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Sanibel Programs


Learn about ocean activities for kids, adults, and families at our Sanibel campus.

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Sanibel Programs


Learn about ocean activities for kids, adults, and families at our Sanibel campus.

Marine Conservation Through Experiential Education

There's nothing better than a day of discovery on the ocean. Come get your feet wet with us as we explore Sanibel's unique marine habitats. Maybe we'll find a seahorse in the seagrass, spot a manatee or two, or discover some tiny creatures that live between the grains of sand. You're sure to leave Sanibel Sea School with ocean memories that will last a lifetime!


Looking for programs at South Seas or Sundial?

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Courses


Our courses for children include fun activities like snorkeling, surfing, swimming, and fishing.

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Courses


Our courses for children include fun activities like snorkeling, surfing, swimming, and fishing.

Sanibel Courses (ages 6 – 13)

Come and enjoy the best part of your vacation and perhaps one of the best experiences you've ever had!

Typically, 20 students per day are enrolled in our courses. On rare occasions, we add resources to accommodate a maximum of 30 students. Students are divided into groups of approximately 10 students per adult lead educator. Interns and volunteers assist educators in the classroom and in the field.

Each day, two subjects of study are offered. The first is covered in the morning, and the second in the afternoon following lunch. At the end of each course, every student receives a Certificate of Mastery that outlines what we accomplished.

Lunch: We take a break and enjoy lunch in-between the morning and afternoon courses. If you’re unable to bring a lunch, a basic deli lunch may be purchased. Children with special dietary needs should bring additional or alternative sustenance.

Looking for learning opportunities the whole family can enjoy? Click here to learn more. 

Please note: our course calendars are published at least one month in advance - the March calendar is posted by January 31st, April calendar is posted February 28th, etc.

What to Bring

  • Swimsuit
  • Sunblock (we ask that you do not bring sunblock in a spray bottle - it gets in eyes, can ruin equipment and clothing, and isn't great for the environment)
  • Hat 
  • Wading shoes* 
  • Bug repellent 
  • Towel 
  • A bag for shells or fossils, if you'd like
  • Jacket if you easily get chilled in a light wind

Don't bring disposable water bottles: Single-use disposable water bottles are a real problem for our planet. We don't allow these types of water bottles on our campuses. The islands of Sanibel and Captiva have great drinking water. We can provide you with a loaner reusable water bottle, or you can purchase one from us to help remind you of your time with us. In your day-to-day life, please find ways to reduce the use of single-use disposable water bottles.

 

Fees

Full-day, no lunch $110
Half-day, no lunch $55

Refund policy: Please click here to view our Day Program Cancellation Policy. 

Click here to download a PDF of our course descriptions. 

*Flip-flops and slip-on sandals are not great shoes for wading, because they often fall off in the water. We recommend shoes that are specifically designed to get wet, with a heel and toe that fit snugly over the foot. 

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Adult Programs


Whether you're interested in fishing, birding, or learning about marine biology, we offer an activity for everyone.

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Adult Programs


Whether you're interested in fishing, birding, or learning about marine biology, we offer an activity for everyone.

Ocean Discoveries for Grown Ups

Throughout the year, Sanibel Sea School offers a variety of classroom and field-based learning opportunities for adults. Join us for a boat trip, learn to cast a net, or hold a tiny sea horse in the palm of your hands. No matter which course you choose, you're sure to experience Sanibel in a whole new way!

Adult courses are open to students ages 18 and up. Students who are 15 and older may register if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18. 

For the first time ever, we will offer a series of boat-based adult learning opportunities in October. Learn more below. 

We also offer customizable programs for groups and families of all ages!


Barefoot Academy

Take an in-depth look at our local ecosystems with our Executive Director, Marine Biologist Dr. Bruce Neill, and Sanibel Sea School's team of marine science educators. Program time will be split between the classroom and the field, so be sure to bring your sunscreen, your towel, and your wading shoes!

Fall Boat-Based Semester: October 2016

October is one of the finest months on Sanibel.  Like the changing leaves on land, the ocean experiences a rich and interesting fall transition before winter arrives. Join marine biologist Dr. Bruce Neill, co-founder and Executive Director of Sanibel Sea School, for a mini-mester this fall on the seas of SW Florida.  We’ll meet each Wednesday and Thursday morning in October and climb aboard our boat to explore some of the areas most of us only see from land. This is a lovely opportunity to get to know our local waters during a unique and quiet time on our island. Please come and enjoy the fall, our island, and some excellent companionship. 

Schedule: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9 am - 12 pm, $75 per course

*As a special bonus for those who register for all four programs, we will offer an exclusive additional field trip to explore San Carlos Bay from a perspective that most of us have never fully experienced. 

October 5th and October 6th, 2016: The Canals

October 12th and October 13th, 2016: Mangrove Islands of San Carlos Bay

October 19th and October 20th, 2016: Blind Pass

October 26th and October 27th, 2016: Sea Grass Flats of San Carlos Bay


Fishing From a Biological Perspective

This 4-week course will sharpen your fishing knowledge and skills regardless of your experience level. In many ways, the secret to fishing is knowing where the fish are. To predict this, the saltwater fisherman must have knowledge of the ocean, fish biology and weather – along with a bit of luck. We'll learn about the most common fish species encountered in SWFL, how to read the water, how tides work, and how they affect fishing. Outside the classroom, we will introduce saltwater fly-fishing, and teach casting, fly-tying, knots and techniques. On the last meeting, we will arrange a fishing outing to apply all of our new-found knowledge.

2017 details coming soon!


 Evening Lecture Series: Understanding the Ocean Around Us

2017 details coming soon!


Saturday Beach Walks

Join Doc Bruce or one of our marine science educators to learn more about what has washed ashore. This free program is the perfect weekend opportunity to learn about some of the common organisms we find on our beaches, and the changes that occur throughout the season. Meet at Sanibel Sea School's Flagship Campus, located at 455 Periwinkle Way. 

2017 details coming soon!

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Families and Groups


Activities for families, friends, school groups, and more!

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Families and Groups


Activities for families, friends, school groups, and more!

We offer customizable ocean experiences for families, school groups, homeschool groups, corporate groups and more. To learn more and arrange a session, contact us at 239-472-8585 or info@sanibelseaschool.org.


Families

Land-based Private Programs

Land-based private programs at Sanibel Sea School can be fully customized to suit your group’s ages, interests, and desired level of activity. One of our marine science educators will lead you into Sanibel’s unique ecosystems for a field-based ocean experience. Choose from topics like dolphins, seagrass, mangroves, wading birds, and more! Where else can you learn to cast a net, hold a tiny seahorse, or come face to face with the amazing creatures that inhabit our sandbars – sometimes all in one day! All ages are welcome, children under 4 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Land-based private programs are 2 hours long and cost $55 per person (2 person minimum). 

Boat-based Private Programs

Boat-based private programs with Sanibel Sea School's Executive Director, marine biologist Dr. Bruce Neill, provide an opportunity for your family or group to explore pristine areas of Sanibel's surrounding waters that are not accessible by land. 

This trip can be fully customized to suit your group members' ages and interests. In addition to an overview of barrier island ecology, topics may include mangrove forests, sandbars, estuaries, and more. We frequently encounter dolphins, manatees, live shells, and many bird species, and Doc Bruce will share his vast knowledge of our area and the creatures that inhabit it along the way. 

We suggest that you book this type of program 1 or more months in advance to allow sufficient time for planning. 

Boat-based private programs are 3 hours long and cost $350. Our boat can accommodate 14 guests.

Birdwatching

Each Thursday morning, we offer a walking tour to discover the birds of Sanibel Island's East End. During the walk we discuss basic bird biology and behaviors, as well as learn how to identify the birds we encounter. 

Please Note: Bird Walks are a family-oriented program. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or adult over the age of 18.

Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Fees: $15 per person,  binocular rentals $5, click here to register online

Shell Walk

Sanibel is a shelling paradise, with hundreds of species waiting to be discovered. Join us for a beach walk to learn basic bivalve and gastropod biology, find out why so many shells wash up on our beaches, and where to look for a few of the most coveted shells. We can't guarantee you'll find a junonia, but we promise you won't leave empty-handed! 

Please Note: Shell Walks are a family-oriented program. Participants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or adult over the age of 18.

Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Fees: $20 per person, click here to register online

Other Groups

Let us help you plan the perfect ocean experience for your school group, homeschool group, corporate event, or anything else you have in mind. Call (239) 472-8585 to schedule your session today. 

School Groups

With lunch: $50 per pupil
No lunch: $40 per pupil

Homeschool at Sea

We are happy to provide science-based education for homeschool families and co-ops. Please give us a call to begin the process of arranging the curriculum, dates and prices.

A homeschool package consists of five or more 2.5 hour courses tailored specifically to your students. There is a curriculum development fee of $75, and the program cost is $75 per course for 10 students or less, or $150 per course for 10-20 students. 

Other Groups

Please call us to learn more about program options and pricing.

Refunds

Please click here to view our Cancellation Policy. 

Waivers

To complete your registration, please download, fill in and submit the forms as instructed therein.

Course Descriptions

Click here to download a PDF of our course descriptions. 

Scholarship Programs

We have a commitment to those who otherwise wouldn't experience the ocean. Currently, Sanibel Sea School has partnerships with the Gladiolus Learning and Development Center, the Pace Center for Girls, and Pine Manor Improvement Association to offer unique outdoor learning experiences to local underprivileged children. Once a month or more, we meet with kids from these organizations to help them build confidence and gain an appreciation for science while exploring Sanibel’s diverse barrier island habitats with us.

Sanibel Sea School also offers tuition assistance to many island families throughout the year, whose children would otherwise be unable to attend summer camps and other programs. If you are concerned that your child may not be able to participate in one of our programs due to cost, please contact us for more information.