Tag Archives: eco tours

Eco Tour of Central Florida

Request a quote for an eco tour of Central Florida and South Florida.

Students studying biology, marine science, environmental studies and other related subjects will get excited about this special student eco tour I have designed with a focus on the subtropical environment of Central Florida. This student trip is hands-on with lots of outdoor activities like snorkeling and airboat rides.  It’s a great way to experience the marine life and unique wildlife of Central Florida as well as the swamps and waterways.

Below are some brief highlights of the eco tour of Central Florida, with a day at Busch Gardens theme park to add even more fun to the itinerary.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Homosassa Springs is a Florida state park with a great deal to offer the student tour group interested in adventure.  There’s a hiking and nature trail, ranger guided tours, boat tours, and more. Some of the wildlife students will encounter here includes: manatees, alligators and hippopotamus.  Special wildlife programs explaining the behaviors and habitats of these animals are available for visiting student groups.  Groups will also want to visit the Cougar Habitat and Black Bear Enclosure.

Snorkel Safety Lessons
When students are engaged in a hands on activity like snorkeling, it helps to be educated about the safest snorkeling techniques.  This snorkel safety lesson is provided prior to entering the Crystal River.  Student groups will also have information on how to interact with Manatees and other inhabitants of the River, as well.

Crystal River Snorkeling with Manatees
Students engaged in the study of biology or marine science will love this adventure:  swimming with the Manatees. These large and gentle mammals are numerous in the Crystal River, reaching numbers of 400 or more in the peak winter season.  Swim alongside the Manatees or just watch them feed in the river.  Guides may snorkel with the group to show them the type of behavior that attracts Manatees.

Crystal Springs Preserve Hands on Workshop

Environmental education is a large part of the eco tour itinerary. Trip leaders will want to Schedule a Crystal Springs Preserve workshop to maximize the experience. The Preserve maintains a large Living Laboratory of species common to the Crystal Springs area.  Students will actually hike through Crystal Springs and observe the natural habitat of animals as well as interact with reptiles, mammals and other species unique to the region in the Living Laboratory.

National Park Service Tram Tour and Airboat Ride
Everglades National Park is the only subtropical preserve in North America.  The park provides a 15-mile tram tour so wildlife can be viewed at close proximity.  The tram tour takes a flat road that winds through the Everglades where riders can see:  heron, egrets, deer, turtle and more.  Another way to experience the Everglades firsthand is to take an airboat ride through the waterways and swamps.  Learn about the Seminole tribe that used to inhabit the Everglades, view the alligators from a safe distance, and see the Mangrove trees and other wildlife that live in this swampy wilderness setting.

Busch Gardens Safari Seminar
Not far from the Everglades and Crystal River is a unique theme park, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida.  Here students can experience a safari where they can watch animals in a natural setting.  They will be thrilled to see: zebras, giraffes, bongo, ostrich, cheetahs, white rhinos, tigers and more.  Students can immerse themselves in the study of rare wildlife in a safe environment on Safari in Busch Gardens — an unforgettable experience. After exploring the safari, student groups can enjoy the SheiKra, Gwazi, or Kumba roller coasters and other rides at the theme park.

Central Florida has a great deal to offer students studying the natural world and the environment.  From swamps and waterways to safaris and snorkeling, this eco tour is a great way to engage students in active learning. Taking the Florida Eco Tour will help students to become stewards of the environment by giving them a reason to care enough to preserve it.

Request a quote for an eco tour of Central Florida and South Florida.

A Student Trip to California With an Eco Tour Focus

Students groups studying science, biology, ecology and other related topics may want to consider planning an eco tour of California. This tour would encompass some of the most well known national forests in the United States.  Students would be able to see the California Redwoods up close and visit sites relevant to marine science.  A well-rounded trip might also include a visit to San Francisco, where there are natural areas to explore nearby and within the city limits.

Eco trips are a great opportunity for active learning about the natural world.  Visiting some of California’s natural treasures will impress upon students the importance of preserving these and other areas in the U.S. Following are some suggested itinerary stops for an eco tour of California, along with brief descriptions of what each place has to offer.

Sequoia National Park
Located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sequoia National Park offers the ecology or science student a rare look at some of the largest mountain ranges in the West (rising to heights of 12,000 feet or greater) and some of the oldest and most well- preserved sequoia redwood trees.  Up until the late 1700s and early 1800s Sequoia National Park was inhabited by two different tribes of native Americans:  The Monache and Yokuts.  Students exploring the park will learn about their history and see their artifacts. In the late 1700s the Spanish explored the region. Later came hunters, trappers, loggers and miners. By 1890 this region became Sequoia National Park. Today it is called Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – both in the same vicinity of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In addition to a rich history and some very special trees, the Sequoia National Park is also an excellent site for the study of geology with some unique features of the mountains, canyons and waterways.

Yosemite National Park
The famous naturalist John Muir was one of the main forces behind the creation of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is approximately 200 miles from San Francisco and just over 300 miles from Los Angeles.  The park encompasses 1,169 square miles and is also home to many larger than life redwood trees.  Almost 95% of the park is designated as wilderness – making it a wonderful location for the study of ecology, biology, geology and other scientific subjects.  The park has many dramatic waterfalls, with Yosemite Falls being the tallest in North America at a height of 2,425 feet.   The highest peak in Yosemite is Mount Lyell at 13,114 feet; the most well-known is Half Dome, at 8,842 feet — this famous peak was cut in half by a glacier. The park offers a great deal of bio- diversity with many different plant and animal species, some which are unique to the park itself.

Cowell Redwoods State Park
At this California State Park, students can take a self-guided nature path tour to become familiar with the flora and fauna in the area. Here students will experience the wonder and magnificence of walking in old growth woods.  There are a variety of trees in the Cowell forest that have never been cut. Some of the trees in this park are 1400-1800 years old. These may include Redwoods and Douglas fir, Mandrone, Oak and Ponderosa pines.  The tallest tree in the state park is 285 feet and approximately 16 feet wide. Students will see the San Lorenzo River and visit the nature center and bookstore to learn more about the trees they see.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers students the chance to see the marine life that lives and feeds near the California coastline up close.  Some of the sea creatures that inhabit the aquarium include octopus, sea otters, pink flamingos and other wading birds and penguins. A visit to the Aviary offers a look at birds and animals that live near the ocean’s edge, including:  the leopard shark, sand crab, bat ray, bay ghost shrimp, North American plovers and red phalarope.  For student trips designed for seeking a more interactive adventure, group leaders can plan a sailing trip or surface scuba diving adventure with the Aquarium dive staff in the Great Tide Pool.

Morro Bay State Park

Students can further explore species that live on the California coast by taking a glimpse at marine life in the Morro Bay and lagoon.  The group can visit the Morro Bay State Park Museum and learn about the cultural history of the Morro Bay area, Native American settlements that once existed there and the unique geology of the bay. Groups can visit the saltwater marsh where they will have the opportunity to watch native birds in their natural habitat.  Another suggested stop near Morro Bay is the Museum of Natural History where they can opt to take a nature walk, view the exhibits, and learn about the Chumash and how they used native plants in their diets and daily lives.  The Museum of Natural history tour is recommended because it will further deepen students’ knowledge of the area.

If student groups have time in their schedule and wish to visit an urban area, San Francisco offers Twin Peaks and Fort Point National Historic Site, and other eco tour options. They can also visit well-known sites, such as the downtown district, Chinatown, Cannery Row and other places.

Eco tours are a rewarding experience for both teacher and student, because this type of trip is a great complement to learning through reading.  Teachers interested in advance preparation for trips can visit the websites of locations discussed in this article for learning modules and other materials.

To request a quote for an eco tour visit  http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com and fill out the brief questionnaire. Or, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.