Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:30-5:00 p.m. Take the elevator to the 8th floor foyer to register with the Road Scholar program staff and pick up your arrival packet that we'll review during orientation. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. In our private meeting room, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have about your week on the island. All transportation will be provided via bus unless specified otherwise. Please wear a blue shirt on Tuesday, Day 3 and a red shirt on Thursday, Day 5. We have set aside some free time in the schedule 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.
Dinner: In our private meeting room, the bountiful, tropical-themed dinner buffet catered by the hotel restaurant includes salad, choice of entrée (chicken or fish), vegetables, bread, dessert, plus milk, coffee, iced tea, water; other beverages are available for purchase.
Evening: Grandchildren will get to know each other with our youth counselor outside of the meeting room while the adults learn more about the fun week ahead.
Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile.
Breakfast: The extensive breakfast buffet offers a rotating daily variety of hot and cold dishes such as eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes, pancakes or French toast, hot and cold cereals, seasonal fresh fruit, muffins, bagels, toast, cream cheese, jams and preserves, yogurt, granola, plus milk, freshly squeezed orange juice, prune juice, freshly brewed coffee and hot teas, water.
Morning: This morning we will depart by bus for a full day field trip beginning with a study cruise on Sarasota and Roberts Bays aboard a 40-foot pontoon boat operated by a U.S. Coast Guard-certified boat captain. The cruise is narrated by a biologist and staffed with Mote-trained volunteers. Observe and learn about native species such as dolphins, manatees, and birds in their natural settings. For a truly “up close” look at marine life, the staff will use a trawl net and salt water containers to collect specimens that may include a variety of crabs, fish, and other critters before releasing them back into the bay. Led by aquarium staff, learn about all types of marine life common to south west Florida including manatees, sting rays, sea turtles, sharks, and more. The research facility uses sharks in their quest for a cure for cancer. You will then have time to explore the facilities at your own pace with helpful docents posted throughout.
Lunch: We'll have lunch at the Mote Marine Deep Sea Diner where you can select from an entrée salad or a sandwich and a side dish, a fountain drink or water, and scoop of ice cream. Or, if you prefer to find a different option on your own, you can walk across the street to the Old Salty Dog, a local favorite.
Afternoon: At Mote Laboratory, staff will lead a presentation on sea turtle nesting and conservation. An endangered species, sea turtles are protected by law and why it takes a large number of volunteers to protect them. Learn why beach lighting needs to be low during the nesting season why how sea turtles can be better protected. Before returning to the hotel, enjoy the rest of the afternoon to enjoy Mote’s permanent and rotating exhibits.
Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a Mexican buffet with side dishes and dessert, plus coffee (regular/decaf), tea (iced/hot), milk for the grandkids.
Evening: Watch sunset on Lido Beach right outside your hotel room or stand on the beach for a better view. Have your cameras ready for a special performance followed by an opportunity for the grandchildren to write a postcard to mom, dad, or a friend.
Activity note: Walk up to 1-1/2 miles on paths and uneven terrain at Spanish Point. Walk approximately 1/2 on a sandy beach to Siesta Key Beach. Please wear a blue shirt.
Breakfast: In our meeting room.
Morning: We will trek through Historic Spanish Point with docents and explore the museum on Little Sarasota Bay. Historic Spanish Point has a rich archaeological history 5000 years in the making and this interactive experience provides students with an appreciation of the prehistoric people of Florida. The adventure includes a stop at the burial mound, the high summit of one of the shell middens, and the most unique exhibition in the country, A Window To The Past. This one-of-a-kind experience puts the participant inside a prehistoric shell mound. Discover evidence of the early settlement of Calusa Indians and Mrs. Potter Palmer's innovative cattle ranching methods. Artifacts and a multi-media presentation enhance the participants' knowledge. Support materials include: Archaeology and the Prehistoric People of Southwest Florida, a publication produced by Historic Spanish Point. You will never forget the highlight of the day, a real archaeological dig site where you can get your hands-on and in the past.
Lunch: In a private room at Spanish Point, enjoy a sub sandwich, two sides, and fruit or vegetables, plus bottled water.
Afternoon: We will travel to Siesta Key Beach, rated #1 beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach, for a sand art project. Cool off in the surf and build a sand sculpture of your favorite wild animal or endangered species with the Youth Counselor.
Dinner: In our meeting room, enjoy an Italian-themed buffet with salad, assorted pasta dishes and sauces, vegetables, chef’s choice dessert, plus milk, freshly brewed coffee (regular & decaf), iced tea, water, lemonade for the grandkids.
Evening: In our private meeting room, the grandchildren will have the opportunity to rehearse for the talent show and grandparents are encouraged to join. If you are not participating, stay and encourage the rest of the group. After rehearsal, enjoy a relaxing night of Limbo – a popular Caribbean dance from the island of Trinidad made popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. Get a good nights rest for our early morning sea turtle walk tomorrow.
Activity note: There can be up to 1 mile of walking on the sandy beach in search of sea turtle nests. Afternoon fossil adventure will involve walking from the bus to the shoreline. Take the hotel shuttle to St. Armands Circle for dinner on your own, some restaurants are close to the drop off point and some are up to one mile away round trip walking.
Breakfast: In our meeting room.
Morning: Setting out before breakfast with a naturalist, as we will walk from the hotel and along the beach in search of freshly laid sea turtle eggs. Females typically come ashore at night during high tide and use their hind flippers to dig an egg cavity. This cavity is then filled with sand to protect the eggs from predators and to keep them cool and moist. We will walk back to the hotel for breakfast. Departing from the hotel, we will travel to Venice Beach with a naturalist, who will conduct a short presentation before we search for fossils. Wading through the shallow water, sift through the sand on the hunt for vertebrate fossils including bones, teeth, natural casts, molds, impressions and remains of prehistoric animals, fossil sharks teeth, fossil plants, invertebrates and shells. Our naturalist will help you identify your finds.
Lunch: At a local restaurant, enjoy a large buffet with a make-your-own sundae bar, plus soft drinks and coffee (regular/decaf).
Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. The hotel swimming pool is also a popular place to visit on a sunny afternoon.
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. The concierge has menus of the island’s restaurants and can assist you with reservations which are recommended. St. Armand's Circle is easily reachable by walking or the hotel’s shuttle bus, offers casual and fine dining including award-winning restaurants as well as boutiques and galleries.
Evening: Free Evening. Linger over dinner with new-found friends, take a stroll the Circle, exploring more of what Sarasota has to offer on your own, or just relax.
Activity note: Please wear a red shirt. Walking up to 1 mile; paths and uneven terrain. The giant airboat ride is very smooth. Optional climb of approximately 5 stories (75 feet) of steps to the top of the Canopy Tower Trail.
Breakfast: In our meeting room.
Morning: This morning we’ll travel to Myakka River State Park and learn how The Myakka was designated a Florida Wild and Scenic River by State legislature in 1985. The act provides for preservation and management of the 34-mile portion of the river within Sarasota County. A naturalist who is also a birder will accompany us through the park. Aboard one of the world’s largest airboats, we’ll venture into areas other boats of this size cannot reach. Along our smooth ride, learn about alligators, anhinga, and sandhill cranes among other creatures that call the park home. The boat ride is narrated by the captain who is well versed in the river and its surrounding life.
Lunch: At the state park, we’ll have a picnic with sandwiches, two side dishes, a sweet treat, and bottled water.
Afternoon: With our naturalist, we’ll continue our field trip through Myakka River State Park. The Canopy Tower Trail is on a spur trail that goes off of the Boylston Nature Trail. When you reach the structure, you'll walk up to 85 foot long canopy suspension bridge, then climb above the treetops to reach the 76 foot high tower to seek raptors below. We’ll then return to the hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: In our meeting room.
Evening: In our private meeting room, watch members of our talented group entertain us with jokes, songs, gymnastics, and karate moves. Wrap up the night with a fun and relaxing game of limbo.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: In our meeting room.
Morning: Joined by a zoologist in our private meeting room, we will learn about the various habitats of some reptile species native to Florida. There will be an opportunity to hold some of the reptiles for a personal photo. Collect the pictures taken throughout the week. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and we 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!