Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Meet group leader between 5:45-6 pm, Dinner at 6 pm, Orientation after dinner.
Afternoon: Program Registration: Between 5:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m, plan to meet your group leader in the Banquet room for an orientation and dinner. You will also receive your up to date itinerary and other orientation materials. Please let us know if you will arrive late.
Dinner: At the Hotel. Your dinners (and lunches) for the week will be prepared by the Virginia Living Museum's Wild Side Cafe and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals that are both adult and kid-friendly (includes dessert; beverages include water, punch, coffee and tea).
Evening: Orientation: At the hotel the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. All time indicated on the daily schedules are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and museum staff may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will inform you as soon as possible. All transportation is via the museum’s 15 passenger buses.
Activity note: Using nets and buckets to search for animals in the museum’s pond; walking on an outdoor boardwalk trail.
Breakfast: Enjoy a plentiful buffet at the hotel offering a rotating entrée and hot/cold cereal, waffles, bagels, muffins, yogurt, breakfast meats, and fruit, plus water, coffee, tea, and assorted juices.
Morning: We’ll begin our day’s adventure by meeting the museum’s family of live animals that live along our tree-lined outdoor boardwalk trail. Our amazing animal family includes bald eagles, foxes, water birds of many shapes and colors, deer, endangered red wolves, and more! After our outdoor animal introduction, we’ll gather up nets, buckets and microscopes for a pond-side safari to explore the many hidden kinds of life that exists under the surface of the museums freshwater pond!
Lunch: At the museum. Lunches are prepared by the Museum’s Wild Side Café, and feature a choice of options including sandwiches, salads, chips and dessert, plus water, coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Afternoon: Our day continues with a close-up look at the bizarre world of amphibians and reptiles! Lots of people don’t know the differences between these two very different groups of animals – but you will! We’ll take a close look at the special adaptations that help them survive nature’s challenges by meeting (and maybe even touching!) some of these amazing animals. Next up – you’ll have the chance to visit the entire State of Virginia – all within the exhibit galleries of the Virginia Living Museum! You’ll have time to explore a wonderful variety of Virginia’s natural wonders – carefully and creatively recreated with an impressive array of native plants and live animals. After your romp through “our” Virginia, we’ll travel back in time together to learn how much this region has changed over millions of years. Rocks and fossils tell fantastic tales from long ago – you’ll learn their stories, and meet a living fossil too! Before dinner, you’ll have time to show your creative side with our nature arts and crafts activities.
Dinner: At the Virginia Living Museum
Evening: From the comfort of our digital planetarium theater, we’ll blast off for an evening voyage through our solar system! We’ll identify starry constellations and hear their stories, visit planets that travel through our night sky, and even witness the creation of new stars and planets. Quite a journey!
Activity note: Periods of walking and standing outdoors on uneven ground collecting fossils
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Our Virginia time travel will continue with a field trip to what used to be the bottom of a prehistoric ocean. We’ll search for and collect the fossils of 3-5 million year-old marine animals that swam and crawled along the bottom of ancient reefs and sand flats!
Lunch: At the Museum.
Afternoon: So you want to be a scientist? We can help! During this after-lunch program, you’ll use some of the tools of science – and your own scientific thinking – to learn about sea turtles, their survival secrets, and how we can help these incredible animals. To prepare for our trip to the Chesapeake Bay, we’ll continue to “think like scientists” as we dive into Chesapeake Bay ecology. Is the Bay shallow or deep? Salty or fresh? What kinds of animals live there? We’ll find out, and meet some live Bay critters too!
Dinner: At the Museum.
Evening: As a special evening treat at the hotel, we’ll introduce you to the “furry” world of mammals. What do the many different kinds of mammals have in common? What makes them different from so many other kinds of animals? Are people mammals too? There will be lots of “mammaly” things to see and touch – including live mammals for you to meet and greet!
Activity note: Walking short distances on muddy marsh and sandy beach; using seine nets and buckets to collect and release salt marsh and shoreline animals; wading into calm water up to your waist (optional).
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: We’re underway for the Bay! Our first stop is a tidal salt marsh along the historic lower York River where we’ll learn first hand (and foot!) about how vital these habitats are for plants, birds, crabs, fish - and people too. Next stop – a protected sandy cove just inside the York River’s exit to the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll use our seine nets to catch (and release) some of the shelled and scaly residents of this sandy Bay shoreline.
Lunch: At covered picnic tables next to the scenic York river, we’ll enjoy a boxed lunch provided by the Wild Side Café with sandwiches, chips, and dessert plus bottled water.
Afternoon: You will be returned to the hotel following lunch. Take this opportunity for 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 and give directions.
Dinner: On your own.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking on maintained trail and boardwalk
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Our last field trip adventure: a short ride to Newport News Park with its towering trees and shady pathways; the largest forested parkland within city limits anywhere in the U.S (including NY’s Central Park)! We’ll walk and explore on a well-maintained trail winding along a reservoir to a boardwalk crossing an ecologically magnificent freshwater marsh. A wealth of animals of all kinds along with an explosion of diverse plant life awaits us! After returning to the museum, you’ll have additional time before lunch to explore the museum on your own indoors or out. We guarantee you’ll still have things to discover!
Lunch: At the museum.
Afternoon: A full afternoon of fun and learning starts with exploring the secret lives of plants. Know everything about leafy green friends? How about using a powerful microscope to examine plants? And what about plants and animals – do they need each other? You’ll find out! Next, it’s time to clean up and pack away your fossils. This is a great time to get final IDs and ask more fossil questions. Microscopes can be used here too. After that – it’s all about birds! Bird beaks, bird feet, bird wings, bird feathers – big birds, little birds, seed-eating birds and meat-eating birds. Would you like to know what’s inside an “owl pellet”? Would you like to meet different kinds of live birds? We thought so! (And the microscopes are great for looking at bird feathers!) Last but not least – you’ll see a special program in our planetarium theater.
Dinner: At the museum.
Evening: Return to the hotel
Activity note: Canoeing & Behind-the-Scenes Tours at the museum, lunch at 11 am with farewell ceremony. Return to hotel for late check out at 1 pm.
Breakfast: At the hotel.
Morning: Time for a short leisurely canoe paddle around the museum’s pond – what a fun way to start the day! Trained museum staff will be your guides while we gently paddle along the wooded shoreline and search for birds and sleepy turtles. You’ve seen what the museum offers to the public – now you can get a peek behind the scenes too. We’ll guide you through the museum’s extensive natural history collections, behind the bubbling aquariums to see how they work, and into the kitchens where our animal family’s meals are prepared every single day – rain or shine! Maybe you would like to work at a place like the Virginia Living Museum too!
Lunch: At the museum at 11 am.
Afternoon: After lunch, we will have a special farewell ceremony celebrating all that we have experienced and learned this week. Participants will be returned to the hotel at 12:15 pm for a late check-out at 1 pm. This concludes our program. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!