Florida Outback Safari
Travel throughout wild Florida and visit the natural hidden gems that make this state so unique!
Travel to north Florida, home to the largest collection of freshwater springs on the planet. Campers document the hydrology of Florida, focusing on the Floridan Aquifer and understanding the importance of protecting Florida’s water quality through proper watershed management. Arriving in Apopka, groups check-in to cabins overlooking a beautiful pine flatwood forest. At Wekiwa State Park, campers canoe the Wekiwa River and gain an understanding of the complex ecological system designated an Aquatic Preserve by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Starting at the headwaters of Wekiwa Springs, paddling down the Wekiwa River, campers observe fish, turtles, birds, alligators, and the occasional otter family along the way. Campers then snorkel in the crystal-clear head waters of the Wekiwa springs and even dive down to explore the source of the second magnitude spring expelling, on average, 43 million gallons of water per day. At camp, campers continue with the educational trip and master compass orienteering skills. Learning how to use a compass and navigate through a course in the woods around camp finding clues along the way while comparing and identifying the dominant trees and plants. In the evening around the campfire, campers understand the importance of Native American culture. Storytelling, songs, and ending the campfire with delicious s’mores. Night hike down to the springs looking for nocturnal wildlife! Search for alligator snapping turtles, one of the oldest freshwater turtles in the world. Snug in cabins, campers reflect on the day exploring the Florida Springs.
The adventure continues in the morning with a hike to the headwaters of Rock Springs. Grab a tube and ride down the refreshing waters of Rock Springs Run. Campers float down the meandering slow-moving spring, peering into to the crystal water, in search of turtles and fish. Using scientific instruments, groups test water quality, and identify plants and animals’ native to the Florida Springs. Traveling through Central Florida, campers arrive at Highlands Hammock State Park, one of Florida´s oldest parks, opening to the public in 1931. Campers tour the museum and learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), established during the Great Depression, just prior to World War II. Exploring Highland Hammock State Park, campers then hike beneath towering oaks and native palms, through old-growth hammocks transitioning to a cypress swamp. On an elevated boardwalk, campers traverse through the cypress swamp searching for alligators, snakes, birds, and other wildlife. Continuing the trip, groups travel to the historic town of Arcadia, established in 1883 and the end of the Florida Southern Railway. Continuing with the trip, campers arrive at Joshua Creek, a tributary to the Peace River, discover Florida’s ancient past while fossil hunting for prehistoric fossils. Due to the unique geological characteristics of the Bone Valley region and the abundance of phosphate, campers find fossils preserved with amazing detail and color. As paleontologists, campers work together and dig in the creek in search of treasures, finding prehistoric fossilized shark teeth, manatee rib bones, and Native American artifacts. Using identification cards, campers identify treasures found on the fossil hunting expedition at Joshua Creek. In the afternoon, arrive at Myakka River State Park campgrounds and settle into cabins. In the evening around the campfire telling stories, campers participate in a vison quest experience, a very important traditional Native American rite of passage, before ending with delicious s’mores.
In Arcadia, the fossil hunting adventure continues at the famous Peace River! Campers canoe down the Peace River, spotting turtles, egrets, herons, and the occasional swallow-tail kite soaring above in search of fossilized shark teeth and prehistoric mammal bones. Campers then depart south following the flow of water from central Florida into Lake Okeechobee. Campers drive through old Florida viewing fertile farmlands and small historically agricultural towns such as Clewiston, consequently named the sweetest town in America due to its high sugar production. Continuing south, groups begin to leave the agricultural lands and quickly observe the ecosystem changing into the grassy waters of the Everglades. Spot flocks of ibises and egrets soaring above the river of grass and catch a glimpse of an alligator cruising in a canal as campers ride through the southern Everglades eventually reaching the Florida Keys. Group check-in to the hotel and prepare for the next day’s adventure.
In Key Largo, the Marine adventure begins as campers arrive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. With snorkel gear in hand, campers snorkel the wonderous Mangrove and Seagrass communities. Experience the rare underwater view of an estuary while snorkeling near mangrove roots and over protected seagrass communities. Providing food for large number of herbivores such as manatees and sea turtles, as well as for the smallest of organisms that act as decomposers, campers begin to understand the importance of seagrass communities. Snorkel over seagrass in search of stingrays, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and countless fish species that live in this wonderful habitat. Continuing the day at Dolphin’s Plus Bayside, groups participate in a hands-on Invertebrate Touch Tank, an opportunity to examine up close the local marine flora and fauna that call Florida Bay home. An opportunity to examine up close the local marine flora and fauna that call Florida Bay home. At the Squid Dissection Lab, campers examine the unique soft bodied mollusks that evolved to adopt a predatory lifestyle. Discover the importance of these animals and their relationship to the food chain, including many marine mammals. Evening exploration brings campers to the star gazing astronomy presentation before heading to their rooms resting for the next day’s Florida Keys adventure.
Begin the day on a kayaking adventure exploring the estuarine ecosystem. Campers paddle through mangrove tunnels and observe submerged seagrass habitats, home to a rich and diverse assemblage of animals. Through the calm nutrient rich waters of the estuary, view sponges, algae, corals, snappers, stingrays, and even the occasional small bonnet head shark. Migratory and residential birds can be seen roosting in mangrove trees and feeding in tidal seagrass beds. Campers are provided with the opportunity to better understand the conservation efforts between human activities and estuary communities. Next, campers travel to Islamorada, arriving at Robbie’s Marina to feed the famous-giant Tarpons that peacefully swim around the docks waiting for a snack. Continuing with the Florida Keys adventure, campers arrive at Crane Point Museum, Nature Trails and Historic Site in Marathon. Here, campers explore one of the few remaining sub-tropical thatch palm hammocks in North America and discover the Adderley Historic site. The Adderley house, made of tabby, is the oldest house in the Keys outside of Key West. Explore how these early pioneers from the Bahamas lived in the keys in the late 1890’s. At the hotel, campers better prepare for snorkeling, with an educational Coral Reef Ecology and Fish Identification class. Resting in rooms, campers prepare for the final day in Key Largo.
Arrive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first underwater park in the United States, campers get ready for a snorkeling adventure. Campers snorkel in the clear blue waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary identifying a variety of corals and associated marine life. Snorkelers dive down to get a closer look at snappers, hogfish, groupers, queen angelfish, parrotfish, and the elusive spotted eel, while discovering the many different species of hard and soft corals. Departing the Florida Keys for the final stop at the famed “Robert is Here” local fruit stand in Homestead. This family owned and operated farm has hundreds of different types of fruits, mostly grown locally, and famous fruit smoothies made fresh on site.
Journey home reflecting on the days spent discovering the natural wonders of Florida and its diverse ecosystems.
- Experienced and professional
- Required to complete an intensive on-site training program
- Present the program material in a way that makes it come to life
- Lifeguard, First Aid and CPR certified
- FDLE and FBI Level 2 Background Checked
- ASAP-Camp Safety Certified
OUR PROGRAMS BUILD…
- Leadership skills
- A “can do” attitude
OUR FIELD TRIPS INCLUDE:
- Certified instructors
- All meals and snacks-full day and overnight trips
- Activity fees
- All equipment
- Educational journals
- Bus activities
- Accommodations-overnight trips
FLEXIBILITY AND CUSTOMIZATION:
- Each trip is carefully planned to provide an educational and memorable experience
- All programs can be custom tailored to meet your school’s individual needs
- Level of instruction varies based on grade level.
- All programs are taught using a fun, interdisciplinary and hands-on approach
- Local history is incorporated into the learning experience
- Scholarships available so no student gets left behind
Field Trip Pricing
All pricing dependent on group size, destination, departure location and date of travel.
Contact Us For Pricing
Instruction, activities, equipment, meals, accommodations, and coach transportation
Ages 14 – 16
Summer Environmental Travel Camp Exploring Florida’s Natural Wonders
- Florida Hydrology and Geological History
- Tubing Rock Springs Run
- Canoeing at Wekiwa Springs State Park
- Florida Paleontology and Geologic History
- Fossil hunting for shark teeth and prehistoric animal bones
- Highlands Hammock State Park
- Peace River Canoeing
- Snorkel Seagrass Communities
- Invertebrate Touch Tank and Squid Dissection Labs at Dolphin Plus
- Kayaking in Key Largo
- Mangrove, Seagrass, and Coral Reef Ecology
- Robbie’s Marina and Crane Point Museum
- Astronomy and Fish ID Presentation
- John Pennekamp Snorkeling
- Robert is Here Fruit Stand