23213
Florida

Secrets of Southeast Florida: From the Ocean to the Okeechobee

Study the relationship between man, wildlife and water as you explore the marshes and waterways of Southeast Florida by boat and boardwalk. Learn about ecology, conservation and more.
Rating (4.5)
Program No. 23213RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 4 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 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 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: 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 any 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 be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a plated welcome dinner with our new companions. Beverages will include 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
Okeechobee Waterway Airboat, Cattle Ranch Eco Buggy Ride
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 90 miles throughout the day; about 2 hours, with stops. Walking approximately 3 miles throughout the day: walking about 1.5 miles, approximately 1.5 hours on a boardwalk; and up to 1.5 miles on uneven ground at a local farm, about 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel via motorcoach, we'll travel to Okeechobee, FL, where we'll board an airboat and learn from our local captain about Lake Okeechobee flora and fauna and the history of the area's inhabitants from the Native Americans to the early settlers.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch along Lake Okeechobee before our visit to the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center.

Afternoon: Next, we will transfer to the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center at Buck Island Ranch, a 10.5 thousand acre cow-calf operation with 3,000 head of cattle. There we will board an eco buggy and learn about the ranch’s mission of ecological, economic, and cultural sustainability while driving through miles of pasture, prairie, and hammock. Visitors to the ranch often see alligators, caracara, red-shouldered hawks, feral hogs, and deer.

Dinner: En route to the hotel, enjoy a Southern-style plated meal in the city of Okeechobee.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore more of the area on your own or return to the hotel.

DAY
3
Jonathan Dickinson, Loxahatchee River, Jupiter Lighthouse
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 36 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total, with stops. Walking up to 2 miles at the Battlefield Park; about 1.5 hours; uneven terrain. Elective climb of 105 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse. Getting on/off boat; ride is approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding the motorcoach, we will head to Jonathan Dickinson State Park along the Loxahatchee River, Florida's first federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Upon arrival, we’ll boat a nature boat to enjoy a ride along the river while our captain provides commentary on the surrounding wildlife and environment. Along the way, we’ll learn about the history of the park, which was previously Camp Murphy, a top-secret Army base during World War II, and a classic Florida roadside attraction run by Trapper Nelson, a legendary animal trapper known to locals as the “Wildman of Loxahatchee.”

Lunch: At Jonathan Dickinson State Park, we will enjoy a boxed lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will board the motorcoach and travel to Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, a site of some of the battles from the Seminole War. With a local expert, we’ll walk under the hammock trees and learn about the historic battle sites and terrain. In January 1838, two battles took place over a period of ten days between the United States forces and the Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War. Our next field trip will be at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, where we will be joined by a museum employee. Built in 1860, the Jupiter Lighthouse and the exhibits in the waterfront History Museum are part of the first designated Outstanding Natural Area in the National Landscape Conservation System. The museum occupies a restored WWII Navy building and features exhibits telling diverse stories of over 5,000 years of human habitation. The handsome red sentinel lighthouse sits upon an ancient Indian mound making the breathtaking view from the top the most stunning in all of Palm Beach County. Those who would like an extra challenge can climb the stairs to the top of the 108-foot tall lighthouse. We’ll then return to the hotel.

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
Lock and Dam, Turtles & Ecology, Blowing Rocks Preserve
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 22 miles throughout the day; about 1 hour total, with stops. Walking up to 2 miles total throughout the day during group activities; sand and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel via motorcoach, we’ll make our way to St. Lucie River's Lock and Dam operating the Army Corps of Engineers. Upon arrival, we will walk along the scenic trail and learn from a volunteers about the locks that are used to manage both boat traffic and water levels after storms. Boarding the motorcoach, we'll travel to the Loggerhead Marine Center, home to a variety of educational exhibits, and a rehabilitation hospital for sea turtles and other marine creatures. With a center employee, we’ll go behind-the-scenes into the sea turtle rehabilitation area and learn about their experiences

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with non-alcoholic beverages included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll travel via motorcoach to Blowing Rocks Preserve to meet with a member of The Nature Conservancy for a lecture, during which we’ll learn about the restored sanctuary and how it reflects what South Florida barrier islands looked like a century ago. After, we’ll set out on a 1.5 mile boardwalk and beach walk with a local expert and explore the spectacular rock formations. Returning to the motorcoach we will go back to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon will be open for independent exploration.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Grassy Water Preserve with Audubon Everglades, Celtic Tenors
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach driving approximately 45 miles throughout the day; about 1.5 hours total, with stops. Walking approximately 3 miles throughout the day, with a choice of a longer and shorter walk at Grassy Waters Preserve.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After arriving at Grassy Waters Preserve via motorcoach, we’ll meet with naturalists from the Audubon Everglades and go on a hike through cypress swamps, cabbage palm hammocks, and saw grass marshes. Be on the lookout for commonly sighted species including the everglades snail kite, wood stork, white ibis, great blue heron, and alligator.

Lunch: At Grassy Waters Preserve, we will enjoy a boxed lunch.

Afternoon: We’ll continue exploring Grassy Waters Preserve on our hikes, then return to the hotel for some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we will enjoy a delicious plated farewell meal together. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: After dinner, we’ll take in a performance from the Celtic Tenors at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, From arias to pop to Celtic classics, the Celtic Tenors have been delighting audiences worldwide audiences since 1998. After the performance, we'll return to the hotel. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Florida Conservation Project Lecture, Program Concludes
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With a local expert at the hotel, we will continue to learn about the region's conservation projects with a fascinating lecture. 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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