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Fort Myers, FL

The city of Fort Myers, Florida has a population of 64,000 and is located on the Caloosahatchee River, not far from Florida's western shoreline. With mild winters and warm summers, it's easy to see why tourism is one of the city's principal industries. Fort Meyers is also a great spot to catch Major League Baseball spring-training games and practice sessions.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Downtown Fort Myers, also known as The River District, is the business center, but also a nightlife and shopping area. Tourist attractions include the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford winter homes, along with 17 acres of waterfront estates.

The Farmers' Market, located in downtown Fort Myers, is where residents and visitors can purchase fresh produce from local farmers. Miramar Outlets offers upscale shopping at outlet prices, and shoppers can visit popular stores and dine at one of the many restaurants. Gulf Coast Town Center Mall provides residents and visitors with prime shopping, dining and entertainment choices. In addition to the many department and specialty stores, the mall has a movie theater.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

The city is the center of government as well as the commercial center for the county. It's recognized as the gateway to the popular tourist area located in Southwest Florida, including Sanibel Island.

The major employers in this area are City of Fort Myers, Fort Myers Toyota Inc., Fort Myers Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Apart from this, the major industries in this area are construction, healthcare, accommodation and food services, educational services, administrative and support and waste management services.

FAMILY FUN

  • Bay Oaks Community Park offers tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas and an 18-hole disc golf course.
  • Boston Red Sox-5 Plex features baseball fields, batting cages and a clubhouse.
  • Brooks Community Park offers football, baseball and softball fields, as well as tennis courts.
  • Buckingham Community Park not only provides a playground and a number of ball fields, but also features a dog park. In addition, visitors can enjoy picnic areas.
  • Hancock Community Park features tennis courts, lighted basketball and baseball facilities and two playgrounds.
  • Harlem Heights Community Park offers ball fields, a pavilion, playgrounds and a community center.

EVENTS

  • Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival celebrates Fort Meyer's Irish culture at Centennial Park. Visitors to the festival will enjoy art, music and food, and there's a variety of vendors from which to choose.
  • Art Fest features a high-school art exhibit, activities, food and entertainment.
  • Edison Day of Discovery features a science fair for area students, as well as a family interactive area, where families can bring their own inventions and projects.
  • Music Fest is located at Centennial Park and offers professional, live-music performances.
  • Crafts on the River features handicrafts made by local artisans. The Grand Parade of Lights also takes place during this event.
  • Grand Parade presents local marching bands and floats.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

  • Built in 1886, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates was once the winter home of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The home is located on the Caloosahatchee River, and is now a museum. Tours of the home, museum, laboratory and gardens are available.
  • Southwest Florida Museum of History is located at the former Atlantic Coastline Railroad depot. This museum features historical exhibits from the southwest Florida region.
  • Imaginarium offers a fun, hands-on experience. Families can explore various exhibits, have parties at the facility and visit the gift shop.
  • Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium offers nature trails, planetarium, butterfly aviary and a museum.
  • Boston Red Sox: Since 1993, the Boston Red Sox have been conducting their spring training in Fort Myers at the City of Palms Park.
  • Minnesota Twins: This team has made Fort Myers their spring training city since 1990. The team holds its annual, pre-season tune-up at Hammond Stadium.
  • Florida Miracles: This is Fort Myers' minor league baseball team. The Miracles have won five Florida State League championships, and a number of former players has become eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All games are held at Hammond Stadium.
  • The Florida Everblades is Fort Myers' minor league hockey team, which plays at the Germain Arena.

EDUCATION

  • Barry University maintains a campus in Fort Myers, and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a number of fields.
  • Edison Community College has been educating students since 1962. This college offers associate and bachelor's degree programs in the arts, public safety management, education and nursing.
  • Florida Gulf Coast University is a public university in Downtown Fort Myers. This university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields such as science, education, business and healthcare. Florida Gulf Coast also offers a variety of athletics programs, including basketball, baseball, cross-country, golf and soccer.
  • Hodges University is a private university that conducts both on-site and online classes. Hodges offers several associate and bachelor's degree programs, master's programs and online programs.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Fort Myers was built along the Caloosahatchee River as one of the first bases of operations during the Seminole Indian Wars.
  • Fort Myers was named in honor of Colonel Abraham C. Myers, the son-in-law of the commander of Fort Brooke in Tampa.
  • When the fort was disassembled in the late 19th century, some of the wood was used to build the first buildings in what would become downtown Fort Myers.
  • Ft. Myers' most famous resident, Thomas Edison, originally built his home and laboratory, Seminole Lodge, to conduct research on goldenrod rubber.
  • Other notable Fort Myers residents who had winter homes near Thomas Edison were Henry Ford (The Mangoes) and Harvey Firestone, founder of Firestone Tire Co.
  • Everyone knows Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but did you know that he also invented wax paper and tin foil?
  • Thomas Edison also invented a product that we take for granted: mucilage. What's that? It's the stuff that makes postage stamps and the back of envelopes sticky.
  • In the early 1940s, every county in Florida had air bases. The Fort Myers area had Buckingham and Page Fields. Many servicemen returned after World War II and became permanent residents.
  • The average number of years between a direct hit from a hurricane is a little more than nine, according to HurricaneCity.com.
  • Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of the Royal Palm Hotel in 1898.
  • The abandoned city scene from the 1985 movie "Day of the Dead" was filmed in downtown Fort Myers.