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BEGINS IN: EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA

Natural Wonders of Florida’s Great National and State Parks

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Road Scholar
Program #20447RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Feb 15 — Feb 22, 2013

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Type: Lodge

Description: We are a small family run lodge located in the heart of the Everglades National Park. The lodge was originally built in the early 70's to accommodate the avid fisherman and the new wave of ECO Tours. We can offer a small reception area, chickee hut with bbq pit, and plenty of free parking.

Contact info:
102 East Broadway
Everglade city, FL 34139 USA
phone: 239-695-4211
web: www.captainstablehotel.com/

Room amenities: All accommodations have private baths and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Waterfront pool

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Friday, February 15 - Arrival & Hotel Check-in, Program Registration & ...
Arrival & Hotel Check-in, Program Registration & Orientation, Welcome Dinner

Arrive To: Complimentary Shuttle from Miami Int'l Airport to hotel or independental arrivals. Hotel check-in available from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Afternoon: REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register with the program staff, pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag and up-to-date schedule, and other important information.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel

Evening: ORIENTATION: We'll have an informative overview of the program plus an opportunity to meet your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We'll review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. (If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.)

Lodging: Captain's Lodge and Villas

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: We are a small family run lodge located in the heart of the Everglades National Park. The lodge was originally built in the early 70's to accommodate the avid fisherman and the new wave of ECO Tours. We can offer a small reception area, chickee hut with bbq pit, and plenty of free parking.

Contact info:
102 East Broadway
Everglade city, FL 34139 USA
phone: 239-695-4211
web: www.captainstablehotel.com/

Room amenities: All accommodations have private baths and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Waterfront pool

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Saturday, February 16 - Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary & the Fakahatchee
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: Field trip with lecture to Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. This ecological gem features a two-mile boardwalk which traverses pine flatwoods, wet prairie, pond cypress, old growth bald cypress, and marsh ecosystems. The sanctuary is an important breeding area for the endangered Wood Stork, and other wetland birds, and has good numbers of wintering passerines, including the Painted Bunting. Numerous wading bird species can be found in the wetlands of the sanctuary, including the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Tricolored Heron, Great Egret, and Snowy Egret. Specialist birds include Limpkin, Barred Owl and, in summer, Swallow-tailed Kite. As such, it has been designated as a 'gateway site' for the Great Florida Birding Trail. American Alligators and Cottonmouth snakes, are also prevalent here.

Lunch: At Restaurant/Picnic

Afternoon: After lunch we will visit the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Big Bend Boardwalk. With its dense, enveloping tropical foliage, the Fakahatchee more closely resembles Jurassic Park than a South Florida ecosystem. This beautiful, remote road offers an excellent opportunity for viewing Florida’s flora and fauna in its wildest display.

Dinner: At Hotel

Lodging: Captain's Lodge and Villas

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: We are a small family run lodge located in the heart of the Everglades National Park. The lodge was originally built in the early 70's to accommodate the avid fisherman and the new wave of ECO Tours. We can offer a small reception area, chickee hut with bbq pit, and plenty of free parking.

Contact info:
102 East Broadway
Everglade city, FL 34139 USA
phone: 239-695-4211
web: www.captainstablehotel.com/

Room amenities: All accommodations have private baths and air conditioning.

Facility amenities: Waterfront pool

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Sunday, February 17 - Characters, Pioneers and 10,000 Islands
Note: Water shoes or old sneakers, water resistant long pants and a change of clothes will be needed for swamp hike.

Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: This moring's lecture will focus on the Characters and Pioneers of the Everglades. The 10,000 Islands have been witness to powerful Indian nations, Spanish shipwrecks, pirates and murderous outlaws. "Bloody" Ed Watson still haunts these backwaters in the long tales of pioneer fishing families. After the lecture we will take a field trip into the 10,000 Islands. As we wind through these islands, we will watch for dolphins, manatees, wading birds, and raptors. A special treat would be to see some of the rare Roseate Spoonbills that feed in the shallows. Oftentimes mistaken for flamingos, these brilliantly pink-feathered birds have started a remarkable recovery in this area. Still considered the wildest, most unknown place in America, the 10,000 Islands is a good example of time uninterrupted.

Lunch: At local restaurant

Afternoon: In the afternoon we will visit Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery and explore the Big Cypress. This is a day of discovery and exploration in one of the world's most threatened and beautiful wild places. First, stroll through the black and white gallery of world-renowned photographer Clyde Butcher whose pictures will awaken a true sense of understanding and respect for South Florida's natural beauty. You will then have a choice to join the trek at trail's head for a wet hike experience for those who are sure-footed or follow a dry trail for those with limited mobility. On either hike, you will discover lush cypress domes as native orchids and bromeliads hang overhead, and learn why conservationists have described this area as "a beautiful, rugged, subtropical landscape". On this excursion you will see a rare and unusual ecosystem come alive with wonder and beauty on a trip you will never forget.

Dinner: At Restaurant

Lodging: Captain's Lodge and Villas

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Along the southeastern edge of the beautiful Florida Everglades, is the Miccosukee Resort & Gaming. The Property is comprised of 302 guest rooms and luxurious suites, which are custom designed to create a comfortable and delightful guest experience.Guests can select from a choice of five dining options or simply relax at our Cypress Lounge and enjoy live entertainment.

Contact info:
500 S.W. 177th Avenue
Miami, FL 33194 USA
phone: 877-242-6464
web: www.miccosukeeresort.com

Room amenities: All guest rooms are equipped with wireless internet access, telephone, voice mail, modem, 27" remote control television, premium cable programming, pay-per-view movies, PlayStation games, mini-bar, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron & ironing board, robe & slippers, bath scale and an in-room safe. Guest Services include wheelchair access, 24-hour room service, 24-hour dry cleaning and laundry services, 24-hour front desk services and shuttle bus services.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Monday, February 18 - Overlook the Everglades and an Evening with the M...
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: Take the Shark Valley Tram to the Observation Tower during a two-hour, open air tram tour through the Shark Valley section of Everglades National Park. The park-trained naturalists who offer the interpretation on the trams have a sharp eye for wildlife in motion. Besides giving insight into the ecosystem as a whole, the guides will also help to point out some of the "hidden" aspects which help to make this a world-renowned wetland. The open vehicle will allow you to view wildlife within the sawgrass prairies on either side of the tram. At the half-way point of the tram excursion, a 45 foot high observation deck will give us an opportunity to enjoy the tranquil vistas of the Everglades, extending outward 20 miles in all directions. A gradual ramp provides easy access to the observation tower deck, and every part of the ramp and deck provide chances to view something different.

Lunch: At a local restaurant

Afternoon: Free time will be followed by an evening Airboat Ride to a Miccosukee Island for Lecture and to enjoy the sunset. Skip across the shallow waters and sawgrass prairie to a distant Miccosukee island as your Native American guide prepares you for an evening of natural wonders and historical discovery! Watch in wonder as Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Woodstorks and Ibis come home to roost as we travel into the true heart of the Florida Everglades. It is here among the sawgrass prairie that remote cypress islands filled with Seminole and Miccosukee history still exist and it is here that our adventure begins. As the sun sets we will walk the islands our guide’s family called home to hear how the Miccosukee families learned to live in harmony for generations in what many considered an unlivable landscape. At the onset of darkness we board our airboat to search the darkness for one of the Everglades’ most famous residents, the Florida Alligator. Peer in amazement as our guide’s searchlight cuts through the night to reveal hundreds of red eyes staring back towards us from the dark waters of the Florida Everglades.

Dinner: On your own at Hotel

Lodging: Miccosukee Resort and Gaming

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Stay at this newly renovated, 100% non-smoking Florida City, Florida hotel located adjacent to Homestead and close to attractions such as the Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys and Biscayne National Park. This Southern Florida area hotel features well-appointed guest rooms and suites, each equipped with cable satellite television and free high-speed Internet access. Hotel guests will enjoy an array of amenities , an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub

Contact info:
411 S Krome Avenue
Florida City, FL 33034-4913 USA
phone: 305-246-5100
web: bestwesternflorida.com/hotels/best-western-gateway-to-the-keys

Room amenities: Cable satellite television....Free local calls under 30 minutes....Microwave...Refrigerator....High-speed Internet access hard wired in every room.....Air-conditioning

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights after: Discount based on availability
Call Best Western directly (305) 246-5100 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST. Ask for Sonia Shelton and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Five: Tuesday, February 19 - The Redlands and Biscayne National Park
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: In the southernmost reaches of the Florida peninsula, just before the coral rock islands of the Florida Keys make their break for open multi-hued seas, lies a unique locale. At once tropical and rural, it is the growing region of Homestead, Redland, and Florida City. The people who settled this region were pioneers in the subtropics. Our first destination will usher us into the lush beauty of Cauley Square, a quaint collection of historic cabins surrounding a beautiful Victorian tea house. A large variety of little shops displaying home-made crafts and curiosities complete the scene. Next, off to R.F. Orchids - a third generation orchid growing family whose highly respected operation is one of the best in the South. Here you will find thousands of exotic orchids growing in a hammock-like setting accented with gazebos, ponds, tiki huts and lush landscaping. The orchids are everywhere, with many of the finest on display at the entrance. The nursery is always winning awards for outstanding work in orchid breeding and growing. When you browse through the greenhouses, it's easy to see why. As we head south, we will drive through the historic downtown Homestead. Watch for the distinctive agricultural-inspired area architecture. From cracker cottages to old packinghouses and railroad buildings to churches and school houses, this area still retains the rural flavor that has made it home to generations of farming families.

Lunch: At Local Restaurant

Afternoon: Visit Biscayne National Park and Dante Fascell Center. This afternoon, we will travel to the Dante Fascell Visitor Center of Biscayne National Park. Opened in 2002, the center provides gallery space where contemporary artists, inspired by the beauty of the park and South Florida, can show their work. Past shows have included color and black-and-white photography, oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor paintings, drawings, collage and sculpture. The center is located at Convoy Point, nine miles east of the City of Homestead. A beautiful museum offers a virtual journey through the park's four ecosystems using dioramas, audio and video. In the auditorium, we will view Spectrum of Life, an 11-minute film presentation on the park's natural wonders.

Dinner: At Hotel

Lodging: Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Stay at this newly renovated, 100% non-smoking Florida City, Florida hotel located adjacent to Homestead and close to attractions such as the Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys and Biscayne National Park. This Southern Florida area hotel features well-appointed guest rooms and suites, each equipped with cable satellite television and free high-speed Internet access. Hotel guests will enjoy an array of amenities , an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub

Contact info:
411 S Krome Avenue
Florida City, FL 33034-4913 USA
phone: 305-246-5100
web: bestwesternflorida.com/hotels/best-western-gateway-to-the-keys

Room amenities: Cable satellite television....Free local calls under 30 minutes....Microwave...Refrigerator....High-speed Internet access hard wired in every room.....Air-conditioning

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights after: Discount based on availability
Call Best Western directly (305) 246-5100 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST. Ask for Sonia Shelton and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Six: Wednesday, February 20 - Key Largo and America's First Undersea Park
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: The lecture's topic for this moring is Reef Relief. After the lecture take a Coral Reef Glass bottom boat excursion in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Hop onboard for a nautical excursion into John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the only undersea state park in the United States. From the sundeck, on our way out to the reefs, take in the panoramic offshore view of the Florida Keys and the ever-changing hues of the ocean. A spacious glass bottom boat will host us to a view of the exciting, underwater realm of a living reef. Upon reaching the reefs, everyone will want to stand and look through the large viewing windows while hearing of the wonders of Poseidon's Kingdom. The reef is built of many varieties and species of living coral. It teems with sea fans, sea plumes and hundreds of fish that range from small and colorful beyond-description, to larger species desired by fishermen. As the only fully-intact coral reef in the continental United States, John Pennekamp is a Florida treasure.

Lunch: At Local Restaurant

Afternoon: For the afternoon, we are inviting you to step back with us into an era that evokes the spirit of Humphrey Bogart’s “Key Largo”. Explore the Florida Keys of old with stops at the historic Caribbean Club and a dockside view of the original “African Queen”.

Dinner: At Local Restaurant

Evening: View a movie about the area.

Lodging: Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Stay at this newly renovated, 100% non-smoking Florida City, Florida hotel located adjacent to Homestead and close to attractions such as the Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys and Biscayne National Park. This Southern Florida area hotel features well-appointed guest rooms and suites, each equipped with cable satellite television and free high-speed Internet access. Hotel guests will enjoy an array of amenities , an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub

Contact info:
411 S Krome Avenue
Florida City, FL 33034-4913 USA
phone: 305-246-5100
web: bestwesternflorida.com/hotels/best-western-gateway-to-the-keys

Room amenities: Cable satellite television....Free local calls under 30 minutes....Microwave...Refrigerator....High-speed Internet access hard wired in every room.....Air-conditioning

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Additional nights after: Discount based on availability
Call Best Western directly (305) 246-5100 Mon through Fri 9-5 EST. Ask for Sonia Shelton and mention “Road Scholar” to make the reservations. Based on Availability.

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Seven: Thursday, February 21 - Everglades National Park
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: Our morning excursion starts off at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor's Center at the Main Entrance of Everglades National Park. The center has a giant diorama with life-size replicated, denizens of the Everglades on the prowl. A comfortable theater offers an informative film on the Everglades. Other exhibits located around the facility are thoroughly researched and very though-provoking. Then we are off to experience a hike at the famous Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm area of Everglades National Park. Follow the trails and boardwalks to get a close-up view of wild gators, turtles, Roseate Spoonbills and abounding varieties of wading birds and aquatic species. The Anhinga Trail was so beautiful and indicative of the Everglades that a group of women petitioned for its protection as a state park in the early 20th Century. This state park was the genesis of the Everglades National Park established in 1947.

Lunch: Picnic Lunch

Afternoon: In the afternoon we will visit a missile site with a lecture & visit the Pahoyokee Overlook Decades ago, our next field trip would have been classified top secret but the Cold War is over. Few people realize that Everglades National Park houses one of the best preserved relics of the Cold War in Florida. An historic Nike Hercules Missile Base, dubbed HM-69, remains virtually the same as it was when official use of the site was terminated in 1979. This missile base was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, completed in 1964 at the height of the Cold War, immediately following the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962. At a time when national security against Soviet attack was America's main priority, the United States Army chose this strategic site within Everglades National Park, located 160 miles from the Cuban coast, to build an anti-aircraft missile site. This afternoon you will visit and learn about this site with interpretation from a local historian. Before we leave nature's paradise we will take one last peak at Pa-hay-okee Overlook, an elevated observation platform that allows for more dramatic views of the open sawgrass prairies of the southern Everglades.

Dinner: At Local Restaurant

Lodging: Best Western "Gateway to the Keys"

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Friday, February 22 - Program Wrap-Up
Breakfast: At Hotel

Morning: Take the complimetary shuttle to Miami International Airport at 10 am

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
19 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
15 Field trips

Ratings

4.5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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