November 16, 2022
  • November 16, 2022

Free, inexpensive and fun ways to stay cool this summer in Naples

By on July 7, 2022 0

Hot plus sticky equals misery, as most Floridians know. In Collier and Lee counties, where temperatures last week slipped between a sweltering 76 degrees at 6 a.m. and 90 degrees in the afternoon, staying cool has been on the daily checklist.

That doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in the bedroom with the air conditioning on and the curtains drawn. Pair this pursuit of a quick chill with free, low-cost summer entertainment, inviting family and friends.

Ice cream, ice cream, baby

You need the cold weather. Hertz Arena’s recreational rink promises just that. Spend a frigid summer midday sliding – or waddling cautiously, like some of us – around the 200-by-85-foot ice rink to the sound of pop music. And, yes, some non-skaters accompany their skating families because it’s worth the price of admission to feel the gallery freeze.

Regular public skating hours are every day except Wednesday. Check the calendar first, though. Freestyle lessons sometimes take over from the ice rink on weekdays, which cancels public sessions.

Six-year-old David Gabinsky practices skating during the Hertz Arena Recreational Rink's Free Skate on Friday, July 1, 2022 in Estero, Fla.

Specials include a Saturday night Pizza & Pop Skate 6:30-8 p.m. His $13 fee includes skate rental, a slice of pizza, and a soft drink. There is a late skate on Fridays from 9-10:30 p.m. which includes skate rentals and admission for $12, and a family skate on Sundays from 6:30-8 p.m. which also includes skate rentals and admission, for $10.

There is a concession stand for those who are hungry.

How cool is this idea? So cool you’ll need a sweatshirt, advises the rink’s ad.

Where: Recreational rinks at Hertz Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero

When: 12.15-1.45 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and 1-2.30 p.m. on weekends

Cost: $10 admission and $3 skate rental; sizes from 8 children to 12 adult men or 239-948-7825, ext. 1306

STEM apps and tricks and movies, oh my!

Inside the Collier County Public Libraries, it’s cool during the summer. And it’s not just thermostatic – its one- to two-hour programs that cover everything from iPad apps to creating your own sea creatures or starting a food critic club.

For example, from the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science MODS STEMobile, there is a hands-on K-5 program, led by educators who teach children to build and test wind tunnels and launchers. They learn the science of flight and aviation careers in the process (10:00 a.m. July 16).

COOL COMPANY: Estero Female Business of the Year, Ice Cream

AND:Over 75 things to do in July: See SNL’s Darrell Hammond, Naples Pride Festival is Saturday

For teens, there’s a chat with teen author Destiny Howell (“High Score”), who can tell you how to get this story out of your imagination for print (6:00 p.m. July 13) and discussions on BOTS (books on the shelf).

Selah Medina, 4, shows off a shell from a sandbox after Library Storytime Thursday, June 30, 2022 at the Lely South Regional Library in Naples, Florida.

Adults can join others at a U.S. History Readers Roundtable, discuss their favorite American history books, fiction and non-fiction, and share great reading opportunities (14 p.m. on July 14). Or watch movies like “The Pink Panther” (2 p.m. July 26). Don’t forget story times for toddlers with a parent on Tuesdays.

And they are all free.

These programs are scattered throughout the Collier libraries but are open to everyone. The only requirement is online registration.

What and where: Classes, workshops, story hours and talks for all ages revolved around the Collier County Public Libraries.

When: All of July

How: Register in the Events section of the Collier County Public Libraries website,

Cost: Free

Opera in the world, here

With Mephistopheles as his drinking companion, “Faust” is destined for a hot place, we know. But we can cool off at the Wang Center watching his journey.

Opera Naples has put together a summer opera film series that takes audiences to some of Europe’s best-known opera houses. Visit La Scala, Baden Baden, the Hamburg Staatsoper and El Real in Madrid, and observe conductors like Christian Thielemann and Ricard Chailly or stars like Renée Fleming and Asmik Grigorian.

This quartet is about to give Falstaff, who has the illusion that he can seduce one of them, a run for his money in the Staatsoper Hamburg production of

Drinks and popcorn make the afternoon even more enjoyable; book tickets on the opera’s website.

Here is the program: July 20, “Turandot”; August 3, “Ariadne auf Naxos”; August 17, “Faust”; September 7, “Falstaff”; September 21, “Der Rosenkavalier; October 5, “Rusalka”; October 19, “Elektra”. Check the website for details on who is playing and where they played.

When: 3 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month until October

Where: Wang Opera Center, 2408 Linwood Avenue, Naples

Tickets: $22 for adults, $10 for students.

Tickets and information: or 239-963-9050

Swim, slide, splash your way

Four cool pools in the county and one in Naples offer the ultimate chill: just dip in.

These pools offer courses for those who are sea chickens, or who want their children to learn. It’s a doubly cool option; simply call the pool of your choice.

EAGLE LAKES COMMUNITY PARK DONNA FIALA EAGLE LAKES: Collier County’s newest aquatic center, based in the park, features a 25-by-25-foot sparkling blue heated pool, children’s activity pool, wading pool, a 177-foot open slide and a 122-foot closed slide. . There is also a 1 meter springboard and a 3 meter springboard.

Where: 11565 US 41 East, Naples

When: 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free 3 and under

Information: 239-252-3527 or

GOLDEN GATE AQUATIC CENTER: Similar to Donna Fiala’s Eagle Lakes, Golden Gate features a 25-by-25-meter heated pool, children’s activity pool, kiddy pool, 177-foot open waterslide, 122-foot closed waterslide, a diving board of 1 meter and a springboard of 3 meters.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; close on Sunday

Where: 3300 Santa Barbara Boulevard, Naples

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free 3 and under

Information: 239-252-6128 or

IIMMOKALEE SPORTS COMPLEX: This pool area at this resort features a newly redesigned and designed activity pool with a zero-depth entry that slopes up to 18 inches deep for little ones that parents will love. There is a competition pool with six swimming lanes, a waterslide and two diving boards. Serious swimmers, we’re looking at you.

When: 10am-6pm weekdays, 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday

Where: 505 Escambia Street, Immokalee

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free 3 and under

Information: 239-657-1951 or

A line of people wait to ride down the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon slides in Naples on July 8, 2016. (Erica Brechtelsbauer/Naples Daily News)

SUN-N-FUN LAGOON WATER PARK: The jewel in the crown of Collier County’s pools, this very active venue includes:

  • Five waterslides and a special activity area, The Cove, to allow 5-12 year olds to exercise. The 3 ½ foot deep creek has a net rope and inflated “lily pad” walkway to navigate, a fountain jet and water guns attached so kids can target their friends who have fun with them in the pool .
  • A river float with soaking buckets to keep you soaked unless you’re quick enough to paddle out of the way.
  • A family waterfall and a tadpole pool for a calmer activity.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Where: 15000 Livingston Road, Naples

Admission: $13 for 48 inches and over ($11 Collier County resident); $6 under 48 inches tall; $9 senior (60 and over); 48 soldiers; free from 0 to 3 years old

Information: 239-252-4021 or

RIVER PARK COMMUNITY CENTER: This center, operated by the City of Naples, has a sturdy lap pool for swimmers, with a 75-foot, six-lane lap capacity during prescribed hours. There’s also a children’s splash play feature with zero or beach-style entry, no stairs. It uses geothermal water heating and cooling equipment, and there is a shaded picnic area as well as snack vending machines.

When: Until August 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Special hours for lap swimmers during this time are 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Admission: Free, except for swim laps, which require a $10 monthly lap fee

Where: 451 11th St. N., Naples

Information: 239-213-3037 or

Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/ Contact her at 239-213-6091.