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22313
California

Explore the “Island of the Blue Dolphins” With Your Grandchild

Trace the footsteps of Karana from “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” learning outdoor survival skills, snorkeling the Channel Islands and learning about the Chumash Indians who lived here.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 22313RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499 / ADULT
1,149 / CHILD
California

Explore the “Island of the Blue Dolphins” With Your Grandchild

Trace the footsteps of Karana from “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” learning outdoor survival skills, snorkeling the Channel Islands and learning about the Chumash Indians who lived here.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499 / ADULT
1,149 / CHILD
Program No. 22313 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Age 9 - 12
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Jun 13 – Jun 18, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jun 13 - Jun 18, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Jun 20 – Jun 25, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jun 20 - Jun 25, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Jul 4 – Jul 9, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jul 4 - Jul 9, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Jul 11 – Jul 16, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jul 11 - Jul 16, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
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1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Jul 18 – Jul 23, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jul 18 - Jul 23, 2021
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1,149
/ Child
1,499
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1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Jul 25 – Jul 30, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Jul 25 - Jul 30, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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Aug 8 – Aug 13, 2021
Per Adult
1,499
Per Child
1,149
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Aug 8 - Aug 13, 2021
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,499
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
1,999
/ Adult
1,149
/ Child
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At a Glance

Can you imagine being lost on an island all by yourself? That’s what happened to Karana, a young Nicoleño Indian girl in the classic tale "Island of the Blue Dolphins.” On this adventure with your grandchild, explore the waters around the Channel Islands that Karana might have explored, and learn the Chumash Indian survival skills that saved Karana — digging a canoe, starting a fire, sewing clothing and making tools. Learn to paddle a sea kayak, go snorkeling in a secluded cove with a kelp forest and see pelicans, harbor seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild!
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Stand for extended periods, climb a rung ladder from boat to island, paddle a sea kayak (no experience necessary), wear a wet suit, snorkel in open waters.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn how to construct a plank canoe, make rope with plants and build a fire in the wild just like Karana did in the “Island of the Blue Dolphins” book.
  • Discover why the Channel Islands are considered the “Galapagos of California” as you learn about (and spot) some of the 2,000 animal and plant species that live there.
  • Experience the wildlife of the Channel Islands as you snorkel in a secluded cove and a kelp forest and during a boat ride to watch for whales, dolphins and porpoises.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-12. Wet suits and snorkel gear provided; personal wet suits or snorkel gear welcome.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman is an internationally recognized environmental and marine artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. An oceanography and scuba instructor, she is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has worked underwater on numerous films. Her freelance assignments for the Cousteau Society have included research logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she exhibits her watercolor paintings in major marine art expos from Hawaii to Paris.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman View biography
Margery Spielman is an internationally recognized environmental and marine artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. An oceanography and scuba instructor, she is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has worked underwater on numerous films. Her freelance assignments for the Cousteau Society have included research logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she exhibits her watercolor paintings in major marine art expos from Hawaii to Paris.
Profile Image of Julie Tumamait-Stenslie
Julie Tumamait-Stenslie View biography
Julie Tumamait-Stenslie traces her Chumash ancestry through her father, a leader or “paha” among the Chumash. She proudly carries on the traditions of her ancestors as she educates about Chumash culture, history and song. Julie has worked with the Park Service and Hunter College in genealogical research, cataloging materials from area Mission archives. She was selected by the governor of California to sit on the North American Heritage Commission, which helps tribes to protect sacred native sites.
Profile Image of Alicia Stratton
Alicia Stratton View biography
Alicia grew up as an Air Force brat, living in Japan, Texas, West Virginia, and South Dakota, then settling in Ventura. She is a licensed boat captain, certified SCUBA diver, and three units shy of my single subject-science teaching credential. She worked for The Nature Conservancy as a Naturalist, Island Packers as a Naturalist/Boat captain, and was the Research and Education Coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. She also volunteered on the committee that established marine reserves around the Channel Islands.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast
by Sarah G. Allen, Joe Mortenson, Sophie Webb
Sophie Webb, director of Oikinos, contributes the exquisite paintings for this outstanding field guide, the 100th in the California Natural History Guides series, perfect for the Sea of Cortez.
California
by Rick Peterson (Illustrator), Erik A. Bruun
A fun tour of California that begins with Disneyland and ends in San Diego and uses cartoonish illustrations and engaging narrative to teach children ages 9 to 12 about the state’s past and present.
Lonely Planet Los Angeles & Southern California
by Lonely Planet Publications
This practical guide to Los Angeles, San Diego, and Southern California features maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature, and plenty of information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing. With color photographs and excellent travel information.
Channel Islands National Park
by National Geographic Maps
A National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of the Channel Islands at a scale of 1:25,000. Waterproof, durable and tear-resistant, it is the perfect map to take along to the islands.
Images of America: The California Channel Islands
by Marla Daily
This Images of America installment introduces all eight of the Channel Islands, located off the coast of Southern California. Features archival photographs.
Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty
by Frederic Claire Chiles
This history of one of California’s Channel Islands covers everything from the island’s original Chumash population to its acquisition by the Nature Conservancy. Special attention is paid to the 50 years when the island was owned by Justinian Caire and family. The author, a descendant of the Caire family, uses family archives to flesh out his tale.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
by Peter Alden
A compact, easy-to-use guide to 1,000 California trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds and other flora and fauna.
The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef, From the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean
by Paddy Ryan
This take-along guide covers coral reefs, fish, invertebrates and plants of the Indo-Pacific and includes 200 color photographs.
Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization
by Ken McAlpine
McAlpine travels solo through Channel Islands National Park in California for week-long stretches while returning to the mainland intermittently. He mixes both experiences in this meditation on contemporary American life.
The Island
by Olivia Levez
When her plane crashes in the Indian Ocean, 16-year-old Frances winds up on a deserted island with few supplies and only a dog for company. Through her struggle for survival, she combats painful memories of her home life and discovers another survivor on the island.
Santa Cruz Island: A History of Conflict and Diversity
by John Gherini
In this thorough history of the largest Channel Island, Gherini introduces the Chumash Indians who lived on the island in pre-Columbian times and details early European explorers and the Spanish-Mexican period, when the island became a haven for smugglers.
California, A History
by Kevin Starr
A lively short history in the excellent Modern Library Chronicles series, written by a renowned historian.
Images of America: Ventura
by Glenda Jackson
Local historian Jackson covers the history of Ventura, California, from the dedication of Mission San Buenaventura to its present status as the Gateway to the Channel Islands and home to more than 100,000. Includes archival photos.
Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell
The gripping story of a courageous American Indian girl left abandoned by her tribe on an island off the California coast. Recommended for children ages 12 and up. Karana's struggle to survive is riveting.
Natural History of the Islands of California
by Allan A. Schoenherr, C. Robert Feldmeth, Michael J. Emerson (Illustrator), David Mooney (Illustrator)
A survey of the ecology, geology and human history of California's coastal islands.
California's Channel Islands: A History
by Scott O'Dell
The Channel Islands, a string of eight islands off the coast of Southern California, are home to stunning landscapes and remarkable biodiversity. This scholarly work covers ecology as well as natural and human history.
California History for Kids, Missions, Miners, and Moviemakers in the Golden State: Includes 21 Activities
by Katy S. Duffield
A history of the dreamers who shaped the great state of California, featuring a time line of important events and fun and educational hands-on activities.
Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia
by John Woodward
Full of fun facts, beautiful photos and colorful graphics, this encyclopedic introduction covers everything from sea creatures and birds to the Great Barrier Reef, from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Perfect for curious children ages 8 through 12.
The Basic Book of Sea Kayaking
by Derek C. Hutchinson
A brief guide to the fundamentals of sea kayaking by a leading authority -- a useful introduction for the beginner and a review for experienced paddlers. With 50 color illustrations.
American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of California
by Brian E. Small (Photographer), Alvaro Jaramillo
The ABA’s daypack-sized guide to more than 300 endemic and migratory species found in The Golden State. Each species is presented with 450 color photos, clear descriptions and spotting tips.
Natural State, A Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing
by Steven Gilbar (Editor)
Divided by ecological region, this book is a literary tour of California's unrivaled natural diversity, featuring essays and excerpts by such great writers as Barry Lopez, Gretel Ehrlich and John McPhee. Gary Snyder provided the afterword.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ventura, California
D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:30-5:30 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. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously). Orientation: 5:30 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. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren at all times. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. 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: At the hotel, we’ll have a meal with salad, entrée, side dish, dessert, and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll get a detailed overview of tomorrow’s field trip from our Group Leader. Then, continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Carpinteria Field Trip, Imagining Karana’s Survival Skills
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 17 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 1 mile; sidewalks, sandy beach. Dress in layers, wear appropriate footwear for walking in sand. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice. Note: Use caution on rocks. Tidal pools can be slippery and feet may get wet.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers an assortment of hot and cold items, plus milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach at the hotel and ride up the coastline to Carpinteria. From the Carpinteria Museum of History: “The Chumash Indians, the area’s first inhabitants, referred to this beautiful seaside valley as Mishopshno, meaning 'correspondence,' as it was a center of trade. In 1769, Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá came upon a group of Chumash splitting redwood logs, hand-hewing planks and constructing large, seagoing canoes they called tomols. Fr. Crespi had christened the place San Roque, but the soldiers dubbed it La Carpinteria, or the Carpenters Shop.” The Chumash used natural tar seeps found along the beach to seal the boats for their seagoing livelihood. On the Carpinteria State beach interpretive site — our outdoor classroom — we will meet an expert local historian who will lead our examination of the fictional life of Karana, heroine of “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” The book was inspired by the real-life story of a Native American who became known as the “Lone Woman of San Nicholas Island.” (San Nicolas Island is now owned by the U.S. Navy and not open to the public.) She apparently survived alone from 1835 until she was found in 1853 and taken to the mainland. We’ll try to imagine what it was like to live alone on an island in the mid-1800s and the survival skills involved.

Lunch: At beachside tables, we’ll have boxed lunches catered by a favorite local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll have time for personal independent exploration and imagine ourselves as Karana discovering her island and practicing survival skills. You might like to hike along the Coastal Vista Trail and take the path down to view oozing Tar Pits Park. Or, check out activity at the Carpinteria Seal Preserve, home to almost 100 adult seals. Use caution on the rocks and make sure to leave the least impact on this beautiful resource. We’ll reboard the motorcoach for return to the hotel, marveling at the breathtaking coastline along our way.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a member of the local Chumash Tribe to learn about some of the legends and stories passed down through the tribe for generations.

DAY
3
Channel Island National Park Visitor Center, Watersports
Ventura, California
B,L
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Walking up to 1.5 miles; flat sidewalks. Playing and walking in sand, ocean. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach at the hotel and ride to the Channel Islands National Park Largomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor. There, we will have an opportunity to watch a short movie, “Treasure in the Sea,” narrated by Kevin Costner. We will also meet and talk with park personnel, walk through the native plant garden, and view exhibits that highlight the natural and cultural features of the islands. Channel Islands National Park and its 175 miles of pristine coastline are within 60 miles of 18 million people, yet it has fewer than 300,000 visitors a year — quite low for an American national park! We’ll then have some time for independent exploration to browse and enjoy the scenic view from the tower before walking into Harbor Village.

Lunch: At a local restaurant along the harbor, enjoy a choice of entrée plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Our next activity will be on the beach where we’ll learn from an experienced diver about watersport safety, then test out the waves and play in the surf; boogie boards provided. A lifeguard will be on duty. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: 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.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Island Orientation, Snorkeling Class, Kayaking in the Harbor
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Water activities in hotel pool. Getting in/out of sea kayaks available for single and double riders; single riders must be at least 12 years old. Paddling up to approximately 2 hours. Dress in layers, wear clothes that can get wet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll learn from a local expert about Santa Cruz Island in preparation for tomorrow’s field trip. We’ll also have preparation for the boat ride to/from, hiking on, and snorkeling within the island. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five of the eight Channel Islands, each with a surrounding mile of aquatic environment. The islands are divided into two groups: the Northern islands and Southern islands. Historically, the Chumash people occupied the Northern islands while the Tongva lived on the Southern islands until the early 19th century, when they were relocated to Spanish missions and pueblos. These Native American populations used canoes to travel freely between the islands and the mainland. The park today is home to more than 2,000 animal and plant species; nearly 150 are found nowhere else! Next, we’ll cover the basics of snorkeling from expert divers and be fitted for our wetsuits and snorkeling gear. The class will be held in the hotel pool so that we can become comfortable with the gear and practice snorkeling.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll learn from local experts how to properly navigate sea kayaks, then take to the water in Ventura Harbor. We’ll think about how the Chumash tribe used their own version of the kayak — the tomol — for fishing and recreation. Tomols were propelled with kayak-like paddles, but riders had to be in the crouching position instead of sitting down. Kayaks are the world’s most popular self-propelled watercraft, used to explore rivers, lakes, and oceans around the globe. Today’s kayaks, the most modern and technologically advanced, are very much like those made long ago. Even with advances in computer software, naval engineering, and modern materials, the intuitive carpenters of centuries ago created a useful design that has stood the test of time. After riding back to the hotel, we’ll have a craft/art project with a local artist.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll be entertained by a local musician. Then, get plenty of rest for our big day tomorrow. Remember to bring your reusable water bottle to the island.

DAY
5
Santa Cruz Island Field Trip, Nature Hike
Ventura, California
B,L,D
Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1/4 hour. Getting in/out of a boat; riding approximately 1 hour to small pier, stepping off boat onto a ladder and climbing up a few rungs to the landing. Due to cold water conditions (55-70°F), wetsuits (provided) recommended for snorkeling. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven terrain, elevation change of up to 300 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding a motorcoach, we will ride to Harbor Village and board a boat that will take us to Santa Cruz Island — largest of the Channel Islands — about 25 miles off the mainland. After decades of dedicated restoration and conservation, the landscape of canyons, peaks, valleys, and 77 miles of coastline will give us an idea of what southern California was like centuries ago. Once we arrive, we will utilize our newly learned snorkeling skills with the expert supervision of a local island concessionaire with special permission from the National Park Service. We’ll be able to observe swaying kelp forests close to shore and be on the lookout for marine life and any island residents!

Lunch: At a scenic spot on the island, we’ll have bag lunches with a sandwich, cookie, and the water in our personal bottles. There are few trash cans on the island. Our lunches are packed so that all trash can fit in a pocket to carry away. Please be sure you bring your reusable water bottle to the island.

Afternoon: Our lead naturalist will lead a nature hike on the trails, pointing out different flora and fauna along the way. The boat will return to the mainland at approximately 4:30-5:00 p.m. After returning to the hotel via motorcoach, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have plated meals with the selections we made earlier in the week. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll have a wrap-up session to discuss how our experiences relate to “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” Prepare for check-out and departure after our last activity in the morning.

DAY
6
Art Class, Program Concludes
Ventura, California
B

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

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local artist and commemorate the program with our own handmade creation. 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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