Celebration and Challenges

For Friends of the Island Parks


Dear Friends of the Island Parks,

2021 is the year to celebrate the opening of Caladesi Discovery Center on Caladesi Island State Park. The Discovery Center is under construction and the Grand Opening planned for later this year.


There was a decade of planning and fundraising that preceded the ground breaking in October, 2020. 

After many years of work, we were convinced we had raised sufficient funds for our portion of the costs but the final $1.6 million contract left us approximately $76,000 short of our share. Fortunately we were able to meet the unexpected higher goal when our most generous donor, the Francis and Gertrude Levett Foundation, contributed an additional $76,200 (bringing their total donations to over $325,000).

The Covid-19 pandemic created many unexpected challenges. Special events on Honeymoon Island are the major source of revenue for us and all but one of the special events were cancelled in 2020.  Last year Theatre Night, Island EarthDays, Halloween in the Park and the Bluegrass Festival generated over $50,000 in net income which was used to support Honeymoon and Caladesi Island State Parks.

We are still suffering for the pandemic and we need your help!

If you are able to help, it’s easy.


Please click on one of the links below to help:

Friends of the Island Parks Membership

Annual memberships start at $35 and include monthly video or in-person meetings with naturalist speakers. Other benefits include: 12 admissions for up to eight people per visit to Honeymoon Island State Park, discounts on retail purchases in the Rotary Centennial Nature Center, and discounts on food at the Cafe Honeymoon.  Other membership levels include ferry rides to Caladesi Island State Park, private tours and our Lifetime Membership includes recognition on a permanent plaque at  the Rotary Centennial Nature Center.

Donate to the Friends of the Island Parks

Both the Honeymoon and Caladesi Island parks benefit from donations of special equipment and additional funding for improving the parks. We provide funding for  a designated full time ranger to staff the Nature Center,  lead the 60+ Nature Center volunteers and supervise the retail operations. The Friends also purchased information photo display signs for the Osprey Trail, trail maps, boardwalk and building improvements, a special Gator vehicle suitable for beach and trails, a copier for the park staff, and the Native Plant Garden.  We welcome donations of any size. 

Shop Online at the Honeymoon Island Nature Store 

There is a wide variety of nature related gifts including: jewelry, mugs, children's books, jigsaw puzzles, magnets, toys, crafts, tee shirts and Florida State Park masks.

Help fund the interpretative displays for the Caladesi Discovery Center

Construction of the Discovery Center is fully funded but we still need funds for interpretative displays to enhance visitors' experience and understanding of Caladesi Island.  If you have an interest in this specific project or any other specific items, please contact board member Bob Fortner at unityphrev@gmail.com.

Thank you for your past and future support.  We are a volunteer organization and are completely dependent upon your support.  As I said at the beginning of this letter, this has been a year of celebration and challenges.  We hope you will join us when we celebrate the opening of the Caladesi Discovery Center and help us meet today’s challenges.

Sometime in 2021, we expect to get back to holding monthly meetings at the Rotary Centennial Nature Center and enjoying your company in person at our special events.  Until that time, we thank you for your support and wish you a happy and healthy Holiday Season.


George Skalkeas 


Friends of the Island Parks