2021. The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. For information, call 239.389.6447 or visit www.theMIHS.org.

Naturalist-Led Kayak Tours

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a kayak adventure into the beautiful back waters of Rookery Bay Reserve with our exclusive ecotour partner, Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region. The whole family can enjoy a memorable and educational adventure into the estuary. With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees! Get out and explore the backwaters Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Visit rookerybay.org to register for tours today. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information rookerybay.org or 239-530-5940.

Calling all friends over 60

Join the Marco YMCA and Our Daily Bread Food Pantry for a free lunch the third Wednesday of each month at Marco Lutheran Church. With the support of local restaurants, businesses and sponsors, a luncheon (free of charge) is open to all area residents “60 or better.” Each monthly event includes a time for networking, lunch, a program, and door prizes.  Rides are also offered. Information: 706-566-8532.  

Lupus support

The Marco/Naples lupus support group meets the third Saturday of each month at Physicians Regional Medical Center, 8300 Collier Blvd, Naples. Meetings are held from 10:30 a.m. until noon in the Palm Dining Room.  Open to all patients, families and interested parties. Learn to live and cope with Lupus, get current information. Contact Marilyn, 239-398-4800 or Jan, 239-389-2749.

Round Robin Tennis

Round Robin Tennis is available at various times and days for men and women at the Greater Marco Family YMCA, 101 Sand Hill Street, Marco Island. Eight clay courts are available. Round Robins are free to Marco YMCA members and $15 for community participants. Players must register to play in Round Robins. Registration or information: 239-394-3144, ext. 224.

LATER

Imagination Ball

The American Cancer Society presents “A Celebration for a Cure,” the 2020 Imagination Ball, March 6, at the JW Marriott Marco Island. This celebration of life will feature both live and silent auctions, fine food, music and so much more. The celebration will burst with hope and good cheer as the prestigious Grado Award is presented to Curt and Jacquie Koon of CJ’s on the Bay in honor of their dedication and support of the American Cancer Society. For more information: 239-642-6217 or Sue.Olszak@cancer.org.

For more event listings, navigate to the Entertainment section and click on the WOW To Do List at marconews.com. Calendar items must be emailed to mail@marconews.com and should be submitted at least a week before desired publication.

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