October 26, 2021 – The Sanibel Historical Village is celebrating Mule Day through November. “The mule was very important to Sanibel pioneers, primarily for farming and transportation, so we decided we needed more than one day to show our appreciation,” said Executive Director Emilie Alfino.

Mules in parade

The Village has a new outdoor life-sized mule exhibit perfect for photo opportunities. In addition, the Village has a special “Mule Treasure Hunt” for children, and mule facts and figures in each of its buildings. Some fun mule merchandise is available in the gift shop in Shore Haven.

President Ronald Reagan official proclaimed October 26 as Mule Day in 1985. It was the 200th anniversary of a donkey named “Spanish Jack’s” arrival in the United States, a gift from Spanish King Charles III to George Washington, who was interested in breeding American mules from Spanish stock. Washington bred the first mules of their kind from this donkey. (A mule is a cross between a female horse and a male donkey.)

Mules have more endurance than horses and are more sure-footed. They are highly resistant to heat, sun, and rain, and their skin is harder and less sensitive than horses, making them much more appropriate for an island teeming with mosquitoes. They consume less food and require less water than horses, making them less expensive to maintain. They also live much longer than horses, making them more economical for Sanibel farmers.

“Stop by the Village during our mule celebration, take a picture with our new life-sized mule, and learn more about this amazing animal that helped make Sanibel possible,” Alfino said.

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In accordance with the city of Sanibel’s regulations, masks are required inside the buildings. Full guided tours are available only if reserved in advance for groups of between six and 10 people, depending on docent availability. This precautionary measure is due to COVID-19. “We hope to be able to resume our regular tours, at 10:30 and 1:30, as soon as possible and within safety guidelines,” Alfino said.

The Rutland House is temporarily closed for repairs. “We hope to re-open Rutland House, which was the first building to be brought to the Village in 1984, as soon as we possibly can,” Alfino added.

The Sanibel Historical Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS) and there is handicap access. Admission is $10 for adults over 18. Members and children are free. The village has handicap access to all but one building, the tiny Post Office. For more information, call (239) 472-4648 during museum hours or visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.