Following breakfast, we’ll depart for the kayaking launch site. After a brief kayaking lesson, we begin our journey across the bay into the mangroves, stopping along the way for our comparative study of the mangrove ecosystem. Discussions will include the importance of mangroves both to humans and a diverse array of wildlife, from the fish and invertebrates we observed to the birds flying overhead. Following lunch, we’ll continue our day as we prepare for our encounter with some of the most compelling marine mammals, dolphins. Our 4 hour visit to Dolphin Plus/Dolphin Cove and Island Dolphin Care finds us learning about the behavior of these very intelligent species through several interactive programs: the Marine Mammal Care Lab, the Dolphin “Wade” interaction program, a hands-on Touch Tank and direct interaction in the water with the dolphins. Together, these make for an unforgettable environmental experience with this beloved mammal. Following dinner, as night falls, participate in our marine ecology discussion and Fish Identification program before heading back to our hotel or campsite.
Following breakfast, we’ll head to John Pennekamp State Park, fit our snorkel gear and board the dive boat and begin our coral reef study. Snorkel gear will be provided. After the swim test, we’ll spend the next 3 hours discovering the fascinating dynamics of both mangrove and coral reef ecology. Returning from our snorkeling experience, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch, departing Key Largo in the late afternoon to head home, swapping stories about our Florida adventure! A last stop at the famed “Robert is Here” tortoise farm and smoothie stand is a perfect end to our trip.