​Local Highlight of the Week

See what you can experience with AHNA in South Florida!


What to Pack: 1 Week to Conference

It’s here! AHNA’s conference is next week! Hopefully you have already started packing by now, but in case you haven’t, here are some tips to get you ready for the big weekend:

  • Clothes: Plan for comfort! Florida is very humid, and can get quite warm as well. Bring a nice outfit or two, but know that you will be surrounded by tourists wherever you go in this laid-back state. Bring clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and sandy, as rain and sand are hard to avoid, wherever you go.

  • Personal Care: Sunscreen is a must. The Florida sun can be unforgiving, so prepare for it by applying sunscreen daily. Sunglasses and a hat also will help protect you from the sun.

  • Conference: Be sure to bring any paperwork you need! And bring things to write with, as you will want to remember some of the great ideas presented in your workshops.

From all of us here at AHNA, we can’t wait to see you!


Hotel Dining: 2 Weeks to Conference

While Bonita Springs has plenty of restaurants in town, Coconut Point Resort has multiple dining options inside for their residents to enjoy. Grab breakfast at Tanglewood, lunch poolside at Corkscrew or enjoy a seafood dinner at Tarpon Bay with live smooth jazz on Friday and Saturday night. Drop by Mangroves for a drink at the full bar, or grab Starbucks coffee at Cool Beans on your way to your next session. Whatever you need, Coconut Point is sure to have it to keep you satisfied. Visit http://coconutpoint.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining.html for hours.


Local Eats: Ristorante Enrico: 3 Weeks to Conference

Another one of Bonita Springs’ treasured eateries is Ristorante Enrico, a Southern Italian restaurant 15 minutes south of the hotel. Ristorante Enrico offers pizza, pasta and other Italian dinners at affordable prices ($12-25). Reservations are not taken, so plan ahead or prepare for a short wait. Visit http://www.resturantenrico.com/ for more information. 


Hotel Activities: 4 Weeks to Conference

During your stay at The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort, you will find endless attractions and activities to supplement your time at our conference right on the resort location. Perhaps a swim in one of the three pools or a stop in the hot tub would help you unwind from a busy day. The Belvedere room offers a quiet, comfortable location to play checkers, chess, backgammon or cards. Bicycles, Kayaks, and cabanas are all available to rent. Visit http://coconutpoint.hyatt.com/en/hotel/activities.html for more information.


Big Hickory Island Beach: 5 Weeks to Conference

For some time to get away from it all, take a ride on the hotel’s shuttle to their private beach. Big Hickory Island Beach is a secluded beach 15 minutes away by boat. Chairs and umbrellas are available on site. Shuttles leave the marina once an hour at 45 on the hour, and leave the beach 15 minutes on the hour. The first shuttle leaves the marina at 9:45 and the last shuttle leaves the beach at 4:15. Visit http://coconutpoint.hyatt.com/en/hotel/activities/area-activities/bighickoryislandbeach.html for more information.


Indigenous Species of Florida: 6 Weeks to Conference

Florida is home to some of the widest varieties of wildlife in the United States. Nearly 500 species of birds alone call Florida home. Frogs, snakes, lizards and insects all roam the coast in the 80% plus humidity. Although alligators and crocodiles are the state’s most popular residents, they are also under close watch. The American Crocodile has recovered from endangered status, but remains a threatened species. The American Alligator was endangered in the 1970s, but was fully recovered in 1987 due to increased efforts to stop poaching.


Local Eats: A Table Apart: 7 Weeks to Conference

Bonita Springs is home to restaurants to suit any type of tastes. But for seafood lovers, Bonita Springs can be a paradise. After all, restaurants can afford to get the best fish when the ocean is only five minutes away. The best destination restaurant, at least according to Yelp, can be found 15 minutes south of the hotel. A Table Apart serves what is described as American and Seafood, with braised pork, lamb chops, and fresh grilled fish highlighting the menu. Dinners range from $19-35. You can check out the menu for yourself at http://www.atableapart.com.


Getting Around: 8 Weeks to Conference

The conference’s hotel, The Hyatt Regency, is conveniently located on the coast of Estero Bay, providing great views right from your hotel room. Nearby towns include Estero, (10 minutes north, population 18,000) Bonita Springs, (15 minutes southeast, population 44,000) and Fort Myers (45 minutes north, population 70,000). Most north-south travel will be done on Highway 41, which is a straight shot three minutes east on Coconut Road. 



The Airport: 9 Weeks to Conference

The nearest major airport where most will arrive for the conference is Southwest Florida International Airport, about a 30 minute drive though Estero.  AHNA has partnered with Superior Airport Shuttle to get our conference attendees to and from the airport. Prices are $33 per passenger, with a discounted group rate of $8 per passenger after three passengers. Contact (239) 267-4777 or visit www.superiorairportshuttle.com for more information.



Promenade at Bonita Bay: 10 Weeks to Conference

Only 15 minutes south of the conference hotel, The Promenade at Bonita Bay offers a wide range of shopping, dining, entertainment, and professional service options for locals and visitors alike. The promenade has dozens of upscale shops with beautiful natural and native greenery all around. The open-air district is a perfect destination for fine retail stores, unique boutiques, high end salons, and delectable restaurants. Visit http://www.promenadeshops.com/ for more information.


Stillwater Spa: 11 Weeks to Conference

Just down the hall in the Coconut Point Hyatt Regency Resort is Stillwater Spa, a full service spa retreat with treatments inspired by Florida’s natural beauty. Full-body massages, facials and body treatments are all available to make your stay as relaxing as possible.

Call (239) 444-1234 or visit http://coconutpoint.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas/ for more information.


Weather: 12 Weeks to Conference


Bonita Springs is home to warm temperatures year round, and this year’s conference should be no exception. Temperatures are expected to reach as high as the low 90s and fall to the low 70s at night. Humidity maintains around an 80% level and will reach 100% at times. Rain is also a common occurrence in the afternoon, as Bonita Springs averages 8 inches of rain during the month of June. Around this time of the year, you can expect a short rain every day around 4 p.m. Read here for more information on sunscreen and here for more information on Bonita Springs’ weather patterns.

To prepare for this weather, sunscreen is a must. To keep your skin healthy, apply sunscreen before prolonged exposure to the sun, and reapply sunscreen every two hours you stay outside. Sunglasses and hats are also recommended to help protect from UV and UVB rays. Sunscreen is available in the hotel. 


Miromar Outlets Shopping Mall: 13 Weeks to Conference

For your shopping pleasure, 20 minutes northeast of the Conference hotel, Miromar Outlets offers over 140 designer and brand name outlets at up to 70% off retail prices. Rated as the #1 thing to do in Estero by TripAdvisor, you are sure to find something that suits your style. There are over 19 dining options are also available at this location. Visit http://www.miromaroutlets.com for more information.


Edison and Ford Estates: 15 Weeks to Conference

Located 20 miles north of the Conference hotel are the Edison and Ford estates, where the two great American innovators Thomas Edison and Henry Ford spent their winters. Rated as the #1 attraction in Fort Myers by TripAdvisor, the estate offers a wide variety of attractions, including tours of the two estates, a museum dedicated to the lives of the entrepreneurs, and a 20-acre botanical garden, parts of which was planted by Edison himself.

Admission to the grounds is $20, or $25 to include a guided tour of the estates. The grounds are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (239)334-7419 or visit http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org for more information. 


Lovers Key State Park: 16 Weeks to Conference

Just across Estero Bay is Lovers Key State Park, rated on of Florida's top natural beaches. The island is home to dozens of indigenous species and a two-mile long beach. Kayak tours are available to see the best parts of the island. The island is a 25 minute car ride away from the Conference hotel.

The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to sundown every day. Attendees of AHNAs’ conference have the option to join others for a two-hour boat tour and Morning Shelling Excursion on June 4th. Cost of attendance is $57. 

Call (239) 463-4588 or visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Lovers-Key for more information.



Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Secretary: 17 Weeks to Conference

A 45 minute drive east from the Conference hotel puts you right in the middle of a 13,000 acre preserve, home to the Florida ecosystem in its natural habitat. Many resident species rely on the Everglades’ freshwater wetlands that Audubon works so hard to protect. Along the boardwalk, you will find a pristine wilderness that dates back more than 500 years. A 2.25 mile path meanders through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. Bring your camera as you will be assured that there are stunning photo opportunities available at every turn of the boardwalk trail. Attendees of AHNA’s conference have the option to join a tour of the Corkscrew Sanctuary Friday, June 3. Cost of attendance is $40. Visit http://corkscrew.audubon.org for more information.


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre: 18 Weeks to Conference

For a bit of live entertainment, 20 miles north of the Conference hotel is the Broadway Palm Dinner theatre, a 450-seat theatre that has been entertaining locals and tourists from across the world since 1993. Attendees of AHNA's Conference have the option to join others in attending Menopause: The Musical on June 2nd. Cost of attendance is $75. Visit http://www.broadwaypalm.com/ for more information.


ECHO Global Farm Tour: 19 Weeks to Conference

The ECHO Global Farm is a “living classroom” in which development workers, and others working overseas, can see simple farming techniques and technologies for use around the world. The ECHO team gathers solutions from around the world that are addressing hunger problems and disseminate them to their active network. These solutions promote sustainable farming techniques, nutritional plants, and appropriate technologies for the environment. 

The ECHO Global Farm is 35 minutes north of the Conference hotel.  The ECHO’s Global Farm Tour offers a fascinating guided, walking tour of the most creative working farm you have ever experienced. You will find demonstrations, plants, and techniques useful to farmers and urban gardeners in developing countries. You will explore rain-forest habitats, stop at a simulated rural school, and witness urban gardening techniques that allow gardens on rooftops. You will also see some simple technologies and visit their friendly farm animals.

Attendees of AHNA’s conference have the option to join a tour of the ECHO Global Farm Wednesday, June 1st. Cost of attendance is $52. Visit http://echonet.org/global-farm-tours for more information.


Sunset Dolphin Cruises: 20 Weeks to Conference

Sit back, relax and enjoy this two-hour cruise on the backwaters of Estero Bay. Take in the breathtaking sights and sounds of Mother Nature as she settles in for a colorful sunset. Taking in the view, you are ensured to see some dolphins dancing in the waves. You won’t want to miss this unique experience. Attendees of AHNAs’ conference have the option to join others in attending the cruise on May 31st. Cost of attendance is $55.



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