Friends of Lovers Key State Park

Together, we protect, preserve and support Lovers Key State Park

Building the Welcome and Discovery Center

Bringing the best of Lovers Key Indoors

The Friends of Lovers Key are in the midst of the largest capital campaign to date to finance the completion of the highly anticipated Welcome and Discovery Center! The ground-breaking on December 6 represents the culmination of 9 years of vision, planning, and hours of work. 

With over 1,000,000 visitors each year, Lovers Key State Park is the second most visited of the 174 Florida State Parks. Each year, the park offers 50+ interpretive talks and tours. FOLKS is helping to expand the Park's offerings to the community through a state-of-the-art 4,000-square-foot facility. This facility will house exhibits featuring the unique variety of ecosystems on our beautiful barrier islands. There will be space to conduct classes, lectures, special events, fundraisers, community programs, will have a bookstore and so much more.

As you may have seen in the media, the Florida Legislature with the Governor's approval has granted the Park Service the funds necessary to make this dream a reality! Design of the new building is now underway and FOLKS is staying closely involved in the process.

Our task is to raise $1.3 million to augment the $4 million building budget given to the Park by the state of Florida. These funds will be directed to interior exhibits and other necessary enhancements to the space.

The FOLKS sponsor activities throughout the year that bring the community together and raise funds to support the park. Completion of a Welcome and Discovery Center will enrich the Lovers Key State Park experience for all.
(Conceptual drawings of the Welcome and Discovery Center are not intended for final detail.)

In the new Center, visitors could experience Lovers Key State Park regardless of the weather.

What’s in the plans?

The Welcome and Discovery Center will be a 4000-sq-ft, one-story elevated building. Inside you'll find exhibit space, a multi-purpose meeting room, a book store and office. Outside, the ramp and deck will provide wildlife watching for all.

It's All About Access

How we open the door to learning

  • For many, the heat can be hard to take. Come on indoors and study nature in comfort.
  • The Florida Park Service will accommodate: we'll support access for all with ramps, and visual, touch and auditory aids throughout the Center.
  • Perhaps you love the park's 10:00 am programs, but you want more! The Center will offer learning on your own schedule, at your own pace, 365 days a year.
  • Many exhibits will interpret nature for all in different languages. Ja! Sí! Oui!

Environmental Education:
A Message with Special Meaning in Florida

Tourists and retirees love southwest Florida, its natural beauty so evident at Lovers Key State Park. Our unique barrier island environment beckons for shelling, swimming, fishing, photography, boating, birding and botanizing. But all this natural beauty is fragile, and we need to inspire our visitors to help protect it.

Florida is now the 3rd most populous state in the USA, and all these people put pressure on the ecosystem. Our Welcome and Discovery Center will focus on protecting the health of our natural communities, which means better health for the human community.

Educational Features

  • Exhibits on the wonders of Lovers Key State Park – shore birds, gopher tortoise, dolphins, osprey, reptiles, butterflies, native plants and more.
  • A selection of interactive multilingual exhibits using the best in learning technology to engage visitors of all ages.
  • A hands-on section where children can explore sand, shells, water, plants and animals.
  • Room for workshops on environmental issues with space to collaborate and study.

Thanks to our sponsors!

The Sponsors below are key partners in our ground-breaking work to build the Lovers Key State Park Welcome and Discovery Center. The Friends of Lovers Key, Inc. – and all the staff, volunteers and visitors who love Lovers Key State Park – thank our Capital Campaign sponsors for their generous support of our fundraising efforts. Each one of them has brought us closer to breaking ground on our dream: The Lovers Key State Park Welcome and Discovery Center. Your organization can become a Capital Campaign Sponsor. Contact Tim Horvatich at 513 777-9712 or to see how.

The Welcome and Discovery Center will provide answers to the mysteries of Lovers Key's sea shells.