LAKES REGIONAL PARK ../images/detail_photos/lakes42.jpgLAKES REGIONAL PARK Address 7330 Gladiolus Drive Fort Myers, FL 33908 Google Map/Directions Contact Information Park Supervisors: Dan Lott 239-533-7580 Sun-Thur and James Eash 239-533-7576 Tue-Sat Facility Staff Events Lee County Event CalendarLakes Park Event Calendar Hours Lakes Regional Park is open from 7 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week. We hope you enjoy this wonderful park! Dogs at Lakes Regional Park: We are not a pet friendly park, so please remember to leave your pets at home. John Yarbrough Linear Park is the closest dog friendly facility. Dogs must remain on-leash at Linear Park. Woof-A-Hatchee is the closest off-leash dog park. Splash Pads: Lakes Park has two water features ("splash pads"), located near shelters A2 and A3. They are open from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in cold weather conditions. Splash pads may be closed daily from noon to 1 p.m. for maintenance. They are automatically shut down if lightning is detected within 10 miles. Shelter Reservations: You are responsible for transporting your own items to and from the reserved area, so consider bringing a wagon to help with the load - especially at the north end of the park! Program Hours: Lakes Park Walking Tour with Bird Patrol: 8:00 a.m. the first Saturday of every month at Shelter A-7. Visit www.birdpatrol.org for more information.Strolling Tours of the Garden: 9:00 a.m. the second Saturday of the month (September-May) at the Community Garden at the end of parking lot #3.Story Time In the Garden: 10:00 a.m. the second Wednesday of the month (October-April) in the Children's Garden. Content is appropriate for infants to 3rd graders.Fragrance Garden Plant Sale: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. the last Wednesday of the month (October-May).Museum and Railroad Operation Hours: (children under 9 years of age must be accompanied by an adult) Monday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Aug 14 - Sept 29: Hours limited to Saturday/Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.Special Events: The Holiday Express Train will run December 15 - 30, 2017. Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 6 - 9 p.m.Saturday - Sunday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.Open Dec. 24, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.Closed all Day Dec. 25.Open Jan. 1, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Jan 1 from 6 - 9 p.m. Information Lakes Regional Park is a 279 acre park, featuring a 158 acre freshwater quarry lake which offers a day of fun on land or the water for the whole family. The lake, with depths ranging from a few inches to 20 feet, boasts good fishing for Bass, Bream and other fresh and saltwater species. A variety of birds, including Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Cormorants and Anhinga, will offer excellent bird watching and photo opportunities. The lake also supports plenty of other wildlife, including the American Alligator. There is approximately 2.5 miles of paved and natural paths for walking, jogging, biking, and other non-motorized activities. Lakes Regional Park has also been designated by the American Heart Association as an official "Smart! Walking Path!". We welcome people with disabilities and comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Island Restoration Project Video Caption: Lakes Regional Park Overview (courtesy of Bill Price) Activities & Amenities: Facilities: picnic shelters, lodge, gazebo, amphitheaterTrails & Fitness: walking trails, cycling trails, outdoor fitness equipment, sand volleyball courtsJust for the Kids: splash pads, playgrounds, miniature train ridesSports: bicycle and boat rentals, fishing areas (fishing license required)Gardens: rose garden, aquatic garden, fragrance garden, community garden, children's gardenTours: Lakes Park now has an assisted tour service called the E.Z. Rider Program. View the Park: You can see all of the park features on the Lakes Park Overview Map, see an aerial view of Lakes Regional Park or watch a video. Pets: We are not a pet friendly park so please remember to leave your pets at home. There are several dog friendly facilities in the county. Parking Fee: All motorized vehicles must pay $1 per hour or $5 for all day to park at Lakes Regional Park. The Lee County Annual Parking sticker is accepted at this park. You can buy the pass online or by visiting one of our Recreation Centers or our administrative office at Terry Park. Pedestrians and bicyclists may entry for free. Bicyclers & Pedestrian Access: Pedestrians and bicyclists can access the park via the bike-path on Gladiolus Drive or Summerlin Road. Boaters: The lake depth varies from just a few inches to over 20 feet. Non-motorized and small electric motor boats are welcome. You must sign in and out at the boat launch area. *Gas motors are strictly prohibited. *Living in Florida all of our water areas have different varieties of wildlife including the American Alligator. Be aware of your surroundings and know you share the water with wildlife.* E.Z. Rider Program: A Lee County Volunteer transports individuals and families who could not otherwise enjoy the park in a five-passenger golf cart through the park. The E.Z. Rider Program is BY RESERVATION only. Call 239-533-7575 (ext. 5) to schedule your reservation. Park Programs & Events: We offer programs and events throughout the year. To find out what is being offered in the park within the next few months, visit the Lakes Park Event Calendar. On-Site Vendors: Bike and boats can be rented through Wheel Fun Rentals, 239-332-2453. The Railroad Museum of South Florida operates a 1/8th scale railroad that travels through the north end of Lakes Park to areas of the park accessible only by rail. Contact them at 239-267-1905 for information, pricing and group rates. Land Stewardship (Management) Plan: Lakes Regional Park has 11 natural plant communities and five impacted communities or areas. A Land Stewardship (Management) Plan was developed to identify natural resources, discover ways to protect and/or utilize those resources, and implement activities to make Lakes Regional Park to more viable, functioning ecosystem. View the park's Land Stewardship (Management) Plan to learn more. *Throughout the park the exotic vegetation such as Australian Pine, Brazilian Pepper and Melaleuca have been removed and replanted with native species that will attract and support a more diverse population of wildlife.* Volunteers: Lakes Regional Park has volunteer opportunities with the EZ Rider Program, Community and Fragrance Garden, Train Village, the Railroad Museum, and Park Information Building ("the Nest"). Contact Ross Becker (239) 826-4233 Tuesday-Saturday for more information. The Nest was newly renovated to better serve our volunteers. Tile Outlets of America donated the material for this renovation. View the transformation. Picnic & Grill Areas: We have a few areas with two picnic tables and a grill throughout the park. They are FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE. These areas are the only places you may have a 10' x 10' E.Z. Up Shelter (no stakes). Stakes cannot be driven into ground. Tents are not allowed at Lakes Park. Bounce houses are not permitted (only allowed when reserving a shelter). Facility Rentals & Reservations: We strongly recommend you reserve in-advance! Shelters can be rented by calling 239-533-7578 or online. Call to rent the lodge, garden gazebo and amphitheater can only be rented over the phone. The shelters, lodge, garden gazebo and amphitheater are popular sites for parties and weddings. These sites are typically rent out 4 to 6 months in advance! The facility rental guide provides more information about each site. The shelter is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Staff will stop by to check on you and remind your party of the park rules and number in your party. Check-out is 5:00 p.m. You are responsible for transporting your own items to and from the reserved area, so consider bringing a wagon to help with the load - especially at the north end of the park! All reservations must be paid for in advance. A non-refundable $10 cancellation fee will be applied to facility rental transfers or cancellations received at least 72 hours prior to the facility rental date. Any cancellation made less than 72 hours prior to the facility rental date will not be entitled to any refund. Exceptions to this policy will be made at the discretion of the Parks and Recreation administration staff based on circumstances surrounding the cancellation. History Lakes Regional Park began as a man-made area where rock was quarried during the 1960's. The water comes from groundwater influx, surface water run-off and rainfall. The depth varies from a few inches to over 20 feet. It covers 158 acres of the 279 acre facility. It was purchased by the County in 1978. In 1982 ground was broken and it was developed for recreational use with the official "Grand Opening" on April 21, 1984. The basic facility has remained relatively unchanged since then with a few exceptions. In 1991 the "Fragrance Garden" was introduced and has grown from a small area of fragrant herbs, flowers and plants to a botanical type status with wide variety of plants, trees, shrubs and ground cover. In addition to this a "Memory Lane" was also started. This is achieved by monetary donations which dedicate Trees, shrubs, plants or benches to the memory of loved ones that are designated by plaques. The Lakes Regional Park Botanic Garden is in the conceptual phase. Fred Johnson, former Planning Manager for Lee County Parks, and Greg Diserio, Partner at David Jones Jr. and Associates, collaborated on the project. A presentation meeting was held on March 19th at Lakes Park. The concept plan will be available to view soon. In 1992 the re-alignment of Gladiolus Drive brought changes to the entrance of the facility and initiated the process of exotic vegetation removal and the replanting of native species, which continues today. In 1995 the "Miniature Railroad" opened for business. This is a scale model railroad that offers a 15 minute ride through the northern areas of the park. The ride runs beside the lake, through a tunnel and past several displays, such as scale villages, towns and natural areas. In 2004, the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation a 501.C(3) non for profit group was formed. This organization is organized by Lee County business leaders along with dedicated citizens who recognize Lakes Regional Park as an extremely important green area in Lee County. This foundation is dedicated to helping restore Lakes Regional Park to a native Florida wildlife environment through assisting Lee County Parks & Recreation with the implementation of its Master Plan. The plan includes themed areas of native vegetation, additional meandering boardwalks, paths and nature trails through the Lakes preserve and new park amenities. In 2014, three outdoor total body fitness stations were added to offer dozens of exercise options, from basic stretching and stair steps to more strenuous pull-ups and squats. Two more stations will be added along the biking and jogging trail once donations are secured. This equipment also includes fitness guides for beginners and advanced athletes, suggested daily workout schedules and accompanying videos that users can view from a smart phone. Overall, the future restoration and enhancements will create an even more attractive wildlife environment for the community to enjoy. If you are interested in being a member of this group to help restore and preserve this beautiful park please call 239-533-7575 (ext. 5) or visit Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation.