(Above) Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Aaron Pruss, center left, cuts the ribbon for the Chamber’s newly renovated visitor’s center with Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, center right, and several guests. Chamber’s Technology and Visitor Experience Director Cory Mills, left, and Member Administration Manager Mitch Orr, help with the ribbon. (Below) Sanibel artist Pam Broderson showcases her photo-worthy mural, painted on the wall previously behind the welcome desk.
(Above) Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Aaron Pruss, center left, cuts the ribbon for the Chamber’s newly renovated visitor’s center with Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, center right, and several guests. Chamber’s Technology and Visitor Experience Director Cory Mills, left, and Member Administration Manager Mitch Orr, help with the ribbon. (Below) Sanibel artist Pam Broderson showcases her photo-worthy mural, painted on the wall previously behind the welcome desk.

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the completion of renovations to its Francis P. Bailey Jr. Visitor’s Center with a ribbon cutting Friday, Dec. 7, prior to Sanibel’s 34th Annual Luminary Holiday Stroll.

The three-month project included complete interior renovations of the ground floor and upgraded technology for today’s travelers while keeping that coastal feel.

We are very excited about this project to improve the flow of the visitor’s center and offer valuable tools for better exploration of our islands and destinations,” said Chamber President John Lai.

The smaller welcome desk is centrally-located facing the front door to easily greet visitors, as dynamic displays beautifully showcase Chamber members. Four interactive kiosks conveniently guide visitors through categorized offerings on both islands with a search-able map and options ranging from sending directions to visiting websites.

However, a highlight of the changes may be the brightly-colored, photo-worthy wall painted by Sanibel artist Pam Broderson. The fun mural features Sanibel and Captiva Islands, several wildlife, and landmarks such as the historic Lighthouse and ‘Ding’ Darling Refuge. Printed materials continue to neatly line the walls for easy access.

The hard work by our staff and the volunteers who graciously greeted visitors in the temporary trailer in the parking lot during this project is greatly appreciated,” said Lai.

We want to extend a special thanks to all those involved in the project for an incredible job and everyone who came out to celebrate this special occasion with us. We invite you to visit us and experience the wonderful changes,” he concluded.

The visitor’s center was built on its current site, 1159 Causeway Rd., in 1964 just after construction of the drawbridge. It was rededicated in 2011 in honor of Francis Bailey, one of the original island pioneers who also helped establish the business association, a successor to the Chamber.

The visitor’s center has been ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor and hosts more than 160,000 visitors annually. It’s open 365 days a year. For more information, visit sanibel-captiva.org or call 239-472-1080.