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Discover Georgia’s Barrier Islands With Your Grandchild

Program No. 2534RJ
Adventure awaits with your grandchild as you sail on a shrimp boat, climb a storied lighthouse, meet injured sea turtles and search for nesting turtles on a night beach walk!

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At a Glance

Spend an exciting week with your grandchild on sunny South Georgia beaches, hopping around to Jekyll, Saint Simons and Sapelo — three different and unique islands. Set out on an adventure together under the stars as you search the beach for a possible Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. Drag a seine net through the surf as we explore the creatures that thrive in the shallows of the Atlantic. Dig through the rocky ruins of an old military fort, and shout your way into the Gullah culture through their songs and heritage. On this island adventure with your grandchild, swimming, shrimping and learning all about sea turtles and the ecology around them will keep you busy during this memorable week together.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles daily, including beach and marsh walks; ferry ride to Sapelo. School bus or park van for field trips on Sapelo. Turtle walk at night over uneven terrain and sandy beach soil.

What You'll Learn

  • Meet sea turtles up close with scientists at a turtle hospital and on a night beach walk to look for nesting turtles.
  • Hop aboard Lady Jane, a retired US Coast Guard ship, to trawl (or fish with a net) for shrimp and other ocean critters.
  • Ferry to secluded Sapelo Island, to see how the Gullah people preserve an African heritage from before the Civil War!

General Notes

For a comparable family adventure for all generations, check out "Discover Georgia’s Barrier Islands With Your Family" (#23552).
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Terrie Dal Pozzo
Terrie was raised in New Orleans and moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the age of 18. She became the youngest woman in the Virgin Islands to obtain a Coast Guard license to operate motor and sailing vessels. Terrie skippered sailing vessels, taking guests on journeys through the Leeward Islands, teaching them to sail and snorkel and educating them on island life. She later lived in Kitzbuhel, Austria and Perth, Australia before returning to the Virgin Islands. She currently lives in eastern Tennessee.

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

Profile Image of Terrie Dal Pozzo
Terrie Dal Pozzo View biography
Terrie was raised in New Orleans and moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the age of 18. She became the youngest woman in the Virgin Islands to obtain a Coast Guard license to operate motor and sailing vessels. Terrie skippered sailing vessels, taking guests on journeys through the Leeward Islands, teaching them to sail and snorkel and educating them on island life. She later lived in Kitzbuhel, Austria and Perth, Australia before returning to the Virgin Islands. She currently lives in eastern Tennessee.
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While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Games
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table 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 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 during the program. Children are never to be left unsupervised. Periods 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. The schedule is also subject to change depending on beach tides. An updated daily schedule will be provided upon arrival. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll gather for games so everyone can get to know one another better. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Sea Turtles 101, Boneyard Beach, Georgia Sea Turtle Center
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: Sea Turtle Center is located right behind the hotel, less than one-tenth of a mile. Standing in Turtle Center up to an hour; benches outside. Walking on sandy, wet, uneven beach terrain at Boneyard Beach, which is sandy and wet with fallen trees that kids may climb.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll start the day off with an early morning beach walk and talk about barrier island dynamics focusing on Jekyll Island. Note: This activity is tide dependent and could take place in the afternoon in the conference room if necessary. We’ll head out to the beach by trolley or van for activities on Great Dunes Beach. On the way back to the hotel, we’ll stop at Boneyard Beach and explore the shoreline to observe the longshore current and its movement of the sand along the coastline. As low waves fill the tidal pools, we’ll wade in to look for different organisms that might be there, before high tides arrive once again and carry them away. We’ll also climb trees, do sand-filled “research activities,” watery investigations, and have tons of photo-ops.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll walk over to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to learn more about the habitat of these unique animals. We’ll also learn about conservation efforts being taken by researchers and environmentalists and how to be responsible people in caring for the ecosystem’s health. The Sea Turtle Center promotes educational initiatives, conducts research and rehabilitation efforts for sick and injured animals while educating the public. We’ll explore with our Group Leader while the Center’s staff will be on hand to answer questions. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You might like to go independently on a narrated tram ride to learn about Jekyll Island history with entrance into one of the millionaire cottages (not included in our programming). Or, enjoy swim time at the hotel. We’ll have a list of things to do in the area.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will be joined in our classroom by a local expert for a presentation called, "Sea Turtles 101.

St. Simons, Ft. Frederica, Lighthouse, Turtle Night Walk
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 25 miles throughout the day, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking at field trip sites; variable terrain, sand and paved sidewalks. Digging at archaeological site. St. Simons Lighthouse has 129 steps to the top. Late night “turtle walk” beginning at approximately 9:00 p.m. Sea Turtle walk can be up to 2 hours walking on sand and uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll hop aboard a motorcoach and ride to St. Simons Island and Fort Frederica, 18 miles away. At Fort Frederica, a naturalist will tell us the history of the 18th-century fort and town of Frederica. We’ll also learn about methods used to examine the historical archaeology. We’ll then have some expert instruction and participate in an archeological dig at Fort Frederica, identifying and classifying findings in a lab on-site. As we explore the fortress’s barracks, walls, moat, and surrounding houses, we’ll learn about its history. We’ll also see a film to gain a deepened perspective on Georgia’s colonial and Civil War eras. After our archaeology experience, we’ll go to East Beach for a short dip in the Atlantic Ocean before going to lunch in the small village.

Lunch: At a popular restaurant in the village.

Afternoon: We'll visit the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, built in 1862-1872. The Lighthouse is 104 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter at the base, tapering to 10 feet at the base of the gallery. It has 129 steps to the top. The light continues to be active and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. We'll return to the hotel and have time for the pool, beach, or sneak a nap in before our dinner. Don't forget we will be up late this evening due to the Evening Turtle Walk.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will leave by motor coach or trolley to meet the Georgia Sea Turtle Center educators on the beach for our night turtle walk. A staff member will explain the legal rules, regulations, and safety considerations for our “turtle walk” field trip. Flashlights, camera flashes, and other lights are not allowed. The staff will have a special flashlight that meets the requirements of the Jekyll Island Lighting Ordinance. We’ll then walk along the beach with a local expert and Center staff to search for nesting sea turtles. This walk will begin at 9:00 pm and last 2 hours unless we find a nesting turtle site then it could last up to three hours. It is a late night event but well worth it.

Shrimp Boat Trawl, Free Afternoon, Gullah Ringshouters
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 12 miles each way, approximately 20 minutes. Getting on/off retired Coast Guard ship, now a shrimping boat; study cruise approximately 1.5 to 2 hours; dress according to weather.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will start off the morning by traveling from Jekyll Island to Brunswick, GA, approximately 12 miles. We’ll transfer to the dock where we will board the Lady Jane, a 49 passenger steel ship that was retired from the United States Coast Guard and is now a shrimping boat. We’ll ride in comfort and look on as the crew demonstrates how to trawl the waters for a catch. If you like you can help our fishermen friends by helping to sort out the shrimp from the other types of fish that could be in the net. Species may include bluecrab, sand shark, puffer fish, horseshoe crab, blacktip, bonnethead, amberjack, whiting, spot, crocker, or others. While aboard, our captain and his mates will provide educational commentary. We’ll then return to the dock and transfer back to the hotel.

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

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your 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. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. The beach is close by and the hotel has restrooms for guests The hotel van is available to take and pick up. Bike rentals are available from the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and will provide a list of choices. You might like to eat out independently at one of the restaurants on Jekyll or dine at the hotel. Plan to be back in the classroom by 6:45 pm for instructions on the day trip to Sapelo Island and to prepare for the turtle walk this evening.

Evening: We will regroup after dinner for a presentation by a local group specializing in Gullah Geechee cultural performing arts such as singing, chanting, and acting, much of it with a historical focus on slavery. This group was invited to participate in the Washington D.C. inaugural parade for President Obama. Children may participate in the dance.

Sapelo Island, Beach Seining
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Activity note: Early morning getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 60 miles round-trip, approximately 2 hours. Getting on/off a ferry; ride to Sapelo Island approximately 30 minutes; restrooms on board. Getting on/off a school bus. Walking about 1 mile over several hours throughout the day; uneven terrain, sand, grass. Wear or take a bathing suit for beach and seining; restrooms at beach area.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach at 7:00 a.m. for the ride to Darien, Georgia, to be in time for the only ferry that goes to Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. There we’ll hop aboard a school bus with a local expert who will tell colorful stories of island inhabitants as we ride around the island. First, we’ll visit the “new” lighthouse on the south end, then hike into the maritime forest to learn why the old one could no longer serve its original purpose. Next, we will head over to Nanny Goat Beach. We’ll compare this pristine specimen of Georgia barrier island to Jekyll Island. We’ll learn about barrier island dynamics, play sea turtle games, and frolic in the ocean. We will go on a seining adventure to find out “What’s In The Water/Turtle Food Resources”. We’ll be seining in knee-deep ocean water and identifying what we catch — and what we bring up in the net may be a surprise!

Lunch: We’ll have lunch provided by one of the local families.

Afternoon: As we head back to the ferry after lunch, we'll ride past the R.J. Reynolds Mansion. We can't go inside because the mansion host overnight guests. At the end of the field trip, we’ll return the way we came via ferry and motorcoach.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll gather together one last time in a sharing and learning circle called Sea Turtle Roundup. We’ll recap our week and answer any remaining questions. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
Jekyll Island, Georgia

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

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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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