20971
California

Explore, Paddle & Discover the Central Coast With Your Family

Discover California’s Central Coast with your family, exploring coastal ecosystems, kayaking with otters and joining naturalists to learn the region’s “wild” story.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20971RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,099
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5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 2 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Lecture
Cambria, CA
D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Lodge check in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in meeting room 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. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously). Orientation: 5:00 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. In addition to our Group Leader who will focus primarily on logistics, we will be accompanied throughout the program by a certified naturalist who will deliver educational content unless specified otherwise. Road Scholar will provide personal, refillable water bottles. 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 our lodge meeting room, we will have a buffet meal with family friendly selections including salad, main dish, side dishes, dessert, milk, lemonade, coffee, tea, water.

Evening: Our naturalist will provide some background information about mammals and ecology in preparation for tomorrow’s field trip. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Elephant Seals, Forest Ecology, Falconry
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 3/4 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; dirt and gravel paths, sand.

Breakfast: In our meeting room at the lodge, the breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, oatmeal, pancakes or French toast, cereals, fruit, salsa, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: In our meeting room, our naturalist will give us a background presentation to learn about one of the most fascinating species on earth, Elephant Seals. We’ll hear about their life cycle and behaviors before heading out on a field trip to see them live. Boarding a motorcoach, we’ll ride to Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. As we walk along the ocean cliff, we’ll hear them long before we see these massive, noisy giants of the marine world on a secluded stretch of beach. 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. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for molted skin on the beach. We will then ride to San Simeon State Park.

Lunch: At a scenic spot in San Simeon State Park, we’ll have boxed lunches with a sandwich, fruit, sweet treat. Road Scholar will provide personal, refillable water bottles.

Afternoon: We’ll have some time at the park to splash in the water and enjoy the sun. Next, we’ll walk up a path from the beach into the forest to learn about its ecology, from decomposing organisms all the way to bears and mountain lions. We’ll look high and low on a scavenger hunt to find evidence of these creatures. Bones, traces of skin, feathers — who knows what we might find! We’ll also play a camouflage game to learn how forest animals protect themselves from predators. Learning how and why animals do what they do is important. Returning to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon is free to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local falconer to learn about the ancient practice of falconry: hunting quarry with a trained bird of prey. We’ll hear about the history and how falconry is used today. Then, we’ll meet some of the birds!

DAY
3
Tidepools, Morro Bay State Park, Movie Night
Cambria, CA
B,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles. Walking up to 1 mile; boardwalk. Sturdy, waterproof shoes required for tidepooling; walking sticks helpful.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We’ll hop aboard the motorcoach and take a short ride to explore the tidepools in Cambria. We’ll search for sea anemones, eels, sea stars, snails, limpets, chitons, and more in these pools amazingly full of marine life and share our discoveries with each other. After our field trip, we’ll ride into the historic village of Morro Bay.

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: Morro Bay is a designated National Estuary. Its varied ecosystems abound in all kinds of wildlife. Next, we’ll ride to the Morro Bay boardwalk for a walk with expert commentary to see tidal flats and any wildlife that may be present. We’ll then ride to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History that is part of the California State Park system, serving large numbers of school kids as well as the general public. We’ll watch a movie in the auditorium and then have time for a self-directed exploration to see exhibits and interactive, hands-on displays that help us learn about the estuary and bay ecosystems, wildlife, tidal forces, geology, and erosion. We’ll also be able to learn about human impact and how to preserve and protect the environment and its creatures. Docents will be available to answer all of our questions. At the museum, we will be joined by staff of Pacific Wildlife Care — a licensed animal rehabilitation center — who will tell us about the organization and its mission. PWC’s professional staff care for injured, orphaned, and pollution-damaged wildlife; rehabilitate them; and return them to the wild when possible. PWC responds to requests from the public for help with injured wildlife and is a primary response group in case of oil spills or other environmental calamities. We’ll get acquainted with some of the favorite mammal and avian “ambassadors” that are stars of PWC’s educational presentations. Returning to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: We’ll have a movie night in the meeting room. It’s cool to wear comfy pajamas!

DAY
4
Kayaking Morro Bay, Sand Dunes, Abalone Farm
Cambria, CA
B,L,D
Cambria Pines Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 1/2 hour each way. Kayaking approximately 2 to 2.5 hours at a slow but steady pace. Wear footwear that can get wet and muddy; windbreaker or waterproof jacket recommended. Independent walk according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: Aboard our motorcoach, we’ll ride along the coast to Morro Bay for a kayaking field trip in its smooth, protected waters. We’ll begin with basic paddle and safety instruction led by kayaking experts and naturalists. We’ll then head out in one- or two-person kayaks for a morning of easy paddling comfortable for beginners and family groups. We’ll be on the lookout for sites such as a heron rookery, a harbor seal haul-out area, an oyster farm, and sea otters. We’ll beach our kayaks on a secluded part of the sand dunes and go for a short climb to a Chumash shell midden, complete with stunning ocean views. We’ll also watch for nesting snowy plovers, a protected endangered species.

Lunch: Beside the sand dunes, we’ll have a picnic lunch featuring locally grown ingredients such quinoa salad, green salad, meats, bagels, condiments, dessert, assorted sodas, juices, water, and choices of beer and wine for adults.

Afternoon: A short paddle will bring us back to the docks for our return to the lodge. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You might like to swim in the pool or go out to explore the town of Cambria independently.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: We’ll gather in our meeting room for a session to make keepsakes and use a Native American hand drill. This unique drill has an obsidian point and is amazingly efficient. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

DAY
5
Wrap-Up Session, Program Concludes
Cambria, CA
B

Activity note: Lodge check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: In the meeting room, we’ll have a wrap-up session to share experiences and exchange farewells with new Road Scholar friends. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. 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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