Key West Old Town: A Kaleidoscope of Life
Dive deep into the legends, history, artistic legacy and natural wonders of one of Florida’s most vibrant cities as you unravel the mysteries of Old Town, Key West.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 20902RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Key West Old Town
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Activity note: Check in available from 3:00 pm

Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00-5:00pm. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, and to confirm the time of the orientation session. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: This evening’s dinner at the hotel is a plated, 3-course meal with salad, choice of entrée, and dessert.

Evening: Lecture: Treasures and Stories of the Deep. Meet and hear from our favorite deep sea diver who will delight you with tales of his many years of fishing and diving in these waters.

Harry Truman, Custom House, Butterfly, Audubon Lecture
Key West Old Town
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Activity note: Walk a total of 1.5 miles today on side walks, standing and walking for up to 1 hr at various stops. We will use the trolley today which has four steps.

Breakfast: Our well-balanced breakfast buffet in the hotel offers a variety of tasty options to start your day with hot and cold items, fresh fruit, juices, and coffee/decaf, tea, water.

Morning: Lecture: Harry Truman and the Little White House. Bob Wolz, our Truman expert, will tell you all about the President’s days in Key West and what came to be known as The Little White House. Florida’s only Presidential site, the Harry S. Truman Little White House was constructed in 1890 as housing for naval officers. Its most important usage was as President Truman’s winter White House from 1946-1952. Field Trip: Custom House Museum. This living link to Key West’s historic past was built in 1891 to house the island’s customs office, postal service, and district courts. “Old 91” is now the headquarters of the Key West Art and Historical Society that maintains a collection of artifacts and art significant to the Florida Keys. A docent will lead us through this amazing space.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant with the group.

Afternoon: Field Trip: The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. You'll see and learn about exotic butterflies, plants and birds in this beautiful, glass-enclosed habitat. While traveling to and from the Conservatory hear why this island, only four miles long and two miles wide, is such a fascinating place.

Dinner: Dinner is at the hotel.

Evening: Lecture: John James Audubon. America's greatest wildlife artist and early naturalist began exploring Florida in 1831 and visited the Keys and Dry Tortugas the next year. He left having seen 22 different bird species, and created drawings of each for his "Birds of America" folio. Audubon's painting of the white-crowned pigeon features the Geiger tree found in the front yard of the appropriately-dubbed Audubon House where he stayed in Key West.

Architecture Lecture, Walking Excursion, Cuban Dancing
Key West Old Town
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Activity note: Walk a total of 2-2.5 miles today on paved sidewalks. Walk 1.5 miles during the walking excursion. Remember to use sunscreen and wear a hat.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Lecture: Learn about Key West's intricate architecture. After the lecture, take a guided walking excursion of Key West and take in its rich history and colorful sites.

Lunch: Lunch will be at the hotel today.

Afternoon: The afternoon is free for you to enjoy Key West on your own. The group leader can provide suggestions for activities, or you can refer to the activity sheet provided in your welcome folder.

Dinner: Dinner is at a local restaurant.

Evening: See vibrant Cuban dancing from a local performer!

Audubon House & Gardens, Eco Center, Free Time
Key West Old Town
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Activity note: Walk a total of 2 miles today on paved sidewalks. Walking, standing up to 1 hour and climb a flight of stairs at the Audubon House. Standing at Eco Discovery Center.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip: Audubon House and Gardens. We will have a guided exploration of the place Audubon lived and worked while in Key West, then the home of one of the town’s founders. In the center of the lot was a garden of native and imported tropical plants Audubon used in his images of local birds. Learn about Audubon’s life and work here as well as the history of the house itself, which was the first restoration project in Key West in 1958, and is still considered the gem of the island's restoration movement. The home also displays 28 first edition Audubon works. Field Trip: Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center. Part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Eco-Discovery Center features more than 6,000 square feet of interactive and dynamic exhibits including a mock-up of Aquarius, the world's only underwater ocean laboratory. Colorful exterior artwork depicts the deep sea, coral reef, and mangrove shoreline. Here we will learn about native plants and animals of the Keys, marine and terrestrial, and gain an increased awareness and appreciation of the need to protect and conserve South Florida’s ecosystem.

Lunch: Lunch is at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: The afternoon is free for you to enjoy Key West on your own. Suggestions for activities have been provided on the sheet in your welcome folder, or your group leader would be happy to make their own recommendations.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own this evening to explore and sample the town's numerous dining options. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: Free Evening. Enjoy a stroll to view the passing parade. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, wet your whistle in one of Hemingway's favorite hang-outs. Hint: Two local bars lay claim to being his "real" favorite.

Hemingway House, Little White House, Farewell Dinner
Key West Old Town
Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Activity note: Walk a total of 2-2.5 miles today on paved sidewalks.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Lecture: Learn about Key West's literary figures such as Tennessee Williams. Field Trip: Hemingway House. An expert guide will lead us through the former residence of one of America’s most iconic writers, whose personal life was as colorful as any of his characters. Ernest Hemingway first visited Key West in 1928, arriving from Havana. Learn about the lives and times of Hemingway and his wife Pauline in Key West, and about the house itself. Personal touches are still visible throughout the house, from European antiques to trophies and skins which are the legacy of Hemingway's African safaris. It was here that Hemingway produced some of his best known works including “To Have And Have Not” which is set in Key West. Descendants of his six-toed cat still flourish here.

Lunch: Lunch is on your own to sample the local fare.

Afternoon: Field Trip: Little White House. President Harry S. Truman’s first 19 months were grueling and left him physically exhausted. His doctor ordered a warm vacation and Key West was chosen as the location. President and Mrs. Truman arrived in November 1946 for a week of relaxation. He fell in love with the climate and small town charm and returned to what became known as the Little White House for 11 presidential working vacations and five post-presidential trips after leaving office. Truman claimed Key West was his second favorite place on earth -- surpassed only by his hometown, Independence, MO.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a restaurant near Mallory Square.

Evening: Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square Dock. Here in Key West, watching the sun go down is a daily ritual accompanied by a festival with arts and crafts exhibitors, street performers, vendors, and a crowd of thousands of locals and visitors alike. People begin gathering about two hours before sunset for this multi-cultural “happening” that embodies the spirit of Key West.

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, Program Concludes
Key West Old Town

Activity note: An elevator is available but you may need to climb a flight of stairs to reach some parts of the facility.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Field Trip: Mel Fisher Maritime Museum where you will learn about marine archaeology and see treasures including gold and silver bars retrieved from beneath the sea. Dedicated to educating the public on maritime and colonial activity in the New World and preserving maritime culture resources, the museum celebrates 500 years of history. As a special highlight, we will go behind the scenes and explore the conservation lab. We will return to the hotel following the field trip.

Afternoon: We hope you have enjoyed this Road Scholar learning adventure and look forward to having you on other programs in the future. Please stay in touch and share your memories, pictures, and comments via the Road Scholar Social Network. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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