15752
Cambria
Four Great Migrations Converge: Elephant Seals, Whales, Birds and Butterflies
Witness some of nature’s most inspiring scenes as you learn about migrating Monarch Butterflies, Elephant Seals in San Simeon and birds and whales along California’s Central Coast.
Rating (5)
Program No. 15752RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
999
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Cambria, CA
D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Lodge check in is available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In our meeting room at the lodge, enjoy a buffet dinner including an entrée, green salad, side dishes including fresh vegetables, dessert, coffee, tea, milk, water.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes. We will also discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Unless noted otherwise, travel to/from field trips will be via bus. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Take the rest of this evening to settle in, relax and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow, the adventures begin!

DAY
2
About The Migrations, Estuary Board Walk, Audubon Lecture
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Drive is approximately 45 miles throughout the day, up to 60 minutes on the bus. Walking up to 1/2 mile; boardwalk.

Breakfast: In our meeting room, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices each morning such as scrambled eggs, french toast or pancakes and assorted breakfast breads. Granola or oatmeal also available along with fresh fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined by an expert instructor for fun and informative presentations on Elephant Seals, sea otters, and the Monarch Butterfly migration, setting the stage for our field trips throughout the program.

Lunch: In our meeting room, the lunch buffet offers green salad, soup, bread, coffee, tea, milk, water.

Afternoon: We’ll board the bus and depart on a field trip to Morro Bay. Here, our instructor will discuss ecology and animals while we walk along the bay's estuary on a boardwalk- the best way to get close to the tidal flats and view the wildlife without being on the water itself. Next, we’ll take a short drive to Morro Rock to observe several types of bird life that nest here, as well as sea lions and sea otters that can often be seen in the surrounding waters.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local bird expert for a class to further your knowledge and understanding of birds in this area in preparation for upcoming walks and field trips.

DAY
3
Audubon Hike, Monarch Butterfly Grove, Falconry Lecture
Cambria, CA
B,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Drive is approximately 90 miles throughout the day, up to 110 minutes on the bus. Walking up to 1 mile, approximately 1.5 hours; beach, dirt path down to a pond.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We’ll have two field trips this morning. First, we'll head out via bus to Morro Bay with an expert from the Audubon Society to view some of the several hundred species of birds that winter in this area. We'll then take our bus down the coast to Pismo Beach and a beloved attraction, the “Butterfly Trees.” The reason for the nickname will be clear as we see hundreds of Monarchs congregating in a Eucalyptus grove. A docent will explain the shingle effect created by these clusters as we view this delightful sight.

Lunch: In the classic town of Pismo Beach, this meal has been excluded from the program cost and you are free to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Returning to the lodge, enjoy free time this afternoon. Explore the extensive themed gardens at the lodge, or visit the town of Cambria. Public transportation and taxis to sites of interest are available.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: A naturalist will join us to talk about the ancient art of falconry as it has been practiced around the world for 5,000 years. We’ll also learn about the present day status and importance of raptors and their migrations.

DAY
4
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, Elephant Seals, Monarch Video
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Drive is approximately 30 miles throughout the day, up to 45 minutes on the bus. Walking up to 1/2 mile on dirt trail at the lighthouse for 2 hours.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We'll board the bus and depart on a field trip to Piedras Blancas Lightstation, located 30 minutes from the lodge in San Simeon. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 70 foot lighthouse is now part of a historic park and wildlife sanctuary where a variety of organizations conduct biological research. As we walk through the Outstanding Natural Area, a local expert will discuss the history of the lighthouse, the reintroduction of native plants, and the natural history of the area. Our next field trip is to the Elephant Seal sanctuary with our mammal expert. It can be a noisy place during breeding season-- males bellow threats, pups squawk to be fed, and females squabble with each other over prime location and pups. Gargles, grunts, whimpers, squeals, and trumpeting combine to create the Elephant Seal symphony of sound. From huge blubbery males with pendulous noses (up to 2 feet long), to winsome females with a permanent smile, to endearing plump babies (weaners) with big brown eyes, this will be an experience you will long remember.

Lunch: At the lodge, enjoy a taco bar buffet with milk, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Our expert returns to continue our sea mammal studies, this time focusing on the migration of gray whales, a round trip of 10,000 to 14,000 miles! The remainder of the afternoon is free for personal independent exploration.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: In the meeting room at the lodge, view a one hour film on the migration of the Monarch Butterfly to help with your understanding of this magnificent flight.

DAY
5
Whale Watching, Wine Tasting, Farewell Dinner
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Drive is approximately 90 miles throughout the day, up to 120 minutes on the bus. Walking up to 1/2 mile on dirt trail at the lighthouse for 2 hours.Boarding 65-foot vessel requires walking up a sometimes steep plank with railing to board; staff available to assist. Whale watch dependent on weather; there will be an alternate activity in the event of unsafe sea conditions. Standing for long periods at vineyard, walking optional; uneven ground, approximately 3/4 mile round trip.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: Now it's time to try for a glimpse of migrating gray whales and other ocean inhabitants, such as the sea otters and dolphins we've learned so much about. After a short drive to Morro Bay, we'll board a chartered boat and head out to sea. After spending the morning on the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean, we’ll take our bus to a winery.

Lunch: At a winery in beautiful Edna Valley, enjoy your choice of a sandwich, dessert, and beverage.

Afternoon: We’ll explore the vineyards with the owner and winemaker to learn about natural habitat conservation and restoration. One such project focuses on salmon habitat restoration along the creeks on his property. His projects also provide habitat for native pond turtles, birds of prey, and allow for the restoration of native plants. We’ll top off our exploration with wine tasting. Returning to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: Lodge buffet. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: Our wine instructor will join us to explain organic and sustainable wine growing practices. He will discuss his ecologically-based wine growing practices that include soil management, integrated pest management, water conservation and energy conservation through the use of cover crops, and organic soil amendments. Then prepare for departure following our closing session in the morning.

DAY
6
Wrap Up Session, Program Concludes
Cambria, CA
B

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

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We’ll have a wrap-up session to review highlights of our experiences amid the beautiful, pristine Central Coast of California. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!