STEP BACK IN TIME WITH OUR
History Walks Of Bonita Springs
The BSHS has partnered with Calusa Ghost Tours to provide a series of educational and entertaining history walks in our downtown. There are several different walk itineraries, each focusing on a particular area and with different activities.  There are normally two walks per month. Custom walk and docent tours of our buildings may be arranged for your group. See below for dates & details of upcoming Walks.

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DOWNTOWN LANDMARKS
Hear stories of the people, buildings, and places that shaped Bonita Springs—and about what’s happening to revitalize our downtown. Starting at the Liles Hotel History Center, we make stops at the Imperial River, Riverside Park, the Banyan Tree, 1915 McSwain Home, historic murals, and more. Learn about lost landmarks like Baird’s Camp, Bonita Court, Pavilion, Wayside Inn, and Post Office.

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PLACES OF WONDERMENT
Hear about lost historic tourist attractions of wonderment like the original Shell Factor (now in North Fort Myers), Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, and Mystery House. Then get a VIP tour of the 80-year-old Everglades Wonder Gardens, still going strong, to experience the history and beauty of this tropical oasis and learn about the colorful Piper brothers who created it.

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HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME
Learn how Bonita Springs got its name and stories
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about many of our oldest buildings. Tour Shangri-La Springs, one of our first developments and site of the springs that gave Bonita Springs its name. Learn about the owners and intriguing uses of this resort over time. We’ll also make stops at the Goodbread Grocery, our 1921 Elementary School on the National Registry of History Places, our oldest church, Fleming House, and other neighborhoods with historic houses. Stay afterward for an optional garden-to-table lunch at the Shangri-La and learn about its exciting new programs.

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CRUISIN’ DOWN THE RIVER
The Imperial River and its tributaries were the main means of travel and commerce in Bonita Springs until the first railroads and the Tamiami Trail (now Old US 41) in the 1920s. The river was a vital to fishing and recreation, attracting winter visitors and new residents. Walk along the river to Depot Park and over the river to Island Park. Learn about the community’s main dock and Rosemary Creek. End your tour at the Casner Home, the Historical Society’s 1930s period house, and see other historic homes in the Riverside subdivision.
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LAND OF THE CALUSA
Learn about the archaeology of the first peoples to live in Bonita Springs. Hear the stories of the mighty Calusa, who ruled all of Southwest Florida and whose capital was Mound Key in Estero Bay, including their contact with the Spanish starting in 1513. See demonstrations of the tools the Calusa used to prosper: the atlatl (an ancient device to throw a spear for fishing) shell tool making, weaving, and more. Walk to Island Park and learn about our native plants and ecology.

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GHOST WALK FROM THE PAST
Listen to mysterious local tales, meet a historic ghost, and learn about fascinating characters of our past, from Calusa chiefs to the Piper brothers of the Everglades Wonder Gardens.

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CUSTOM AND GROUP TOURS
We’ll bring history to your group, friends, or business associates with creative custom events:
> Tour the Liles Hotel History Center and other historic sites with optional catered picnic or snacks
> Tea Socials at the Society’s Casner Home, a 1930s period house
> Downtown bicycle tours
> Imperial River paddle history tour
> Trolley tours
> Private social and business meetings
> History presentations at your location or ours

Call us at 239-992-6997 or email info@BonitaSpringsHistoricalSociety.org and we’ll make it happen!

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UPCOMING SCHEDULE


January 20, Friday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $30 in advance, $40 the day of.

History Wonder Walk”   PLACES OF WONDERMENT

Take a guided walk through the Liles Hotel History Center and hear stories of Bonita Spring's origins and past. Walk through the historic plaza and hear about the water towers, artists cabins, the Imperial River, and the local businesses of old downtown. Learn about our lost historic attractions of wonderment like the Shell Factory, the Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, and the Mystery House.

Then visit the Everglades Wonder Gardens and get a VIP Tour through the jungle. Experience the history, beauty and wonder of this tropical oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Twisted Tangle Cafe right next to the Gardens is suggested. 

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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February 4, Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Springs History Walk”   HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME 

Learn how Bonita Springs got its name and about many of our oldest buildings. Hear the history of the Shangri La Resort, the first developments of our town, the Goodbread Grocery, our Elementary School (which its listed on the National Registry of History Places), our oldest standing church, local Art In Public Places, the Corner Store, the Fleming House, and neighborhood areas with historic houses. 

After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Shangri La is suggested. Relax and enjoy the beauty of this historic oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. Lunch entrees from $12 - $20. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours.

Start/End at Liles at the Shangri La Resort. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours. 
Meet at 10am at the Shangri La, 27580 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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February 17, Friday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Calusa History Walk”   LAND OF THE CALUSA 

Learn about the archaeology of the first peoples to live in Bonita Springs. Hear the stories of the mighty Calusa, who ruled all of Southwest Florida and whose capital was Mound Key in Estero Bay, including their contact with the Spanish starting in 1513. See demonstrations of the tools the Calusa used to prosper: the atlatl (an ancient device to throw a spear for fishing and hunting) shell tool making, weaving, and more.  

Walk through Depot park over the Imperial River to Island park and learn about our native plants and ecology.  Afterwards, enjoy a picnic lunch or eat at one of the nearby restaurants (lunch not included).

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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March 11, Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Downtown Walk Through History"   DOWNTOWN LANDMARKS

Walk through historic downtown with your local guides and listen to the stories of early Bonita Springs. See and learn about the people and places that once were at the center of Bonita Springs commerce and social life along the Tamiami Trail and the Imperial River.

Features the Liles Hotel History Center, Artist Cottages, Imperial River, Riverside Park, the Banyan Tree, Savannah's, Engels Bike Shop, Bensons Groceries, CGT Kayaks Inc, the Reality Building, Shear Unity Spa, First Baptist Church, the new downtown clock and the Art & Public Places murals, the Historical Society's 1915 McSwain Home, and more.

Learn about the Tin Canners, the Home of the Tiger Snook, and lost buildings like Doc Baird's Camp, Eagle Hotel, Bonita Court, the Pavilion and Community Center, the Wayside Inn, Post Office, Lawhon's Grocery, etc.

Along the way, stop at For Heaven Shakes and get some delicious ice cream (cost not included).

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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March 24, Friday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"River History Walk"   CRUSIN’ DOWN THE RIVER

The Imperial River and its tributaries were the main means of travel and commerce in Bonita Springs until the first railroads and the Tamiami Trail (now Old US 41) in the 1920s. The river was a vital to fishing and recreation, attracting winter visitors and new residents. Walk along the river to Depot Park and over the river to Island Park. Learn about the community’s main dock and Rosemary Creek. End your tour at the Casner Home and enjoy a leisurely walk back.

Highlights include: Learning about pioneer life along the Imperial River and Rosemary Creek, along with Riverside Park, Liles Hotel Historic Plaza, Depot Park, the dock, Island Park, and see the historic homes in the Riverside Subdivision.

Includes a docent tour of the Casner Home, the Society’s 1930’s Period House, with refreshments provided. After the tour, optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Survey Cafe at one of the nearby restaurants suggested.

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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April 8, Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $30 in advance, $40 the day of.

History Wonder Walk”   PLACES OF WONDERMENT

Take a guided walk through the Liles Hotel History Center and hear stories of Bonita Spring's origins and past. Walk through the historic plaza and hear about the water towers, artists cabins, the Imperial River, and the local businesses of old downtown. Learn about our lost historic attractions of wonderment like the Shell Factory, the Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, and the Mystery House.

Then visit the Everglades Wonder Gardens and get a VIP Tour through the jungle. Experience the history, beauty and wonder of this tropical oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Twisted Tangle Cafe right next to the Gardens is suggested. 

Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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April 21, Friday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

"Springs History Walk”   HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME 

Learn how Bonita Springs got its name and about many of our oldest buildings. Hear the history of the Shangri La Resort, the first developments of our town, the Goodbread Grocery, our Elementary School (which its listed on the National Registry of History Places), our oldest church, local Art In Public Places, the Corner Store, the Fleming House, and neighborhood areas with historic houses. 

After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the Shangri La is suggested. Relax and enjoy the beauty of this historic oasis in the middle of Bonita Springs. Lunch entrees from $12 - $20. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours.

Start/End at the Shangri La Resort. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 2 hours. 
Meet at 10am at the Shangri La, located at 27580 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. For History Walk reservations, call 239-221-8218, or email  calusaghosttours@gmail.com

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