A good way to explore downtown Fort Myers during the winter season is on a leisurely, 2-hour guided walking tour hosted by the Southwest Florida Museum of History, 2300 Peck St., at Jackson Street (tel. 239/321-7430; www.swflmuseumofhistory.com). The tours are held on Wednesday from 10am to noon and cost $5 for adults, $3 for children. Reservations are required.
The museum itself is housed in the restored Spanish-style depot served by the Atlantic Coast Line from 1924 to 1971. Inside you'll see exhibits depicting the city's history from the ancient Calusa peoples and the Spanish conquistadors to the first settlers. The remains of a P-39 Aircobra helps explain the town's role in training fighter pilots in World War II. Outside stands a replica of an 1800s "cracker" home and the Esperanza, the longest and one of the last of the plush Pullman private cars. Admission is $9.50 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, and $5 for children 3 to 12. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
The Georgian Revival Burroughs Home, 2505 1st St., at Fowler Street (tel. 239/337-9505; www.cityftmyers.com/attractions/burroughs.aspx), was built on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in 1901 by cattleman John Murphy and later sold to the Burroughs family. The home is reserved solely for weddings and events but open to the public for guided tours by appointment only.
To avoid the kids going batty on a rainy day, head for the Imaginarium, 2000 Cranford Ave., at Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard (tel. 239/337-3332; www.imaginariumfortmyers.com), a hands-on museum in the old city water plant. A host of toylike exhibits explain basic scientific principles such as gravity and the weather. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for children 3 to 12. Open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday noon to 5pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
An Old-Fashioned Train Ride -- For those who claim there's little excitement or intrigue to be had in these parts, consider a ride on the Seminole Gulf Railway (tel. 800/736-4853 or 239/275-8487; www.semgulf.com), the original railroad that ran between Fort Myers and Naples. Today it chugs on daytime sightseeing trips and evening dinner/murder-mystery excursions south to Bonita Springs and north across the river. Call for the schedule and reservations, which are required for the dinner trips. The trains depart Fort Myers from its Colonial Station, a small, coral-colored building on Colonial Boulevard at Metro Parkway. The Bonita Springs station is on Old U.S. 41 at Pennsylvania Avenue.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.