March Events at the Estates


March Events


Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
Photo attachments: Art in the Gardens Exhibit Opening, March 6 at the Estates; Mina Edison entertained garden clubs, community groups and many receptions at the Estates, Mrs. Edison’s Garden Social will be held on March 11 &12
Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs - March 2011

Fort Myers, Florida (February 17, 2011) – March at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, Mina Edison’s Garden Social, Director’s Tour to Fort Lauderdale, Art in the Gardens and the continuation of Behind the Scenes Tours and Boat Tours as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month. The March schedule of programs and events include:

Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp
The Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long. Camp begins on June 13, 2011 and runs through August 5, 2011. Camps are open for grades 1 – 6 depending on session. Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films. Registration forms are available on line at or are available at the Estates. Estates Members $200; non members $230. For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

Drawing in the Gardens: An Introduction to Botanical Illustrations with artist Megan Kissinger, March 4, 5 PM – 7 PM and March 5, 9:30 AM – 3 PM
The two day workshop begins with a guided botanical tour with the Estates horticultural staff to familiarize participants with the Estates blooming fruits and flowers. Day two is instruction with artist Megan Kissinger in the Estate gardens. A compliment class, Advanced Botanical Illustration is available March 25 & 26. Cost: Estates Members $50, non members $60; as well as $10 for essential supplies. Registration required.

Art in the Gardens “Bees at the Estates” Exhibit, opening reception March 6, 2 PM
In the heritage gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Lee county students create an environmentally interactive artwork exhibit using recycled materials to make life-like garden art. The exhibit is sponsored by The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools and Truly Nolen. The exhibit is FREE to the public.

Tropical Heritage Plants and Container Gardening at Miromar Design Center
March 5, 2 PM
Estates horticulturalist will present a dazzling view of the award winning gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Participants will learn the importance of old Florida heritage plants and native varieties as well as demonstrating how to plant many of these in containers. The Edison and Ford families were well known for their extensive collection of orchids and bromeliads in the trees of their riverside estates, antique rose garden areas and the use of containers to grow citrus and herbs. To register call 239-390-8200.

Etiquette at the Estates: Mina & Mimi’s Manners, March 5, 11 AM
Mina Edison, wife of Thomas Edison, was a gracious hostess and interested in the well being of children and the community. Following in this tradition, Etiquette at the Estates, includes one day (two hour) lessons in etiquette and social skills. Children will learn proper introductions, handshakes and dining etiquette during a three course meal. Class will be taught by Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes at the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the nation. Registration required. Estates Members $40; non members $50.

Estates Volunteer Meeting and Program, March 8, 9:30 AM
Join Estates horticultural staff to learn about the beautiful Estates gardens. New and potential volunteers are welcome. New volunteer orientation will follow the program.

Wild Wizard Science Fair Workshop, March 8, 10 AM – Noon
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will be hosting the 2nd Annual Young Engineers, Scientists, and Inventors Fair for homeschool and virtual school students on October 25, 2011. The Estates will be offering workshops throughout the year to assist student with their science projects. The first workshop, “Getting Started” will focus on choosing a science fair topic and how to conduct experiments. Cost: $5. Registration required by calling the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

Mrs. Edison’s Garden Social, March 11 & 12, 11 AM
Storyteller, writer, playwright and professional actress, Nan Colton, will bring to life the remarkable and charitable Mina Edison with unforgettable tales of her life with Thomas Edison, as well as a stroll and tour around her beloved gardens. Refreshments will be served in the beautiful Estates gardens. Hats are encouraged! Reservations are required, seating is limited. Estates Members $50; non members $60. Group rates available.

Floorcloth Painting Class with Marie Dyer, March 12, 10 AM – 2 PM
Artist Marie Dyer, best known for her vivid floral and still-life paintings, will teach participants how to transform a piece of unfinished floorcloth into a tropical delight. No prior painting experience is necessary. Materials included. Cost: Estates Members $70; non-members $75. Registration required.

Homeschoolers: “Food Science,” March 17, 1 PM – 3 PM
Home schooled students will discover what it takes to produce food from harvesting, cooking, to consumption. The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS. Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families. Registration is required. Cost: Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.

Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival
March 18, 7:30 PM, Edison & Ford Winter Estates (for riverside dining options call the Estates at 239-334-7419), rain date March 20
March 19, 7:30 PM, Edison State College, Fort Myers
March 21, 7 PM, BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island
The award winning Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival will be back for a fifth season in Southwest Florida since the Festival began its national tour in 1981. Festival representatives will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards. There will be more than thirty films shown between the three sites. Tickets may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island. The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students. Tickets for all three nights can be purchased at a discounted rate of $15. Estates Members are free on March 18 and Edison State College students are free on March 19. Seating is limited. For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at, Edison State College at, BIG Arts at and the Black Maria Film Festival at

Director’s Tour: Bonnet House, Fort Lauderdale, March 25, 8 AM – 6 PM
Visit some of Florida’s most renowned museums, historic homes, and gardens with Estates President & CEO, Chris Pendleton. This month , Pendleton will take participants on a behind the scenes tour with Bonnet House Executive Director Karen Beard. Bonnet house is a historic 35-acre plantation estate providing visitors with a glimpse of ‘old Florida.’ Built in 1921, the sprawling two-story waterfront home is surrounded by formal tropical gardens. The former resident of the house, the late Evelyn Bartlett was wife of the world acclaimed artist, Frederic Clay Bartlett. Enjoy a tour of their home, gardens and collected artwork. Lunch will be served in the beautiful gardens. Registration required. Estates Volunteers, $85; Estates Members, $90; Non members $95. Price includes transportation, lunch, behind the scene tour, refreshments and historical background lecture on trip to Bonnet House.

NEW Boat Cruises & Tours, Wednesdays, 10 AM – 4:30 PM
The Estates and Captiva Cruises will be offering Boat Cruises & Tours from Captiva Island to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The NEW cruise tour will provide a unique look at the Caloosahatchee River and its importance ecologically and culturally, a great view of the Estates from the water, lunch at a private club and a tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Ticket cost is Estates Members $60 adults, $50 children (ages 12 and under); non members $70 adults, $60 children (ages 12 and under) plus tax and includes cruise, lunch and tour of the Estates. Seating is limited and reservations are suggested by calling 239-472-5300. Customized private tours can be scheduled for groups, departing from various locations any day of the week. For more information contact Captiva Cruises (239) 472-5300.

Behind the Scene Tours, Thursdays, 10:30 AM
Visitors will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes. These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates Members and $40 for non members. Due to the intimate nature of “Behind the Scene Tours” space is limited and registration is required.

Looking AHEAD to APRIL: Edison Wild Wizard at Florida Everblades April, 2, Germain Arena, Wild Wizard Show 5 PM, Florida Everblades vs. South Carolina Stingrays, 7 PM, tickets: $15
Join the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Wild Wizard for his biggest Science Show ever. The pre-game science show with the Edison Wild Wizard is family fun for everyone and includes explosions, rockets, slime and much more. Tickets include Wild Wizard Science SHOW and Everglades GAME admission. After the science show participants can meet the Wild Wizard, take photos and make slime with the Edison “Muckers.” Tickets available by calling the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at

# # #