14758
California

Channel Islands National Park: Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands

Explore the pristine ecology of Channel Islands National Park, discovering a wealth of unique flora, fauna and geology as you learn the islands’ story from local naturalists.
Rating (5)
Program No. 14758RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Registration, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ventura, California
D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:30-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously). Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Weather in the Channel Islands can be unpredictable; indicated times should be considered provisional. Program activities including field trips, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Please refer to the document attached in your information packet, “What to expect on your island days!” for more detailed information about the islands we will be visiting. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center Field Trip
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Walking up to 1/2 mile; generally flat terrain. Note: Islands accessible by park concessionaire boats. No island transportation; all areas accessed on foot; bicycles not allowed.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers hot and cold items plus milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach at the hotel and ride to the Channel Islands National Park Largomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor. There, we will have an opportunity to watch a short movie, “Treasure in the Sea,” narrated by Kevin Costner. We will also meet and talk with park personnel, walk through the native plant garden, and view exhibits that highlight the natural and cultural features of the islands. We’ll then have some time for independent exploration to browse and enjoy the scenic view from the tower before walking into Harbor Village.

Lunch: At a restaurant on the water’s edge in Harbor Village, we’ll have a plated meal that includes dessert and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, we’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on a variety of topics related to the Channel Islands. They were created by tectonic forces roughly five million years ago and have a distinct nature that differentiates them from mainland California. The national park was established in 1980.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: We’ll continue learning about the Channel Islands with our local expert. Due to their isolated history, numerous species of plants and animals on these islands cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The islands and their protected waters serve as a habitat for animals living in the massive kelp forests, including approximately 1,000 species of fish and other animals ranging from plankton to blue whales, the largest creatures on Earth. For our field trip tomorrow, remember to bring your personal water bottle.

DAY
3
Full Day Anacapa Island Field Trip by Boat
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Getting on/off a boat, riding approximately 1 hour each way, weather permitting. Walking up to 2 miles; climbing approximately 150 steps to island plateau, uneven terrain. Layered clothing, good grip rubber soled shoes recommended. Note: The boat captain will make the decision about setting out depending on conditions. In the event that the field trip is cancelled, we have alternative plans.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Departing the hotel via motorcoach, we’ll begin a full-day field trip to Anacapa Island via Island Packers boat (foil assisted catamaran). Upon arrival, we will climb 157 steps to the island’s plateau and set out on a naturalist-led walk. The Chumash called it Anyapakh — “mirage.” Anacapa is 12 miles from the mainland. It is home to 265 species of plants and a bevy of seabirds with the largest brown pelican rookery on the Pacific Coast. On the night of December 2, 1853, the sidewheel steamer “Winfield Scott” crashed into the rocks off Middle Anacapa and sank. The Coast Guard built a light beacon in 1912 and a light station in 1932. Note: Trips to the Channel Islands are weather-dependent and subject to cancellation by the boat’s captain at any time. In the event that the island trip is cancelled, we will instead go on a field trip via motorcoach to the Natural History Museum and Botanical Gardens in Santa Barbara. There are stunning views of the Pacific Coast along the way. The field trip will focus on sites with history and relevance to the Channel Islands.

Lunch: At a scenic spot on the island, we’ll have bag lunches with a sandwich and cookie. Water will be available on the island to refill water bottles. There are few trash cans on the island. Our lunches are packed so that all trash can fit in a pocket to carry away. Please be sure you bring your reusable water bottle to the island.

Afternoon: Our field trip on the island will continue. The boat will return to the mainland at approximately 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Walking Trip Through Ventura, Afternoon Lecture
Ventura, California
B,L
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Walking 6 blocks each way; city streets and sidewalks. Walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll walk from the hotel to downtown Ventura and explore with a local expert. From Mission San Buenaventura founded in 1782 to the classic 1912 City Hall and birthplace of the Perry Mason novels, our expert will describe how Ventura has retained a strong sense of its past, traditions, and architecture. After walking back to the hotel, we’ll continue learning about what makes the Channel Islands so special with our local expert. About 1/3 the size of Rhode Island, these islands contain archaeological wonders. They have since been inhabited by Native American populations, who use tumols — canoe like boats — to freely travel between the islands and the mainland. The oldest skeleton found in North America, believed to be nearly 13,000 years old, was discovered on Santa Rosa Island in 1959.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: Our local expert will continue to enhance our knowledge about The Channel Islands, which are divided up into two groups: the Northern islands and Southern islands. Historically, the Chumash people occupied the Northern islands while the Tongva lived on the Southern islands until the early 19th century, when they were relocated to Spanish missions and pueblos. The remainder of the afternoon will be free for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Ventura. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Get a good night’s rest in preparation for our field trip to Santa Cruz Island tomorrow.

DAY
5
Santa Cruz Island Field Trip by Boat
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Getting on/off a boat, riding approximately 1 hour each way, weather permitting. Climbing small ladder to pier. Walking up to 2 miles; elevation change up to 300 feet, uneven terrain. Layered clothing, rubber soled shoes recommended. Note: The boat captain will make the decision about setting out depending on conditions. In the event that the field trip is cancelled, we have alternative plans.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach, ride from the hotel, and take the Island Packers boat for a full-day field trip to Santa Cruz Island. With its pristine beaches and grass-covered hills, Santa Cruz is the largest island of the five islands comprising Channel Island National Park and a miniature of what Southern California looked like 100 years ago. Upon arrival, we will climb a small ladder to the pier then set out on a naturalist-led walk of about one mile. We expect to see good examples of native and endemic plants through Scorpion Cavern. Those who would like a more rigorous hike can join expert naturalists who will lead a 2-mile round trip hike to Cavern Point. It involves a 300-foot climb on to the top of Cavern Point and then flattens out, providing expansive vistas of the Santa Barbara Channel. The expert naturalists will tell us about the isolation of the island, animals, plants, restoration projects, ranch history, and the marine environment at stops along the trail.

Lunch: At a scenic spot on the island, we’ll have bag lunches with a sandwich and cookie. Water will be available on the island to refill water bottles. There are few trash cans on the island. Our lunches are packed so that all trash can fit in a pocket to carry away. Please be sure you bring your reusable water bottle to the island.

Afternoon: Our field trip on the island will continue. The boat will return to the mainland at approximately 5:00 p.m.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Ventura, California
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Channel Islands National Park and its 175 miles of pristine coastline are within 60 miles of 18 million people, yet it has fewer than 300,000 visitors a year — quite low for an American national park. In our closing session, we will follow one man’s journey of discovery with a week of isolation on each of the islands. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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