1395 Panther Lane
Naples - Quick Facts
Five million years ago, the bottom half of Florida’s “thumb” was entirely underwater. Then the Great Ice Age came along and froze the sea into dark salty sheets, pulling them back into deeper ocean waters. This dropped the sea level around southwestern Florida, leaving behind the pristine layers of sand and shells that the City of Naples is built on today.
The Calusa Indians were the first to appreciate the beauty and spirituality of the area nearly 10,000 years ago. They built shell mounds for mysterious religious ceremonies, and their artisans created the famous “Marco Cat,” a part-man, part-panther, wooden sculpture that is now a national treasure on display at The Smithsonian Institution.
Today, the Neapolitans continue a tradition of appreciation for natural beauty and artistic expression. The number of local art galleries is only surpassed by the number of white sand beaches along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. And the locals still build shell mounds, for still mysterious reasons.
As the population approaches the 300,000 mark, the demographics are shifting towards a more diverse racial and ethnic composition. Currently, more than half of all Collier County residents are between the ages of one and 44, and the median age continues to drop every year.
The lush, natural beauty of white sand beaches, strewn with sea shells and sand dollars, perfectly complements the warm blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Naples area beaches are world renowned, and have been named as some of the Best Beaches in Florida by the Travel Channel.
Naples is also a boater’s paradise, and all water sports can be enjoyed year-round. Fishing is a local passion, whether deep water or back water, and includes such highly sought-after game fish as snook, tarpon and spotted seatrout.
It has been said that the Naples area has more golf holes per capita than any other place in the country. Believe it. And each one is a fresh challenge, designed by the top names in the field for both serious and recreational golfers. For many decades, Naples has been the site of major professional tournaments on courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones and Greg Norman. The annual Shark Shootout, hosted by its founders, Greg and Laura Norman, brings together the best in the sport to raise money for the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Sports fans who love hot dogs, peanuts and Major League Baseball will thrill to Spring Training action from both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins, just 30 minutes from downtown Naples. In addition, Germain Arena is home to the crazy hockey antics of the Florida Everblades.
If tennis is your game, The Oliver Group Champions Cup is held every year in Naples. John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Johann Kriek and other top senior professionals regularly play in this event. For serious amateurs, the local YMCA is the site for the largest amateur tournament in southwest Florida, the North Naples Clay Court Championships, with over 700 entries.
Arts and Entertainment
The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, the Sugden Theater and Germain Arena together offer a wide selection of world class entertainment options. The choices are dizzying—from opera to Broadway, comics to experimental theater, Rock and Roll to Country Western, ballet, symphony, folk dancers and dueling pianos.
It's impossible to count the number of outdoor arts and crafts festivals held every year, including world class juried events. The numerous local galleries host celebrity artists, including Jane Seymour, Tony Curtis, and Dale Chihuly, as well as local gems such as Clyde Butcher.
If museums are your favorite, you will enjoy the ever-changing programs at the Naples Museum of Art, the local history preserved at the Palm Cottage Museum, the whimsy of the Teddy Bear Museum or the Naples Depot and Lionel Museum Train Display. And, the Naples Art Association, founded in 1954, with its architecturally stunning Von Liebig Arts Center, located in the very heart of the City. This Center continues the Neapolitan tradition of promoting and advancing education, interest and participation in the contemporary visual arts.
The Naples area is proud to offer the exciting opportunity for degreed programs and adult education at the Florida Gulf Coast University, the newest accredited State college with cutting edge facilities and a fresh menu of alternate degree options. In addition, the first Catholic college built in 50 years, Ave Maria University, is blossoming into a thriving community of its own, just outside the Naples City limits.
It is easy to see why Naples is one of the country’s most desirable places to live. The quality of life and lifestyle options are unique to this city, born of the sea and resting on pure white sand. The people are as diverse as the shells scattered on the beach, and just as charming. And the opportunities are as colorful and expansive as a tropical sunset.