FOR THE LITTLE ONES (AGES 4-6)
June 19-23, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
Twinkle Twinkle Sea Star Week
Sea stars are very interesting. Like a star you draw on paper, they have five legs and five teeth! How funny is that? We’re going to burrow like sea stars with five arms and make art with five points. We’re going to play sea star tag carrying our extra arms so we can drop one like a sea star if we get tagged! We’re going to play with suction cups like the suction cups on sea star arms. Come and join us for five days of five-armed fabulous fun.
July 10-14, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
Tiny Mighty Plankton
Alone we are a speck. Together, we are ta-da! Mighty Plankton - the base of the whole marine food chain that makes up half the oxygen on the planet! We want to put on life jackets and float together like plankton in the waves. Where will we go? We don’t know - down the beach somewhere! We’ll catch real plankton in a plankton tow and look at it under a microscope. Plankton is crazy looking up close!! We’ll draw our own crazy plankton. And make plankton catchers. Plankton comes from a word that means wanderer or drifter. We’re going to go with the flow this week!
*Please note that our camp days are shorter during weeks designed for 4-6 year olds. Our CIT programs will run from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM during Twinkle Twinkle Sea Star and Tiny Mighty Plankton weeks.
SANIBEL SKILLS CAMP (AGES 6-13)
May 29-June 2, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
What’s a slow moving, algae-wearing animal? Did you say a sloth? Not this week. We’re talking about the slo-mo, algae-sporting, spider crab! We’re going to see if we can catch spider crabs in our traps and seines for our aquaria this week and learn about this crustacean. We’ll have slow races on crab legs to protect crab eggs! ‘Cause spider crabs are slow but aggro about those eggs. How about some algae make-up for a game face? We’re going green and seaweedy with crabo camo. Go Spider, go!
June 5-9, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Massive Manatee Week
These big round mammals have to eat a lot of plants to keep up their big manatee bodies. We’re going to look into how manatees get fresh water and tons of food in their marine environment. We’re going to go out in canoes and look for these gentle giants in our waters. We’re going to learn about why they’re often close enough to shore that motorboats have to be careful. We’re going to learn how scientists can tell a manatee's age, and the easiest way to count manatees! We’ll snorkel and see what they’re finding down there in the shallows. Come bob with us!
June 12-16, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Stuck On You, Barnacle Week
Ever looked closely at a barnacle in the water? A shell on the outside with feathery legs reaching out - “feed me! feed me! feed me!” We’re going to sink bottles before the week so we can grow our own barnacles. We’ll find out what makes barnacle glue and other glues super strong. We’re going to “glue” ourselves to surfboards and try to get where we need to go and stick ourselves to permanent spots and try to catch our “food”. We’ll explore the good part of being stuck to a boat - Oh the Places You Will Go - and the bad part of being stuck to a boat - I Gotta Get Out of This Dump.
June 26-30, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Shark of a Whale Week
Looks like a giant shark. Eats like a sweet whale. Must be a whale shark - the largest fish in the ocean that eats the smallest food! It’s the size of a school bus - let’s make a puzzle the size and shape of a real whale shark! Let’s pull a plankton tow behind the boat and look at the things whale sharks eat under a microscope. Let’s dissect a shark from these waters and learn more about sharks in general. Why are whale sharks so big if they eat such little food? We’ll play blob tag and hone in on that answer. It’ll either be a whale or a shark of a good time.
July 3-7*, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The Mighty Calusa Week
This week is ALWAYS a favorite at Sanibel Sea School! Why? We love to go native! We love to be in tribes and paint our faces and make shell tools. We love to build shelters and play the totem game through tribal lands. We love to barter and learn how native Calusa people lived on these islands until the 1700s. We’ll canoe up mangrove creeks and see how they gathered food and we’ll see the middens they left behind that are still here today.
(*No camp on 7/4 - there will be an option to participate in the Sanibel Independence Day parade)
July 17-21, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Suck it Up, Pipefish Week
Pipefish! These cool little fish can’t chew. They have to slurp up food. Just think of the fun we’re going to have with that idea and some straws! Pipefish are tough little fish that can take a lot of changes in water temperature and salt. We’re going to see if we can catch some in nets and make a seagrass aquarium for them to hide in, because they’re very good at hiding in plain sight! We’re going to see if we can swim like pipefish with our legs hooked together like one long pipefish. We’re going to pipe up a scavenger hunt. Get ready to suck up some pipefish knowledge.
July 24-28, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Top Speed Mako Week
Mako sharks are among the fastest fish in the ocean. Top speed, top predator, and top of the human overfishing list. Let’s learn about these big strong fish. We’re going to go as fast and strong this week as Makos. We’ll learn how to identify sharks’ teeth and get shark teeth henna tattoos. We’ll make a giant paper maché Mako. We’ll dissect a local shark. Join us at the top of the food chain for a fast and fun week.
July 31-August 4, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Peops for Peeps Week
Small shore birds are called Peeps. And they look pretty darn cute on their tiny legs running back and forth as the waves come in. What are they eating? We’re going to look at all the coquinas, crabs and worms they eat. We’re going to learn to tell them apart and play bird bingo. We’re going explore how a bird’s beak tells you a lot about the way they eat. And we’re going to visit Ding Darling and learn to use binoculars to see what birds are there. Bet you didn’t know that Doc Bruce has been an avid birder since he was a kid. Come see why.
August 7-11, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Going Coco-nuts! Week
Nothing says “island kid” more than being able to crack a coconut open and drink the milk. We’re going to see how this amazing plant has traveled all around the world by studying currents with floating coconuts. (In the past, some of our coconuts made it around the southern tip of Florida to the other side!) We’ll weave coconut frond plates and make shelter like Pacific islanders. We’ll plant coconuts, make art, and learn about places where huge hermit crabs use coconuts for shells. We’ll play capture the coconut and mail coconuts back home to friends or family - just by putting labels on them. (Yep, you can do that on Sanibel!) Who knew coconuts could be so cool?
CAMPS FOR TEENS
Counselor in Training (CIT) Program (ages 13-18)
Offered most weeks, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (CITs arrive at 7:30 AM on Monday)
This program is designed to teach our older campers the skills needed for leadership and their future employment. CITs are a vital link between our younger campers and the counselors in our programs. Through theory and practice, we teach our CITs how to be leaders and positive role models to those around them. We assign duties and create and maintain performance expectations for these young leaders. We treat them with gentleness, love and respect, but show them how to carry out the responsibilities they are now capable of and how to use their abilities to become excellent role models. All CITs will complete an online leadership training course prior to camp. On any given day, it is hard to tell who is having more fun, the campers or the CITs.
Participants ages 16-18 with prior CIT experience at Sanibel Sea School can apply to be a paid Sr. CIT. Click here for more information.
June 12-16, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (overnight camping trip on Thursday)
Have Paddleboard, Will Survive (ages 13-18)
How much of Sanibel have you explored? Ever cruised through the canals or traversed the sandbars at low tide? This week will be an adventure to the lesser-known places on Sanibel and we’re going to do it by paddleboard! We’ll leave no shell unturned and inspect every nook and cranny of the mangroves – we’re island explorers! We’ll learn basic paddle boarding skills, and survival skills that will be as useful in the city as on a desert island. Tire changing races, fire-starting contests and shelter-building competitions are all part of the plan. We will also learn basic first aid, and figure out how to find food and water in the wilderness. On Thursday night, we’ll paddle out to Picnic Island to put our new skills to the test – the conditions will be primitive, the bugs will be many, and the memories will be fantastic.
June 19-23, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (overnight camping trip on Thursday)
Wahine Toa (ages 13-18)
Wahine Toa is a Polynesian phrase that roughly translates to fierce ocean woman warrior. This week 12 teens will become ocean women warriors in our annual girls only camp. In this program, we’ll learn paddleboarding skills and survival skills and gain a strong sense of confidence - girl power! We’ll learn practical skills like how to change a tire and how to jumpstart a car; we’ll build fires from the ground up and learn how to make the best shelter on the beach. We learn basic first aid, and teach wilderness survival skills - everything you need to know, whether you’re in the city or stranded on an island with only a paddle in hand. We will finish off the week with an epic paddle out to a small, uninhabited island to spend the night under the stars and practice our new skills - the conditions are primitive, but the memories are fantastic. We then complete an epic, long paddle to a distant island - those that finish, know themselves as Wahine Toa.
July 10-15 (ages 11-12) AND July 17-21 (ages 13-15), overnight camping expedition
Keys Coral Reef Week
$550/week, including surcharge for camping trip
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful marine protected areas in the U.S. and we are lucky campers to be able to zip out to Looe Key and see sharks and eagle rays and Goliath Groupers and Midnight Parrot Fish, pillar corals, mountainous corals, and the list goes on! And “lucky campers” isn’t just a phrase. We camp in gender and age segregated 8-person tents at the Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge and we study the reef and the Florida Keys habitat. It’s a hot, glorious week of learning, snorkeling with good friends and soon to be good friends, campfires and tent competitions. Please note that we are separating our Keys Coral Reef Week program into two age groups this year, and be sure to register for the appropriate session!
July 24-28, canoe-based overnight expedition
Canoeing the Caloosahatchee (ages 13-18)
Prerequisite: Have Paddleboard, Will Survive Camp
$550/ week (we must have at least 8 sign ups to run this program)
The Calusa paddled our rivers and estuaries for thousands of years – it’s time for the Ocean Tribe to retrace their strokes and embark on a journey of our own. This week we’re going off the grid and canoeing from Central Florida all the way to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. We’ll only stop to eat, sleep, and observe the incredible wildlife along the way. It's going to be a hardcore canoe adventure – we’ll pack only what we can fit in our canoe, learn how to navigate the water, and gain essential canoe survival skills. Ever flipped a canoe? What if you’re by yourself? We will show you the skills and you’ll put them to the test. We need experienced paddlers that have the grit that it takes to survive in the wilderness. This will be an experience of a lifetime – the epic paddle across Florida!
July 29-August 5, overnight expedition to Belize
Belize Coral Reef Expedition (ages 15-18)
$2000, all-inclusive with air travel from Fort Myers, FL
Join Sanibel Sea School in Belize as we immerse ourselves in one of Earth’s most diverse and spectacular ecological systems: the coral reef. And not just any coral reef! We will be working in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the largest and most diverse conservation site in the Belizean reef system. For seven days we will set up residence at the IZE Field Station, with world-class reefs as our classroom, our laboratory, and our backyard. Students will get to know the names and behaviors of coral reef inhabitants and learn to interpret their discoveries as coral reef ecologists. Emphasis will be placed on developing the critical skills and fundamental frameworks of scientific inquiry, as students design and carry out their own research projects on local biota. This summer, dive headfirst into the breathtaking world of coral reef science. You will gain new insights, new skills, and new friends - cleaner shrimp included!
A few important tips regarding registration:
- If you are unable to reserve spots during the early registration period for past camp families on Saturday February 4th, 2017, please try again on February 11th, 2017 at 10:00 AM EST - additional spaces will open up at that time.
- All wait list requests will be collected via the Active Network registration system this year. If the week you would like to register for is full after the second week of registration, you will be given the option to join the wait list at no cost.
- You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of completing your camp registration. If you do not receive a confirmation email within this time period, please contact us.
- Camp inquiries can be made via phone at (239) 472-8585 or by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are open Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.