Sanibel shell museum to Wicked Dolphin: How did familiar Lee County landmarks fare after Hurricane Ian?

Many of the familiar landmarks in Fort Myers and elsewhere around Lee County are heavily damaged and will be closed indefinitely.

But not everything is shut down as recovery continues after Hurricane Ian.

Here's what we found:

More: Cape Coral a week after Hurricane Ian: Showers, food, and slow pace of recovery

AND: 'We're all human beings': Everblades' Hertz Arena turns Red Cross mega-shelter after Hurricane Ian

Wicked Dolphin Distillery

131 SW Third Place, Cape Coral; wickeddolphin.com; 239-242-5244 

Describing themselves as “bruised but not down and out,” Wicked Dolphin has reopened for cocktails and bottle sales. The distillery, the largest craft rum distiller in Florida, has been providing water for the local animal shelter and to residents (bring your own jugs; 5 gallon maximum per person). It’s not the first time Wicked Dolphin has lent a hand during an emergency: in the early days of the pandemic in March 2020, it provided free surface and hand sanitizer to residents after store shelves had been emptied.

Sanibel Lighthouse

Rumors swirled that  The Sanibel Lighthouse toppled during Hurricane Ian.

Well, the house part is gone but the light remains. Hurricane Ian barged onto the island a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds and an 8-to-15-foot storm surge Wednesday.

Since 1884 what’s known as the lighthouse — the giant beacon on metal legs and the adjacent keeper’s quarters on the eastern tip of the island — has been a beloved landmark.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers; Edisonford.org; 239-334-7419

Fallen vegetation is seen on the property of the Ford Home at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates after Hurricane Ian passed through Wednesday afternoon in Fort Myers, FL., on Thursday, September 29, 2022.
Fallen vegetation is seen on the property of the Ford Home at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates after Hurricane Ian passed through Wednesday afternoon in Fort Myers, FL., on Thursday, September 29, 2022.

The historic homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as well as the iconic Banyan and Mysore Fig trees survived Ian’s wrath, according to the attraction’s Facebook page. Its gardens, however, weren’t so fortunate. Following debris cleanup and power restoration, the 20-acre attraction plans to reopen.

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

7751 Penzance Blvd, Fort Myers; www.leegov.com/parks; 239-533-7550 

A wood duck takes flight from one of the ponds at Six Mile Cypress Slough on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 morning.
A wood duck takes flight from one of the ponds at Six Mile Cypress Slough on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 morning.

All county parks, preserves, beaches, boat ramps, pools, and centers are closed until further notice, according to Lee County Parks & Recreation.

Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel; (239) 395-2233; shellmuseum.org

A family checks out the RED, BLUE, GREEN:
An Introduction to Water
Quality in Southwest Florida exhibit at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel on Friday March 25, 2022. He exhibit runs through June 12 of 2022.
A family checks out the RED, BLUE, GREEN: An Introduction to Water Quality in Southwest Florida exhibit at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel on Friday March 25, 2022. He exhibit runs through June 12 of 2022.

It was a regional treasure and certainly a national one too.

Sanibel and Captiva islands are known for their shelling, and the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum captured that part of sea life and so much more

Sadly, the museum Executive Director Sam Ankerson said he was at the museum Oct. 2, four days after Ian roared ashore.

"Like most on the island, 5-6 feet of flooding and structural damage, including in our case parts of the roof," he said in an email. "Some animals survived, some did not. Unfortunately the octopuses did not. Our generator got knocked out by the storm and couldn't keep the waters cold enough. Long road ahead, to make a major understatement."

Bailey-Matthews opened to the public in 1995, the only accredited museum in the U.S. devoted solely to shells and mollusks.

JetBlue Park

11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers; leegov.com/parks/athletics; (239) 226-4783 

Fans file into JetBlue Park before the MLB spring training matchup between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, March 17, 2022, at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.Today marked the first full-capacity spring training game in SWFL since the pandemic in 2022.
Fans file into JetBlue Park before the MLB spring training matchup between the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, March 17, 2022, at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.Today marked the first full-capacity spring training game in SWFL since the pandemic in 2022.

The park, which sustained downed trees, lightposts and some signage, is closed until Oct. 29, according to photos and video shared on Twitter and the Lee County parks website.

Hammond Stadium

14100 6 Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers; leegov.com/sports/facilities/softball/centurylink-sports-complex 

Hammond Stadium, winter home of the Minnesota Twins, seen during a 2019 spring training game.  Part of the boardwalk at the complex will be closed during this season's 17-game schedule due to some structural problems that have developed
Hammond Stadium, winter home of the Minnesota Twins, seen during a 2019 spring training game. Part of the boardwalk at the complex will be closed during this season's 17-game schedule due to some structural problems that have developed

After sustaining some wind damage and limited water damage, the park is serving as an emergency staging area for first responders and other recovery efforts.

Florida Repertory Theatre

2268 Bay St., Fort Myers; floridarep.org; 239-332-4488 

The Bradford block in downtown Fort Myers, which includes the Arcade Theatre, was sold to Florida Repertory Theatre on Monday for $15 million.
The Bradford block in downtown Fort Myers, which includes the Arcade Theatre, was sold to Florida Repertory Theatre on Monday for $15 million.

The theater will be closed for several weeks after it – along with the Historic Arcade Theater, the ArtStage and Studio Theater – “suffered massive flood inundation,” according to the theater’s Facebook page.

Fort Myers Beach Pier

10 Old San Carlos Blvd.

Hurricane Ian wiped out Sept. 28, 2022, when it tore through Southwest Florida.

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers; BroadwayPalm.com; 239-278-4422 

It survived the storm without any damage and has reopened.

Everglades Wonder Gardens

27180 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs; wondergardens.org; 239-992-2591 

Following extensive damage, Wonder Gardens remains closed until further notice. The attraction reports that all of its animals survived the storm but the facility that prepares the daily diets for the animals did not. Cleanup efforts continue.

Flamingo Island Flea Market

11902 Bonita Beach Road SE, Bonita Springs; flamingoisland.com; 239-695-7347

Flamingo Island Flea Market
Flamingo Island Flea Market

Remains closed to fix minor damage.

Centers for the Arts

Performing Arts Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road; Visual Arts Center, 26100 Old 41 Road; artcenterbonita.org; 239-495-8989 

Reopened Tuesday, Oct. 4, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Southwest Florida Event Center

11515 Bonita Beach Road SE, Bonita Springs; swfleventcenter.com; 239-245-9910 

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons played a private concert Saturday, April 9, at Bonita Springs' Southwest Florida Event Center. The show was attended by employees of South Florida Gas and raised thousands of dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons played a private concert Saturday, April 9, at Bonita Springs' Southwest Florida Event Center. The show was attended by employees of South Florida Gas and raised thousands of dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

No information was immediately available.

The Shell Factory and Nature Park

16554 N. Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers; shellfactory.com; (239) 995-2141

A vintage postcard of the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers
A vintage postcard of the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers

The Shell Factory and Nature Park reported on Facebook that it "did sustain significant damage from Hurricane Ian."

"We will re-open as soon as possible. Stay tuned for our re-opening announcement. Please visit our support our Go-Fund-Me Link."

Edison Mall

4125 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers; shopedisonmall.com; (239) 939-5464 

Most malls and shopping centers were less busy for Black Friday shopping on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. The Edison Mall parking lot had plenty of empty parking spots.
Most malls and shopping centers were less busy for Black Friday shopping on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. The Edison Mall parking lot had plenty of empty parking spots.

Closed until further notice, per the mall’s Facebook page and website. The mall’s former Sears store is serving as a 100-bed mobile field hospital, ABC7 news anchor Jeff Butera reported.

Gulf Coast Town Center

9903 Gulf Coast Main St., Fort Myers; gulfcoasttowncenter.com; (239) 267-5107

Open for business.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark

400 Santa Barbara Blvd., Cape Coral; sunsplashwaterpark.com; (239) 574-0558

Opening day at Sun Splash was a warm and fun one. Sun Splash is opening for it's 2019 season - the first season that will include sales of beer, wine and wine smoothies. Blue wrist bands are handed out after showing your license. The wrist band has two tickets on it. Each person is allowed two drinks. The wine slushes were are popular item to drink.
Opening day at Sun Splash was a warm and fun one. Sun Splash is opening for it's 2019 season - the first season that will include sales of beer, wine and wine smoothies. Blue wrist bands are handed out after showing your license. The wrist band has two tickets on it. Each person is allowed two drinks. The wine slushes were are popular item to drink.

Closed until further notice.

Fleamasters Flea Market

4135 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers; fleamastersfleamarket.com; (239) 334-7001 

Shoppers at Fleamasters in Fort Myers take a break to enjoy some local food.
Shoppers at Fleamasters in Fort Myers take a break to enjoy some local food.

Temporarily closed after sustaining “meaningful damage.” The flea market’s website said it is hopeful to allow its vendors access to the site later this week.

Miromar Outlets in Estero

10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero; MiromarOutlets.com; (239) 948-3766 

Open for business.

Post office on Pine Island

7450 Pineland Road, Pineland; USPS.com; (800) 275-8777 

Established in 1902, the Pineland Post Office is a wood-floored, one-room relic of pioneer Florida — one of the smallest post offices in the United States. No damage reports were available, but the U.S. Postal Service lists the post office as temporarily closed on its website.

Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

3450 Ortiz Ave, Fort Myers; calusanature.org/; (239) 275-3435

The One Flower Project donated pollinator seed kits to these summer campers at Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers.
The One Flower Project donated pollinator seed kits to these summer campers at Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers.

The Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium sustained some damage and remains closed but all of its animals survived, as reported on its website.

"The storm has passed, and we are thrilled to report that all our Animal Ambassadors are healthy and have made it through safely. The 105 acres of trees though need some loving care," the site said.

"Please stay tuned here for updates on our progress and opportunities to help us."

Scheduled events in October postponed for now include Nature Speakers Series: Cat Tale by Craig Pittman on Oct. 12 and all planetarium programming.

The education center for years has held an outdoor haunted walk in October but there's also no word yet on whether that has been canceled for this year.

Big John statue

Big John’s Plaza on Southeast 47th Terrace, Cape Coral

Cape Coral's popular Big John statue was damaged during Hurricane Ian. The storm's winds twisted its torso and broke it free of its metal support structure. Now a metal pole juts from Big John's head.
Cape Coral's popular Big John statue was damaged during Hurricane Ian. The storm's winds twisted its torso and broke it free of its metal support structure. Now a metal pole juts from Big John's head.

A fixture since 1969, the 28-foot-tall statue is several feet shorter after Ian's winds twisted Big John's torso, ripping it loose from the metal support plates and pole. But it will be restored, says Cape Realtor Elmer Tabor.

IMAG History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Ave.; theimag.org; (239) 243-0043 

After sustaining some damage, IMAG is closed until further notice.

More: Hurricane Ian: Did Doc Ford's, Bubble Room, other Sanibel, Captiva restaurants survive?

AND: How to help those in Lee, Collier counties who were devastated by Hurricane Ian

Tarpon Lodge & Restaurant

13771 Waterfront Drive, Bokeelia; (239) 283-3999; tarponlodge.com

Cabbage Key restaurant

1 Cabbage Key, Pineland; (239) 283-2278; cabbagekey.com

Tarpon Bay Lodge & Restaurant and its sister Cabbage Key will remain closed while repairs are made.

"Both properties have sustained damage and will be closed for the time being," a message reads on both websites.

"We are already beginning the repair process and will share updates as we can. We can’t wait to welcome you back as soon as possible!

"Our hearts are with those affected by the hurricane. There are no words that can fully capture the heartbreak that so many are feeling. Southwest Florida is a resilient community and we’ve never been stronger. Thank you for the offers of help and your messages of care and encouragement."

Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

2500 Island Inn Road, Sanibel; docfords.com/sanibel-island/; (239) 472-8311

Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

708 Fishermans Wharf, Fort Myers Beach; docfords.com/ft-myers-beach; (239) 765-9660

Boaters dock and dine at Doc Ford’s on Fort Myers Beach.
Boaters dock and dine at Doc Ford’s on Fort Myers Beach.

The Doc Ford's on Sanibel was damaged but owners expect to make repairs needed to eventually reopen.

"There are no words or pictures to describe the destruction left behind Hurricane Ian," the restaurant posted on Facebook. "Our community is strong, and we’ll be back better than ever. We don’t know when, the destruction is vast, but the journey to rebuild has already started. We’re so thankful for all the calls, messages, and prayers sent our way.

"Our locations on Sanibel, Captiva, and Fort Myers Beach will be closed until further notice, however our St. Pete location is open, and we’ll be opening our St Pete Jungle Terrace location soon as well!"

Mucky Duck

11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva; muckyduck.com; (239) 472-3434

The restaurant just down the street from The Bubble Room on Captiva Island posted photos on social media. They showed how the boarded-up building remained intact, surrounded by sand.

And at least owners haven't lost their sense of humor, writing on Facebook: "A staff member just sent me these…I guess we’re REALLY on the beach now!"

The Bubble Room

15001 Captiva Dr., Captiva; bubbleroomrestaurant.com; (239) 472-5558

At nighttime, the cottage that is home to Boops By The Bubble Room comes alive on Captiva Island.
At nighttime, the cottage that is home to Boops By The Bubble Room comes alive on Captiva Island.

Aerial photos showed The Bubble Room was intact, and General Manger Stephen Peach said on Facebook that all 92 Bubble Room employees were safe.

"We are anxious to get onto Captiva to begin assessing damages and begin working toward an eventual reopening, but in the meantime my wife Rachel and I are working on setting up a fundraising account to benefit our staff members who are in need," he said, referring to his wife Rachael, also a general manager.

"Please stay tuned for another update and a link to where you can contribute to help these folks get back on their feet. We are overwhelmed with gratitude to all who have expressed concern and we are looking forward to beginning the healing process."

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Hurricane Ian: Did Sanibel shell museum, other Lee landmarks survive?