Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling about 30 miles, approximately 1 hour round trip. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; varied terrain; dirt and gravel paths; sand.
In the lodge’s meeting room, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring rotating choices including eggs, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes or French toast, breakfast meats, fruit, and beverage choices of milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
In the lodge’s meeting room, our naturalist will present on Elephant seals — one of the most fascinating species on earth. We’ll learn about their life cycle and behaviors. Then we’ll board our motorcoach and ride to Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. With our naturalist, we’ll walk along the ocean cliff to a secluded stretch of beach to observe these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. We’ll hear the seals long before we see them. Inflating their huge snouts, males can bellow loudly enough to be heard a mile away. The Northern Elephant Seal is the largest of its kind on the North Pacific coast. They come to the rookery only for breeding, molting, and to rest — otherwise they stay at sea. Elephant Seals have been recorded making the deepest dives of any mammal. Keep your eyes peeled for molted skin on the beach. We will then ride to San Simeon State Park.
At San Simeon State Park, we’ll have a boxed lunch including a sandwich, fruit, dessert, and water, followed by some time to splash in the water and enjoy the sunshine.
Next, we’ll walk with our naturalist up a path from the beach into the forest to learn about its ecology and food web. Then, our naturalist will lead us on a scavenger hunt! Search above and below to find traces of species native to this area such as bones, traces of skin, and feathers. Then we will play a camouflage game to learn how animals of the forest protect themselves from predators. We’ll learn how and why animals do what they do and the importance of protecting our forests. After returning to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon is free.
At the hotel, a local falconer will give a presentation about the ancient practice of falconry (hunting quarry with a trained bird of prey.) We’ll learn about the history of falconry and how it’s used today. We’ll also get to hold some of the birds!