From the Canopy to the Key: Ecology Along Florida’s Gulf Coast
Immerse yourself in the ecological wonders of Florida’s Gulf Coast as you learn about marine life with naturalists along sandy beaches, mangrove forests and the stunning Myakka River.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19469RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sarasota, FL
EVEN Hotels

Activity note: All activities take place at the hotel today.

Afternoon: ORIENTATION: Begins at 5:00pm in our private meeting room. We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety, guidelines, emergency procedures, and any other administrative issues. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

Dinner: Dinner will be catered by the hotel's restaurant in our private room at 6:00pm. We offer vegetarian and gluten free meals. If you only dine on fish, chicken or are lactose intolerant, please list on your form. Please fill out your Personal Health & Information form and return to us in a timely manner to ensure a pleasant stay.

Evening: GETTING TO KNOW YOU: After dinner we'll spend some time becoming better acquainted with participants and program staff. Find out what you have in common beyond a love of learning! The rest of the evening is yours to continue making new friends or just to relax and prepare for the full day of activity ahead.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Research, Shark Habitat and more.
Sarasota, FL
EVEN Hotels

Activity note: In order to see all of the exhibits at Mote there will be walking up to 1 mile. Bus trip to Mote will be approximately 30 min. there and 45 min. back to the hotel.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the private meeting room and is a continental breakfast.

Morning: Depart for Mote Marine PRESENTATION: Shark Secrets, by Mote Scientists. Florida has nurse sharks, bull sharks, black tips and sandbar sharks — among others — and you can get closer than you’d like at Mote’s 135,000-gallon shark habitat. This exhibit is also home to the world’s largest grouper species, the Goliath grouper (yes, he’s a cousin to Florida ’s favorite seafood dish) and some of the world’s most sporting fish: tarpon, snook and redfish. That's nearly a grand slam, by local angling lore. PRESENTATION: Manatee presentation by Mote biologist (subject to their availability or other qualified staff)

Lunch: Lunch at the Deep Sea Diner a retro '50s-style diner offers a fun atmosphere at Mote Marine. Or dine at the Old Salty dog or New Pass Grill, both are just a short walk from Mote.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Enjoy "Otters and Their Waters," "The Teeth Beneath: "The Wild World of Gators, Crocs and Caimans," "Oh Baby! Life Cycles of the Seas." See sharks, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life. Explore the secrets of the sea through touch pools, viewable-working labs and high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase the world-renowned research of Mote Marine Laboratory.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel in our private room.

Evening: PRESENTATION: Shelling expert will conduct a power point to identify what you may find on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. She will bring her shell collection; featuring rare and commonly found shells. Opportunity to touch the shelling collection. Use your new found knowledge tomorrow when you explore a beach on the exclusive island of Longboat Key.

Beach walk, lunch out, S. FL Museum & Aquarium
Sarasota, FL
EVEN Hotels

Activity note: Walking on the beach participants will experience wet and uneven terrain with shells and a variety of other marine life. (please bring water shoes or other shoes that can get wet and sandy)

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the private meeting room and will be continental breakfast with eggs and a breakfast meat.

Morning: FIELD TRIP/PRESENTATION: Visit a local beach on the island of Longboat Key with a shelling expert for a close up look at Florida shells. There are over 50,000 different kinds of shells (ie, seashells and landsnails and fresh water shell-bearing Molluscs), many with dozens or even hundreds of color and pattern combinations to find and enjoy. Expert will help to identify various shells you may find on the beach as you walk. Learn the various types of shells you will encounter as you walk on the beach. Learn what is rare and what is common. Shelling guide will be provided for your use during the field trip. Interactive walk with shelling expert on a local beach for shell identification.

Lunch: Relax during lunch at a waterfront restaurant.

Afternoon: The South Florida Museum, located in Bradenton, is a natural and cultural history museum specializing in the history of Florida's gulf coast. It houses exhibits highlighting Florida history from the prehistoric to the present. The first floor features fossil evidence of Florida’s earliest marine and mammal inhabitants and archaeological material representing paleoindian, archaic and pre-contact cultures. You will find the Great Hall, Land of Change, Fabulous Florida Seas, Archaic Peoples and the Tallant Gallery brimming with information and objects that reflect the prehistory of Gulf Coast Florida. William (Bill) Clendenin was born July 26, 1927, in Statesville, North Carolina. Bill started his impressive collection when he discovered a shell in a packing box used in his move to Sarasota, Florida in 1958. As Clendenin’s interest for malacology (the study of mollusks) grew, so did his collection. In the 51 years since he found that little shell in a cardboard box, he acquired more than 19,500 specimens. This collection was largely attained through live-shelling. Live-shelling is the collecting process of living mollusks. Each one was meticulously cleaned, labeled, and housed in custom made boxes. Clendenin donated his collection to the South Florida Museum in December of 2008. maintained inventory logs.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel in our private meeting room.

Evening: RELAX after dinner or enjoy a class related DVD.

Myakka River State Park, Airboat, Picnic, Dinner on Your Own
Sarasota, FL
EVEN Hotels

Activity note: Walking at Myakka State Park could be up to 1 mile on paths and uneven terrain. The giant airboat ride is very smooth. The bus trip to Myakka will be approximately 45 min. each way.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the private meeting room and is a continental breakfast.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Visit Myakka River State Park and discover how The Myakka was designated a Florida Wild and Scenic River by State legislature in 1985. It is one of only two rivers in Florida to be recognized with this special status. The act provides for preservation and management of the 34-mile portion of the river within Sarasota County. Hop aboard one of the world's largest airboats, the Myakka Maiden or the Gator Gal, and take a scenic cruise of the Upper Myakka Lake. Hear intriguing stories about the alligator, anhinga and sandhill crane as you become acquainted with the variety of creatures that make their home here. These slow-moving but powerful air-powered boats venture into shallow, grassy areas where traditional craft of such size could not go. The leisurely ride is safe and smooth, allowing ample time for photographs. In the event of rain, the field trip will be moved to the South Florida Museum. The South Florida Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Highlights include fossil evidence of Florida’s earliest mammals and marine species. Other exhibits cover local maritime traditions, early 20th-century medical practices and Spanish exploration in the New World. The Parker Manatee Aquarium at the museum, part of Florida’s manatee rehabilitation network, is home to the oldest known living manatee.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the state park.

Afternoon: CONTINUATION OF FIELD TRIP: The canopy walkway is on a spur trail that goes off of the Boylston Nature Trail. Group walk to the spur trail and then to the walkway, it takes about 5 minutes to reach the walkway. Then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. (Must be able to climb stairs to participate in the canopy walkway. If you are unable to there are benches to wait while the group climbs to the top.) Return to the hotel and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Dinner on your own at a Lakewood Ranch area restaurant. Opportunity to dine with new friends with transportation provided. The hotel also has a restaurant on premises and there is a seafood restaurant within walking distance. Please RSVP to the group leader no later than Monday to ensure a seat on the bus.

Emerson Point Park, Free afternoon, evening Asolo Play
Sarasota, FL
EVEN Hotels

Activity note: Uneven walking up to one mile through various uneven terrain, shorelines, sandy beaches and mangrove areas. The bus trip to Emerson Point Park will be approximately 30 min. there and 45 min. back to the hotel. When attending the theatre the bus will drop participants off in front of theatre and will pick up in front of the theatre.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the private meeting room and will be continental breakfast with eggs and a breakfast meat.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Explore Emerson Point Park, with rotating naturalists to view the Coastal Ecosystems. Explore the shoreline as an expert helps you identify varied forms of marine life and fossils. Trek through a Mangrove Forest to view up close native coastal plants. Hands on experience with Native American tool demonstration. In order to fully appreciate this experience you will get your feet wet. (Water shoes or old sneakers are recommended.)

Lunch: Lunch will be at an area restaurant with the group.

Afternoon: FREE TIME to enjoy the hotel's pool, Jacuzzi, fitness center.

Dinner: Dinner will be served in our private meeting room.

Evening: PERFORMANCE: Board the bus to attend a play at the Asolo Theater. After play board bus to return to the resort.

Program Concludes
Sarasota, FL

Activity note: Participants depart on their own after breakfast.

Breakfast: A continental breakfast buffet is available in our private meeting room. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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