Chemosensors designed around a calixarene scaffold, possessing distal isoxazole nuclei as potential recognition sites in conjugation with fluorogenic reporting moieties, have been synthesised and their molecular structures determined by single crystal X-ray analysis. PIC (pyrene-isoxazole-calixarene) and AIC (anthracene-isoxazole-calixarene) are found to be selective and sensitive for the recognition of copper(II) ions over a range of divalent metal ions in a spectrofluorometric study in acetonitrile. Following exposure to copper(II) ions the fluorescence emission intensity of the host was dramatically quenched, in contrast there were no significant shifts to the UV-vis spectra. H-1 NMR spectroscopic studies could not provide unambiguous evidence for the mode of ion recognition. Hybrid Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations for the PIC-copper(II) complex suggests that the metal ion adopts tetrahedral geometry in an acetonitrile solution, while a distorted square pyramidal coordination is also possible in the absence of solvent molecules. Both of these binding conformations cause the disruption of the pyrene-pyrene stacking, consistent with the observed fluorescence quenching. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.