About Us

About Us

A Bit of Information About The Shell Factory, Nature Park & Fun Park... Since 1938 when Harold and Mildred Crant first began selling shells in Bonita Springs until today the Shell Factory has seen hundreds of changes. As a foundation for Lee County tourism and institution among southwest Florida Attractions "the Grand Old Lady" has seen days of great popularity and times of significant deterioration, the latter having reached its lowest point in 1997. The obstacles seemed insurmountable, one of the oldest landmark attractions in southwest Florida was about to become nothing more than a paragraph in history books and photos pasted in visitors scrapbooks. That was until developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas R. Cronin, Sr. cast his vision, creativity and financial support toward the failing attraction. Recently the Cronin's celebrated their 21st anniversary recreating the Shell Factory. Tom and his wife, Pam oversee the day to day operations of the iconic attraction.

 For more than 80 years, the Shell Factory (and now Nature Park& Fun Park has been entertaining tourists and locals alike with a dizzying (and constantly changing array of diversions and amusements reminiscent of Florida roadside attractions of yesteryear, which, by the way the Shell Factory was one of the first. The changes will never be complete. The addition of displays and activities within the attraction such as; Four Free Museums, the Year 'Round Christmas House, a Fun Park, a Fossil and Gemstone Mining Rig, Game Room, Full Scale Dinosaur Exhibit, US Post Office, Subway Sandwich shop, Gulf Coast Homemade Fudge, and 68,000 square feet of shopping including beautiful gifts, nautical décor, jewelry, pearls, toys, ar designs and of course shells began to create the one of a kind experience that is still evolving today. A recent addition, the Soaring Eagle Zip Line is thrilling the young and young at heart with every ride high into the North Fort Myers sky.

 One of the most significant embellishments to the Shell Factory was the addition of the Nature Park. Animals from an armadillo to a zebra call it home. The over 400 critters, birds, reptiles and fish that inhabit the lush environment are staged in aviaries, a gator slough ecological laboratory, petting farm and all manner of habitats and dwellings.

 Capt'n Fishbones Restaurant and outdoor cafes are thriving thanks to enthusiastic community support. Adjacent to the restaurant is a large special event venue, host to weddings, corporate events, and receptions of all kinds. Featured political events include visits by a number of influential figures such as Governor Rick Scott, US Senator Marco Rubio and former N.Y. Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Local officials from across the political spectrum have also had receptions and campaign kickoffs hosted at the Shell Factory's Dolphin Room, Party House and Outdoor Venues

About The Cronins

Commemorating the 80th anniversary of a business is a milestone; doing so with dedicated staff members is truly a celebration!

In receivership when we originally acquired the business, my wife Pam and I knew we faced some challenges but we had no idea of the extent of restoration, renovation, reinvention and revitalization that would confront us. One half of the warehouse had burnt down; we rebuilt it and added sufficient racking to house over 20 containers. In order to re-establish the reputation as the largest shell retailer in the world, we began purchasing shells and other merchandise globally! This abundance of merchandise has allowed our wholesale division to expand steadily.

Continuous change has been our goal for the eighteen acre facility. We brought in Subway, a national franchise, a U.S. Post Office Contract Station, the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce.  An expansion to the Game Room and Video Arcade has created an atmosphere of family bonding, with over fifty electronic games and rides. 

This entire project has been a labor of love and has become our second home, to which we invite you and your family. Plan your next full day of “family fun” at the Shell Factory and Nature Park.

Tom and Pam Cronin

Share by: