FOR THE LITTLE ONES (AGES 4-6)
June 18-22, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
Pea-Sized Pufferfish Week
This week we’re going to focus on the teeny pea-sized puffers that pack quite a punch. Pufferfish may start out small, but they can get up to three times bigger when predators are near! Our little ones are going to make a big splash this week – we’ll puff ourselves up with lifejackets and float in the Gulf and blow bubbles three times our size. And of course we’ll tug our seine nets through the seagrass and try to catch a pea-sized puffer for our tank. Come puff up with us!
July 16-20, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
It’s a big world out there for a tiny hatchling. Emerging into the world from a tiny safe space is a big deal for a little creature. This week we’re going to celebrate the animals that begin life in an egg – shorebirds, sea turtles, baby gators. There will be nest digging relays, egg hunts, and a whole lot of itty-bitty cuteness! We’ll pull our nets through the water and try to catch some fish eggs and have egg-rolling races. It’s going to be an egg-cellent week for the little ones – join us for some fun in the sun!
*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 these weeks.
SANIBEL SKILLS CAMP (AGES 6-13)
June 4-8, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Stop, hammerhead time! Hammerhead sharks seem to have superpowers – they can sense electric pulses and have a 360-degree view of the world. This week, we’re going to try to create our own 360-degree view of camp. We’ll all make hammer headpieces and learn why these sharks have such crazy shaped heads. We’ll hop in our canoes and try to spot some little bonnethead sharks, a close relative of the hammerhead. Hammerheads can be found in massive schools during migration, so we’re going to form a massive Sea School migration on surfboards in the Gulf! It’s going to be a shark-y good time!
June 11-15, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Nudibranchs - Slowing Down for Sea Slugs Week
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – is it a rainbow under the sea? Close – it’s a nudibranch! Expressing brilliant colors and striking patterns, these sea slugs are vibrant but often no bigger than your pinky finger. Have you ever heard that you are what you eat? Well these sneaky slugs truly live up to that meaning because they can absorb their colors and toxins from their food! Let’s get colorful this week and paint our faces. We’re going to go flip rocks and examine algae around where the nudibranchs live. We’ll make tie-dye rhinophores to wear on our heads and create egg case art. You’re sure to absorb some fun this week!
June 25-29, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Fishin' With Osprey Week
Ospreys are true fisher-birds. How much fish do they eat, you ask? Well, about 99% of their diet is made up of fish that they catch with nothing else but their keen sight and razor-sharp talons. We’re going to be fisherfolk this week and catch all that we can! We’ll seine in the Gulf and the bay, and we’ll try our hand at some sight fishing with our cast nets. We’ll even calculate our success rate and see how we stack up to an Osprey. We are going to get a feel for how these birds of prey live near the ocean and build a life-sized Osprey nest. Trust me, you’re going to want to see this nest.
July 2-6*, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Super Submarine Snail Week
Ever see those long, tunneling trails on the sand bar and wonder what creature made them? It turns out that they are submarines! That’s right, snail submarines! Lettered Olives are torpedo shaped snails that spend their days burrowed under the sand with nothing but their siphon poking up. We’re going to get “sub-marine” and spend our days snorkeling the sandbars for these little subs and burrowing in the wet sand. We’ll live in the subtidal zone this week and build our very own submarines. Will yours float? Will it sink? You won’t want to miss the Great Submarine Send Off!
(*No camp on 7/4 - there will be an option to participate in the Sanibel Independence Day parade)
July 9-13, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Rock and Rollin' Tarpon Week
The tarpon sure is a charismatic fish. This large-eyed, silver-scaled beast is known as the “Silver King”. This week we’ll celebrate this scaly royalty by making an 8-foot tarpon and some tarpon scale tie-dye. We’re gonna rock and roll on surfboards like these fighting fish do. How long can you stand on a surfboard with a tarpon tugging your line? And, what in the world are they eating with that crazy upturned mouth? We’ll find out. Tarpon can see well at night with those big eyes, so this is the perfect time for us to try out our night vision with a night snorkel!
July 23-27, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Calusa - Ocean Warriors Week
Fierce, strong ocean warriors – these are the Calusa. At Sanibel Sea School, we love to celebrate these mighty seafarers. This week we’ll pay homage to the Sanibel Calusa and retrace their footsteps. We’re going to canoe San Carlos Bay and catch fish with nothing but our hands and our nets. We’ll create tools using nothing but our imagination and the things we find in nature. We will trade shells and coconuts and go native in the totem game. We are going to live and breathe the ocean this week and tell tales of young Calusans. Who’s ready to be a young Calusa warrior?
July 30 - August 3, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Chomping Crocs and Gators Week
What’s cold-blooded, has sharp teeth, and makes a guttural growl that resonates through the swamp? A dinosaur, you say? Close! Crocs and gators! This week we’re chomping at the bit to channel our inner reptile! There will be webbed hand races through the Gulf, and we’ll practice regulating our body temperature in the sunshine like gators do. We’ll search high and low for the gators on Sanibel and see what we can sink our teeth into! Join us for a chompin’ good time.
August 6-10, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Kingdom of the King's Crown Conchs Week
This snail takes the conch crown on the mud flats. King’s Crown Conchs spend their days making snail trails in the wet, mucky sand and that’s just what we are going to do. We’ll follow their snail trails and try to find one chowing down. Are these kings with the good guys or the bad guys? Some say they are good for our environment and some say bad, because they can decimate entire oyster beds in no time at all – Nom Nom Nom! We’re going to make a sea of crowns and create some spiral art. We’re going to turn Sanibel Sea School into a kingdom of conchs this week – are you ready for the throne?
August 13-17, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Play That Fiddler Crab Week
Play that fiddle, crab, play that fiddle! Fiddler crabs wave their big claw up and down and all around, which looks like they are playing the strings of a fiddle! Let’s make this week about music and celebrate these crustacean creatures – we’ll make our own instruments and have drum circles to get the beat going. And when you have music you’ve also got to have dance, so we’ll choreograph our own claw-waving dance! But do you know the best thing about fiddler crabs? They live in the muddy, wet sand and build extensive tunnels underground. You better believe we’re going to get muddy and go fiddler crab catchin’!
August 20-24, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sea Cucumber Week
What has 5 rows of feet, tentacles in its mouth, and warty skin? A creature from Mars, you might say? Nope, just your average holothurian! Holo-what?? Holothurians are sea cucumbers that are so much more than average. This week we’re going to learn all about the complex chemical cues they use to communicate and their crazy defenses against predators! These gut-spewing, toxin-secreting creatures are real-life ocean aliens. We are going to snorkel for cucumbers in the Gulf and crawl around like sea cucumbers do. How do they crawl? We’re going to show you like the cool cucumbers we are! It’s going to be a HOL lot of fun!
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 11-15, 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 18-22, 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 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 we’ll learn how to make the best shelter on the beach. We will also learn basic first aid and 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 will know themselves as Wahine Toa.
July 9-13, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (overnight camping trip on Thursday)
Florida Wilderness Camp (ages 15-18)
The wilderness is wild for a reason, and the Florida wilderness can put even the true outdoorsy-folk to the test. Harsh temperatures, rough seas, and biting insects are far from the beach paradise in our minds. This week, we’re heading into the Florida wilderness to put our skills to the test on paddleboards! What better way to practice leadership, time management, and situational awareness than by challenging ourselves with a survival expedition? This week we’ll blend technical outdoor certifications with experiential learning. Students will spend three days earning an ACA Level 1 Paddleboarding Skills Certification and a Wilderness First Aid Certification, both excellent personal development opportunities and resume builders, then they will put what they’ve learned to use in an overnight camping and paddling experience packed with real-life wilderness medicine scenarios. On their final day, they will be awarded their certifications and their due congratulations.
Upon completion of the SUP Skills Course, campers will receive an ACA membership. Benefits of this membership are listed here: http://www.americancanoe.org/?page=Individual_Benefits.
They will also receive Wilderness First Aid certification through the Florida Outdoor Academy. More details are avilable here: https://www.floridaoutdooracademy.com/wilderness-first-aid
July 9-14 (ages 11-12) AND July 16-20 (ages 13-15), overnight camping expedition
Keys Coral Reef Week
$575/week, including surcharge for camping trip
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 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 Campground, 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 23-27, canoe-based overnight expedition
Canoeing the Caloosahatchee (ages 13-18)
$400/ 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 canoeing adventure – we’ll pack only what we can fit in our canoe, learn how to navigate the water, and gain essential 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 30 - August 8, overnight expedition to Belize
Belize Coral Reef Expedition (ages 15-18)
$2700, all-inclusive with air travel
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. Our journey will begin in the Belizean rainforest, where we’ll stay at Blue Creek Field Station. We will hike through the jungle and who knows? Maybe we’ll spot a toucan or a monkey! After a few days at Blue Creek, we’ll travel by boat to the IZE Field Station on South Water Caye 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 10th, 2018, please try again on February 17th, 2018 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 email@example.com. We are open Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.