At the southernmost tip of Gasparilla Island lies the oldest structure on Gasparilla Island, the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. The historic lighthouse, built in 1890, is only house-dwelling style lighthouse in the State of Florida open to the public and home of Barrier Island Parks Society (BIPS). The charming museum inside the lighthouse opened in 1999, contains collections and exhibits of local Charlotte Harbor spanning ancient Indians to modern times and include local Calusa, Spanish, Fishing, Railroad, Phosphate, Social and Natural histories. The last room houses a unique gift shop whose profits support the museum. For more information, to volunteer or learn more about upcoming events, please call 941.964.0060.
BIPS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 whose mission is to preserve and support the natural assets, lighthouses and history of their affiliated island state parks including Gasparilla, Cayo Costa, Don Pedro and Stump Pass through education and collaboration. For more information on our organization, how to become a member or to give us feedback on how we can serve you better, please call the museum at 941.964.0060.
Boca Grande Art Center [BGAC] is the community hub for visual artists and art enthusiasts of Gasparilla Island. The goals of the Arts Center are to promote awareness in the arts and to positively enrich the Boca Grande cultural milieu by hosting revolving exhibitions and educational art classes for year round residents, the general public and seasonal visitors. The Art Center cultivates the creativity of local artists’ vision with the provision of a common work space, educational programs, and cultural events and tours. Visit a show or take a class: we are located at 236 Banyan Street across from the Historical Society and ‘Boca Bargains’. Please contact us at 964-1700.
The business community of the Boca Grande area consists of a diverse group of small businesses, all of which are interested in the prosperity of their individual businesses as well as the integrity of the business community. The Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce offers opportunities to network with other business people in the community and share ideas. The Organization offers members such benefits as marketing, promotion, participation and cooperation with local, state and national Chamber organizations, Chamber representation at Florida trade and fishing shows and more. The Chamber creates and actively participates in many social and charitable events benefiting the island and the rest of our service area. Chamber membership is the standard that vendors and customers use when seeking referrals and options and they are more likely to choose a Chamber member business for quality of service and overall customer satisfaction. Call (941) 964-0568.
The Boca Grande Preschool is a nonprofit, nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory facility licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families to care for 30 children from age one to five. The children are cared for by an exceptional staff which includes a credentialed Director/Head Teacher and four full time highly qualified Teachers.
The mission of the Boca Grande Preschool at Our Lady of Mercy Church is to provide high quality early childhood developmental services to members of the Boca Grande community. We are able to provide quality childcare services at an affordable price because of the generous donations and grants received by members of the Boca Grande community. For more information, call the Child Care Center at (941) 964-2885 or email email@example.com.
The Boca Grande Community Center (at the corner of Park Avenue and First Street) was once Boca Grande’s School, serving grades one through twelve. It was designed in 1929 and built by the citizens of the town. In 1936 an addition was added. For 35 years the classrooms were filled with students aged 5 to 18. With declining enrollment the school was closed in 1963. Island children are now bussed to schools on the nearby mainland in Charlotte County, or attend our very own Island School, a charter school of the Lee County School District.
In 1975, through the cooperative efforts of Lee County, the Boca Grande Woman’s Club, and the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, the school was converted into the Boca Grande Community Center.
The Boca Grande Community Center has recreational and meeting facilities, including an auditorium which serves as the “town hall” and is used by many of the island organizations for live theater, lectures, and group meetings. There is a large multi-purpose room, a fully equipped fitness center, two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a well-equipped children’s playground. All facilities are open to the public.
The Boca Grande Health Clinic is a non-profit organization that provides medical care to the Gasparilla Island community. The Clinic is staffed year round with board certified physicians providing ongoing primary healthcare to patients of the Clinic, and providing urgent healthcare services for all of the community. Physicians may be seen by appointment or on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday, except holidays. A physician is on-call 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The on-call physician may be reached by calling the Clinic at 941-964-2276 and follow instructions.
The Boca Grande Health Clinic Annex is operated by the clinic to support visiting specialists and provide ancillary services. Information concerning the Annex services may be obtained through this website or by calling 941-964-0490.
The Clinic and Annex are modern, well equipped facilities. Staff is well trained and competent to provide personalized care of patients. When you call the clinic you can expect to have a live person answer the phone and respond to your needs. Staff always puts patients first!
The Clinic is governed by an elected board of directors and is supported by the generosity of community contributions and memberships. Boca Grande Health Clinic provides a level of healthcare services that are not fully supported by fees paid by patients for services rendered at the clinic.
The Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation is the fundraising arm of the organization. The Foundation raises and manages capital to subsidize the operating and capital needs of the Clinic. For more information about supporting the Boca Grande Health Clinic contact the Foundation at 941-964-0099, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at http://bghcfoundation.com.
The Boca Grande Historical Society was founded in 1995 as an outgrowth of efforts by a small group of residents to celebrate the sesquicentennial of Florida’s achievement of statehood in 1845. Its mission statement requires the Society to collect, preserve and share with the public, information, photographic images and other memorabilia relating to Boca Grande’s and the region’s history. The Society is committed to maintaining professional standards of historical accuracy. Through activities, educational programs and publications we promote an enhanced interest in and knowledge of local, regional, and state history and the relationship of that history to the present and the projected future. Visit our museum at 170 Park Ave. in the Historic Teacherage House to learn more about our fascinating past, and share your knowledge of island history with us. Call (941) 964-1600 for more information or visit us online at www.bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com.
Formed in 1986 for the sole purpose of raising funds to support the programs and activities of the Boca Grande Community Center, the Friends of Boca Grande has grown from a passive benefactor to an active participant in the management of the Center. Today the Friends organization is poised to lend expertise and leadership to community needs beyond those at the Center. The Friend’s mission is to provide educational, cultural and recreational programs for an enhanced quality of life in the Boca Grande community in collaboration with Lee County and other organizations. Please call (941) 964-0827 or visit the website at www.friendsofbocagrande.org.
Established in 1971 the GICIA is an organization created and supported by the citizens of Boca Grande for the purpose of protecting and enhancing the quality of life on our unique island. Preservation of the beauty, ambiance and character of Boca Grande is a direct result of GICIA inspired legislation known as the Gasparilla Island Conservation District Act of 1980. The GICIA also contributes to the preservation of island open space by owning and maintaining 5 miles of Bike Path and 125 aces of environmentally sensitive property.
Under the direction of Misty Nabers Nichols, Executive Director, and an 11 member board of directors, the GICIA is dedicated to promoting the general welfare of the Boca Grande community by preserving island atmosphere, enhancing quality of life, conserving natural resources, protecting the integrity of the Gasparilla Island Conservation District Act, and supporting other public and private initiatives that will shape the future of our community.
The JF library Foundation maintains the campus where the Johann Fust Community Library, which is now a branch of the Lee County Library System, is located at the corner of Tenth Street and Gasparilla Road. It is a lovely pink stucco building. The library, built in 1949, was a gift to the people of Boca Grande from winter residents Mr. and Mrs. Roger Amory. The Amory’s once operated a book boat – a floating library, which carried newspapers, magazines and books to neighboring islands.
Walk through the cool arcade of native keystone and cypress into an open-air loggia and relax for a while beside the charming fountain and attractive gardens. There is even a butterfly garden behind the Cost Cottage. The library grounds provide a beautiful setting for art exhibitions, concerts and lectures by authors and other guest speakers. The library includes a children’s room and reference section, including 10,000 volumes. Call (941) 964-2488 for more information and hours of operation.
The JF Library Foundation provides programming of and handles the rental of the grounds, Library Apartment and Cost Cottage. The Foundation office is open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. They can be reached at (941) 964-0211 or e-mail at JFLibraryFoundation@comcast.net.
The Royal Palm Players is in its second successful decade of producing theatre and bringing the performing arts to Boca Grande. The theatre engages local and professional actors/entertainers and provides education as well as opportunities in all aspects of theatre production for community members and their children. The theatre is in full swing during the months of November through April. The ballet, workshops, concerts, special events, and engaging productions can be found in their diverse and ambitious season. Stop by their office at the Community Center or call (941) 964-2670 for more information.
The Island School is a charter school sponsored by Lee County Public Schools. It is a school of choice, free of charge, for students from Kindergarten through fifth grade. The school provides an innovative learning environment, enriching the lives of its children, parents and community. The Island School has small classes and highly qualified faculty certified by the State of Florida. The teachers challenge children to develop knowledge, personal citizenship skills within context, a sense of community, and problem solving skills. The Project CHILD instructional system enhances our successful Teaching for Understanding instructional model and adds rigor to teaching and learning.
The Island School is conveniently located near the center of town, close to businesses. This proximity allows parents to actively participate in their child’s daily learning experience. Community members and visitors are encouraged to be part of The Island School Family. Volunteers are always welcome to share their time and talents with our students. Monetary donations are also welcome. Each year the school seeks charitable contributions to bridge the gap between what it receives per student from the State and the total cost of each student’s education. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. For more information, visit the website at www.tisbocagrande.org.
Other Boca Grande Clubs and Associations
The Boca Grande Camera Club meets at the Community Center from November – April. The mission of the Boca Grande Club is two-fold: to provide discussion and education among members regarding digital photography, and to demonstrate to the Boca Grande community the resources and talent the members represent. For more information, contact the Camera Club via email at 33921CameraClub@gmail.com.
The Boca Grande Duplicate Bridge Club offers a competitive, stratified ACBL-sanctioned* duplicate game. A Monday afternoon sanctioned game and a Monday morning beginner lesson option has been added this season. In addition, we will be continuing the ever popular “Connie’s Game” on Friday afternoons in Season.
The 70-plus charter captains who make up the non-profit BGFGA are dedicated to encouraging and improving the conditions and facilities available to anglers and guides in regard to sport fishing in the waters surrounding Gasparilla Island. Expert professional guides provide great fishing memories to Boca Grande visitors. For more information, visit the website at www.bocagrandefishing.com.
The Boca Grande Garden Club, founded in 1997, provides its 300 members with opportunities to learn and practice conservation of the environment, principles of gardening and landscaping, and the art of flower arranging. Monthly meetings, held from November through April of each season, feature nationally or locally known experts in one or more of these areas of interest. During the season the club also holds workshops and sponsors a variety of field trips. All Garden Club events are open to the public for a guest fee on a space available basis except the Annual Garden and Home Tour which is for members only. Current dues are $50 for the season. For more information, contact Nora Lea Reefe by email at email@example.com or by phone at 941- 964-1491.
The Boca Grande Woman’s Club was organized in early Fall 1948 and became a member of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs and the State Organization, Florida Federation of Woman’s Clubs in 1949. While the club is no longer a member of the Federation, it has continuously promoted and contributed to many community projects and has won State and Federation awards for its work. Today all of the Woman’s Club charitable giving supports the town of Boca Grande, including college scholarships for children who live in Boca Grande or whose parents work on island.
Club members are volunteer workers who enrich their lives by helping to build a better Boca Grande. For membership information contact Mikey Baer at 941-964-0889.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority (GIBA) was created by an act of the State Legislature in 1996 to give local control of the Tolls, all 3-Bridges and 2 ½ miles of Causeway to the GIBA board of Supervisors. The GIBA is a local special district run by 5 elected supervisors and 4-appointed supervisors all of who live within the GIBA voting district, which starts at the traffic light on Placida Rd, in Placida and continues past the village of Boca Grande to the lighthouse at the south end of Gasparilla Island.
For the past 5 years, GIBA has been proactively been engaged in long range engineering and financial planning to replace all 3-bridges and improve the causeway traffic flow as the new bridges are replaced. For details on the 2-new fixed bridges and the new Swing Bridge go to the GIBA Web site (www.giba.us, refer to the Bridge Info tab). Please remember all GIBA Board Meetings are public meetings and the public is encouraged to attend. Meetings are noticed in the newspaper and are posted on the GIBA Web Site: www.giba.us.
Many of Florida’s beach-nesting birds and turtles have experienced decline because of habitat loss and excessive disturbance at nest and colonies. In response, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a growing network of partners are working to improve protection and management of important nesting locations throughout Florida.
The volunteers spend countless hours organizing people and educational program material for beachfront residents and renters on Gasparilla Island. Residents and visitors help with monitoring, surveys, posting nest sites, bird stewardship, and sea turtle patrol. Participants receive mandatory training.
For more information, feel free to contact:
Gasparilla Island Sea Turtle Patrol – Grace at 941-964-5642
Shorebird Monitor – Nancy at 941-964-0097
The Rug Hookers meet at the Boca Grande Community Center. Check the calendar for dates. New members are always welcome. Call Sylvia Campbell at 941-964-0928 for details.
Off-Island Groups and Organization that support Boca Grande
The Gulf Coast Preservation Society is a nonprofit, educational and research organization that was founded to keep people informed about the major environmental threats facing the Gulf of Mexico, and to find solutions to these problems. The Society works with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the Ocean Conservancy, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, as well as other nonprofit organizations and community minded businesses that are dedicated to maintaining a clean, healthy marine and coastal environment in the Gulf of Mexico.
The main priority of the Society and its partners is dedication to research that will help us to better understand the natural and man-made factors that have led to the growth of the ‘Dead Zone,’ red tide, and other environmental problems facing the marine habitat in the Gulf. The Society provides information about ways to minimize and mitigate the health effects of these phenomena to humans and marine life. Currently the Society is doing research for a film about the long term effects of the BP oil spill on the Gulf’s marine habitat.
The mailing address for donations is P.O. Box 733, Boca Grande, FL, 33921. Those parties interested in becoming large corporate or Ambassador Sponsors should call 941-554-7606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The website for the Society can be found at www.gulfpreserve.org.
Lemon Bay Conservancy is headquartered in Englewood, Florida. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit land trust dedicated to the preservation, protection, and acquisition of coastal natural areas important to maintain the ecological balance of Lemon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and its vital adjacent waters and uplands. In our fourth decade of service to the community, our purpose is:
- Saving land – Lemon Bay Conservancy’s (LBC) stated vision is to forever protect and preserve the natural features of Lemon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the surrounding waters and uplands through property acquisition and management
- Educating – Providing environmental education to residents and visitors alike through lectures, programs, events, newsletters, and electronic media.
- Advocating – Support of appropriate land and water protection and conservation policies, programs, practices, laws, and ordinances at the Federal, State, and local level.
- Wildflower Preserve – With proactive vision and herculean effort, the LBC acquired the abandoned Wildflower Golf Course on Placida Road in 2010 and renamed it Wildflower Preserve. LBC members and volunteers are now actively transforming the 78 acre preserve with a variety of improvements aimed at enhancing its special natural habitat and attracting more of our seasonal and year round critters. Current LBC – Wildflower improvement projects include: upgrading the juvenile tarpon nursery and gopher tortoise burrows; removing invasive plants; adding more native plants to improve butterfly and birding habitat; and building a new user friendly trail system for year round educational tours and enjoyment by LBC members and the community.
For more information, visit the website at www.lemonbayconservancy.org.
The Wildlife Center of Venice is a State and Federally permitted facility that rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife. This is the only facility where rescued wildlife from Gasparilla Island and surrounding areas can be taken for medical treatment and rehab. Due to the delicate nature of their recovery and to avoid creating a stressful environment, the Wildlife Center of Venice is not able to open its doors to the public. Telephone: 941-484-9657; Emergency 941-416-4967. For more information, visit the website at www.wildlifecenterofvenice.org.