20899
Florida

Beautiful Sanibel Island and the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast

Discover the rich cultural and ecological heritage of Sanibel Island as you explore its museums, photograph its diverse wildlife and beachcomb for shells with an expert conchologist.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 20899RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sanibel Island, Florida
D
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Activity note: Hotel check-in available 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:00-6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll order plated meals from a select menu with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates
Sanibel Island, Florida
B,L,D
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 1 mile; standing at museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet with choices such as eggs and omelettes, waffles, oatmeal or grits, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fresh fruits, yogurts, granola, cereals, and more plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we’ll board a motorcoach and set out on a full-day field trip to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark that comprises 20 acres of historical buildings and gardens. Renowned inventors Thomas Edison and Henry Ford became lifelong friends after meeting in 1896. They maintained an active correspondence, vacationed together, and eventually had winter homes near one another in Fort Myers. During a self-directed exploration, we’ll be able to see the museum, Edison's lab, and hear tales of these two famous men as we see how their ingenuity and hard work changed American business and industry as well as Fort Myers itself.

Lunch: At Edison and Ford Estates, choose what you like from the lunch buffet that includes sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, cookies, and a nonalcoholic beverage.

Afternoon: As we continue our Edison and Ford Estates field trip, we’ll have time to explore independently before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated set meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, we’ll be joined by local Sanibel author Charles Sobczak for a presentation on local wildlife and the history of species found in Florida.

DAY
3
Sanibel Historic Village & Museum, Bailey Shell Museum
Sanibel Island, Florida
B,L,D
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 12 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 1 mile; standing up to 3 hours during field trips.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: For our next field trip, we will board a motorcoach and ride to the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. Founded in 1982, it traces local history from the days of the Calusa who arrived here roughly 500 BCE through Spanish explorers and early 19th century pioneers. Each building moved here — dating from 1896-1926 — has been restored. Docents will lead our exploration. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Lunch: Hotel plated meal at the hotel.

Afternoon: Back aboard the motorcoach, we will ride to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. This is the only museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to shells, the animals that make them, and their importance to the environment. It features more than 30 exhibits of mollusks from around the world. A museum educator will lead the exploration as we see exhibits devoted to shells in art and history, shell habitat, rare specimens, fossil shells, common Southwest Florida shells, and more.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated set meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Beachcombing, Free Time
Sanibel Island, Florida
B
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Activity note: Walking for approximately 2 hours; sand. Field trip is weather dependent.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will hear from an expert conchologist on the art of shelling and what we can expect to find on the beach. We’ll then walk out to the beach with the conchologist to do some beachcombing on our own. We’ll look for shells, sea glass, sea beans (also known as drift seeds), and other gifts from the sea amid the surf and sun – as the weather allows.

Lunch: 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.

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. Complimentary beach chairs, bikes, kayaks, and more are available at the resort.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida
B,L,D
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; in/out of a pontoon boat. Walking about 2 miles; boardwalks, uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will set out via motorcoach on a full-day field trip to the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S. and world renowned for its migratory bird populations. President Harry Truman issued an executive order establishing the refuge in 1945. Many years later, it was named for Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, an ardent conservationist who helped create the National Wildlife Federation and loved to go birdwatching here.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated set meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll return to the wildlife refuge for a study cruise aboard a quiet, environmentally friendly, covered pontoon boat. The captain will provide commentary as we cruse and learn more about the refuge, the mangrove estuary, and the amazing wildlife as we look for some of the numerous species of birds that call this area their home such as egrets, herons, ibis, cormorants, and pelicans. Dolphins and manatees have also been spotted.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated set meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

DAY
6
Sanibel History, Program Concludes
Sanibel Island, Florida
B

Activity note: Check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a final session on Sanibel's fascinating history. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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