20896
Naples
Secrets of Southwest Florida: From the Gulf to the Glades
Discover Naples and the Everglades as you explore world-class museums, historical landmarks, unique ecosystems and conservation efforts alongside new friends and scholarly experts.
Rating (4.33)
Program No. 20896RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Naples, FL
D
Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00pm. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby 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: Enjoy a plated meal at the hotel and get to know your fellow Scholars.

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, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. 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.

DAY
2
AM Lecture, Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Airboat Ride
Naples, FL
B,L,D
Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile along boardwalk. Getting on/off an airboat.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a variety of hot and cold items on the buffet, including scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal, fruit, coffee and tea, as well as an omelette station.

Morning: Our program begins with a lecture from the former director of the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Topic: "Usual and Unusual Wildlife of South Florida." We then depart for Corkscrew. On the boardwalk, a naturalist will provide commentary and lead us around parts of this 14,000-acre sanctuary managed by the National Audubon Society, who help maintain native plants and animals, and preserve the natural processes that have been occurring within this eco-system for thousands of years. A 2.25-mile raised boardwalk takes us through several distinct habitats including the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in North America. Wildlife commonly residing here at different times of the year include birds from Anhinga to woodpeckers, butterflies, frogs and other amphibians, mammals ranging from squirrels to bears, and reptiles such as alligators, lizards, snakes and turtles.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch on the Corkscrew grounds. Bottled water included.

Afternoon: Board the motor coach and arrive at Lake Trafford, where you will enjoy a beautiful air boat ride. Learn about the local wildlife from your Captain. Sightseeing varies throughout the year and can include alligators, a variety of birds and plants.

Dinner: Enjoy this evening's dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel. Available beverages include coffee, tea and water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Big Cypress, Museum of the Everglades, Shark Valley
Naples, FL
B,L,D
Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

Activity note: Walk up to 1 mile (1 hour) through Everglades City with expert-led instruction.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Board the motor coach for today's adventure to Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve. The Big Cypress is an amazing place and very different from the Everglades in the East, notable for its 500-year-old cypresses, whose roots are specially adapted to grow underwater for months at a time. During a visit to the Welcome Center, you will hear from a Ranger and have time to walk through some of the 18 exhibits describing the history, hydrology, and habitats. Then we depart for the Museum of the Everglades. The museum is devoted to displaying local history from early Native American times to the present as well as exhibits of works by local and regional artists. You will have an opportunity to explore the Museum of the Everglades, and partake in an expert led walk around this charming, historical destination.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the Everglades.

Afternoon: After lunch, we board the motor coach for Shark Valley. Shark Valley lies in the heart of the "True Everglades," or the river of grass, that stretches 100 miles from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. During a ride in an open-air tram your naturalist guide will share “hidden” aspects of the ecosystem that help make the Everglades a world-renowned wetland. We will have an opportunity at the half-way point of the tram ride, to see tranquil vistas of the park from a 45-foot-high observation deck, with views extending 20 miles in all directions. A gradual ramp provides access to the tower and each deck offers a chance to view something different.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner a local restaurant in the Everglades.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Naples, FL
B,L
Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Today's adventure is devoted to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. This morning you will be introduced to the Conservancy's mission to protect the area's unique natural environment and how its members work to accomplish this. You will learn about the wondrous ecosystems of Southwest Florida as you walk through the exhibits in the Dalton Discovery Center with a naturalist. In the classroom you will hear a lecture on "Predators of the Sky". Join one of the Conservancy’s experts to learn more about these unique birds of prey and discover why they are critical to Southwest Florida’s ecosystem.

Lunch: Lunch at the Conservancy.

Afternoon: After lunch, enjoy a guided walk of the Wildlife Exhibit. Learn about the Conservancy's wildlife rehabilitation practices. Visit their ambassador animals that are former animal patients who are unable to return to the wild because of the extent of their injuries. Learn about how to prevent injuries to wildlife. Depart via motorcoach and return to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.

Dinner: Take this evening to explore the local cuisine of Naples on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Kayak/Boardwalk, Smallwood Store, Lecture Sunset Boat Cruise
Naples, FL
B,L,D
Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

Activity note: Please return the Preference Form at the back of your packet as early as possible to secure your preferred activity.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Explore the Everglades with expert naturalists, where we will view some of the area's wildlife in their natural habitat. Choose between 2 outdoor excursions: either an easy paddle via kayak, or a leisurely 1 mile marsh walk. Please see the form at the end of your packet for more information. IMPORTANT: A day bag/knapsack is suggested to carry your cameras, drinking water, snacks, bug spray and other extras. We will have walking sticks, but if you have one of your own, please feel free to bring it. Enjoy a visit to the historic Smallwood Store, as well as a lecture at the Museum of the Everglades. The Smallwood Store was once a key trading post on Chokoloskee Island. Learn about the extensive history behind the Store.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: In comfortable captain's style seating, you will be safely brought deep into the National Park for an interpretive exploration with your naturalist guide. You will be introduced to the great birding and wildlife of the area learn about the Everglades ecosystems, it rich heritage and long history. We limit each experience to six guests, so you can expect an intimate experience in the wilderness. This evening will extend your exploration of Rookery Bay as you board the sunset boat cruise. Enjoy the sunset as hundreds of birds return to their roost for the evening (weather/condition dependent).

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner with the group at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Wrap-up Lecture, Program Concludes
Naples, FL
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a final farewell lecture with a Big Cypress Ranger that will provide further perspectives on Southwest Florida’s human and natural history. This concludes our program. 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!