Experience Punta Gorda, Florida, with Special Combo Offer through Sept. 30, 2022

Experience Punta Gorda Combo Special Pass - Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens, Peace River Wildlife Center, Military Heritage Museum - now through Sept. 30, 2022.

Disclosure: Some posts on this blog may contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is so I can support my traveling habit, my special-needs dog, and this blog.

I recently experienced Punta Gorda, Florida, with a new special combo offer and you can do it, too! Called “Experience Punta Gorda,” the $25 ticket grants one-time access to three beloved attractions between now and Sept. 30, 2022. These attractions represent valor and patriotism, beauty and culture, and education and rehabilitation.

That's me experiencing Punta Gorda at the Peace River Botanical Gardens in front of the "Ostriches" sculpture.
That’s me experiencing Punta Gorda at the Peace River Botanical Gardens in front of the “Ostriches” sculpture.

When it comes to Florida tourism, September is traditionally the slowest month. Summer vacations are over, kids are back in school, and well, it’s the peak of hurricane season. It’s also a little hot and humid. For us Floridians, it’s an opportunity to visit attractions we may not be able to access during the rest of the year because of visitation levels, packed schedules, or we just don’t want to deal with traffic and parking.

"Keel" by Turkish artist Mr. Kemal Tufan at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.
“Keel” by Turkish artist Mr. Kemal Tufan at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.

How to Experience Punta Gorda, Fla.

If you haven’t visited any of these Punta Gorda attractions, now’s your chance to do so while saving a little bit of money. Considering adult admission into the gardens is $18, the museum is $14, and consider a $5 – $10 donation to the wildlife center, the savings is pretty good. Even if you qualify for senior or veteran/military rates at the gardens ($15 for seniors) or museum ($12 for veterans or active-duty military), the savings is decent. It’s also a way to get out and support local businesses, ones that out-of-town visitors adore and love.

If you’ll be visiting all three attractions in one day, I recommend visiting in the following order. Why? It’s the best way to beat the Southwest Florida September heat and afternoon rains.

"Tree Trellises" at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.
“Tree Trellises” at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens

View nearly 20 whimsical and sometimes a bit quirky, sculptures nestled in some of the 27 acres of the beautifully lush Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. Artists from around the globe crafted these gorgeous pieces. The first and signature piece installed in the gardens is “Steel Palm,” by Boston artist Mr. Jacob Kulin. A 50-million-year-old palm frond fossil in the founder’s private collection inspired the sculpture and gardens’ logo. The stunning artwork stands 18-feet tall and contains more than a dozen individual pieces. The second installed piece is “Keel” by Turkish artist Mr. Kemal Tufan. It replicates a boat keel and has more than 20 individual pieces. The heaviest piece weighs 5,800 lbs.

Three sculptures were added following the ZimSculpt exhibit. These pieces are carved from stone by Zimbabwean artists. My favorite is a fanciful octopus sitting on the bank of the koi pond.

"Laundry Daze" at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.
“Laundry Daze” at the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Colorful, playful, and can’t miss sculptures (because you need to drive by them) are “Milk Factory” by Vincent Leow (Singapore), “Laundry Daze” by Paul Guilmette (U.S.A.), and “Yellow Andy” by Jack Dowd (U.S.A.). Don’t miss the amusing butterfly house with native Florida butterflies fluttering about.

Regarding flora, admire the bougainvillea climbing up the “Tree Trellises” by the butterfly garden, inhale the scents in the Sensory Garden, and walk through mangroves along the boardwalk. Also view cactus, bromeliads, ferns, staghorn, hibiscus, and other beautiful botanicals (Fun fact: Punta Gorda’s nickname is the Hibiscus City!).

Plan Your Visit to the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens

Summer (June – September) hours for the Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens are Tuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (October-May: open daily 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and closed for major holidays). The gardens are located at 5827 Riverside Dr. For additional information, visit their website or call 941-621-8299. (Adult admission is $18 without the Experience Punta Gorda special combo offer.)

An ambassador owl poses for a photo at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Fla.
An ambassador owl poses for a photo at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Peace River Wildlife Center

Get nose-to-beak with some of Florida’s native residents at the Peace River Wildlife Center. The facility provides care and rehabilitation to native wildlife that’s either been injured, abandoned, or orphaned. Rehabilitated wildlife is returned to the wild but those who can’t return (because they cannot survive on their own), live out their lives at the wildlife center. And, their presence teaches visitors about the importance of native wildlife and how we humans can respect and live with them.

The center’s primary ambassador is Luna, a leucistic Eastern screech owl. Eastern screech owls are either gray or reddish brown but Luna is snow white. He’s not albino but has leucism which is a genetic mutation preventing melanin pigment in the bird’s feathers.

Luna, the leucistic Eastern screech owl.

He landed at the wildlife center in 2013 when a hiker found the fledgling owl near the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in Punta Gorda. PWRC attempted to return Luna to his nest but were unable to find it. Because of his leucism, he has no camouflaging capabilities and probably wouldn’t have survived in the wild. He’d stick out like a sore thumb! Ever since, the Peace River Wildlife Center is his home and he’s well cared for.

Other animals serve as ambassadors such as a barred owl and an opossum. These ambassadors are occasionally brought out from their habitats for visitors to take a closer look. There’s absolutely no touching.

Other wildlife calling the center home include bald eagles, vultures, white and brown pelicans (white pelicans have the largest wingspan of any other bird in the U.S.!), gopher tortoises, rabbits, and a variety of other birds and mammals.

An opossum ambassador at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Fla.
An opossum ambassador at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Plan Your Visit to the Peace River Wildlife Center

The Peace River Wildlife Center is located at Ponce de Leon Park, 3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway (old W. Marion Ave.) and open daily 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, visit their website or call (941) 637-3830. (Adult admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.)

BELL UH-1H HUEY on display at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.
BELL UH-1H HUEY on display at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Military Heritage Museum

Without question, the Military Heritage Museum is one of the most patriotic attractions in Southwest Florida. Within two floors and 17,000 square feet, view artifacts and exhibits dating to pre-American Revolution to the 21st century Space Force. The museum respectfully tells the history of the U.S. military with thoughtful exhibits. All branches of the military are represented. There’s even a corner dedicated to the service of military dogs.

Find the “Hall of Heroes” honoring Floridians who were awarded the Medal of Honor, “Letters from Home” displaying letters to and from those serving overseas and view several purple hearts and military uniforms over the years. “Witness to War” preserves the oral history of combat veterans and hear firsthand accounts on what it was like on the frontline during various wars. These interviews will be part of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Jonesing to fly an F-35? Or drive a tank? Fire a weapon? Head to the second floor to find the Flight Ops Simulator Room, Virtual Reality Experience, and Smokeless Laser Gun Range with very cool and innovative hands-on experiences.

One of many displays at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.
One of many displays at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Plan Your Visit to the Military Heritage Museum

The Military Heritage Museum is located at 900 West Marion Ave. and open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For additional information, visit their website or call 941-575-9002. (Adult admission is $14 without the Experience Punta Gorda special combo offer.)

“Letters Home” exhibit at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.

More About the Experience Punta Gorda Special Combo Offer

The “Experience Punta Gorda” special combo offer allows buyers to purchase annual memberships at each of these attractions at a 10% discount. Pass holders receive a complimentary bottle of water (usually ice-cold) at the Peace River Wildlife Center and Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens. Purchase the pass at any of the three participating three attractions or online.

Now go on! Experience Punta Gorda!

A display showcases artifacts from Operation Desert Storm at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.
A display showcases artifacts from Operation Desert Storm at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Related Articles

Disclosure: I am a member of the Peace River Wildlife Center’s Board of Directors however all opinions are my own. And yes, I did purchase an Experience Punta Gorda combo special!

Advertisements

Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

Photograph by Outdoor Afro from Nature Swagger by Rue Mapp, published by Chronicle Books.
Adventure Featured Inspiration Nature Travel

New Outdoor Book “Nature Swagger” Celebrates Black Joy

“Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors.” is a book by Outdoor Afro CEO and Founder Rue Mapp.

Continue Reading
Cocktail expert Diana Pittet leading a Context Conversation via a Zoom call.
Cool Stuff Others are Doing Culinary Travel Featured

James Bond Got it Wrong. Martinis Should be Stirred, Not Shaken and Other Fun Info I Learned During a Context Conversation.

Join a Context Conversation to travel the world from the comfort of home. I recently tuned into a cocktail seminar, and it was a fascinating hour full of compelling history and beverage-making tips.

Continue Reading
One of the resident wolves at Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples, Fla., April 24, 2022.
Featured Florida Fun

Florida Travel: Meditate with Wolves at Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples

Wolves and Florida seem like an unlikely pair but in Naples, there’s a special sanctuary for wolves and wolfdogs. In addition to touring the facility and learning more about the residents, meditation sessions are sometimes available at Shy Wolf Sanctuary.

Continue Reading