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Off the Beaten Path Locale: #3

Photo from Randell Research Center


Part of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Pine Island’s Randell Research Center is worth visiting for the natural backdrop alone.

Situated on the scenic western shore of historic Pine Island, the Randell Research Center encompasses 67 acres at the heart of the Pineland archaeological site, a massive Calusa shell mound site extending across more than 100 acres from the mangrove coastline.

The indigenous Calusa were once the most powerful people in all of South Florida. For many centuries the tribe accumulated huge shell mounds, engineered canals, and sustained tens of thousands of people from the fish and shellfish found in the rich estuaries west and south of Fort Myers, including Sanibel Island. All that is left of their culture today is a dwindling number of shell mound sites dotting the estuarine landscape between Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands region of the Everglades.

Visitors to the Randell Research Center can tour the Calusa Heritage Trail, a 0.9 mile interpretive walkway that leads visitors through the mounds, canals, and other features of the Pineland archaeological site.

We encourage you to visit this internationally significant archaeological site and learn all about Calusa culture and their environment.  For more information, click here.

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