FOR THE LITTLE ONES (AGES 4-6)
June 17-21, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
Pirates of the Sky Week
Argggg wee mayteys! All aboard the Frigate pirate ship for this week of adventure and swashbuckling fun. This isn’t just any pirate week, this is frigate bird week here at Sea School and we’ll be discovering the pirates of the sky! Frigatebirds are named after warships because they are always waging war on other birds for food. Since they don’t like to get wet, they use their pirate skills to steal their food from other birds. This week we’ll do lots of pretending with our pirate hats and treasure hunts and keep our eyes to the sky for frigates! Join us for pirate predator games, crafts and plenty of time on the beach searching for these stealthy predators.
July 15-19, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM*, ages 4-6
Hermit Crab Shell-a-bration Week
Do you wear your house on your back? Is it big, is it small, does it spiral to the sky? Hermit crabs have shells of all shapes, sizes, and colors to help protect their itty-bitty bodies. This week, we’re going to comb through the seagrass beds and search the Gulf shores to find as many hermit crabs as we can. You better believe that we’ll do hermit crab races with the critters themselves and races of our own! We’ll craft our own shells to put on our backs and we’re going to crawl across the beach like those crazy crustaceans. Have you ever seen a surfing hermit crab? Well you just might 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 these weeks.
SANIBEL SKILLS CAMP (AGES 6-13)
June 3-7, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Jolt Up the Night Week
Twinkle, twinkle, little stargazer. The stargazer fish spends its days buried under the sand with nothing but its eyes poking out of the sand, making it look like it’s gazing at the night sky. That’s not the only neat thing about the eyes of this fish – they also have 50 volts of electricity sitting right behind those sweet ogling eyes, ready to send a zap to their prey when it passes by. This week is all about electrical energy, so we’ll get science-y with voltage and circuits and learn how creatures in the sea have harnessed the ability to use electricity. Come see watts up with us this week!
June 10-14, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Moon Snail Mystery Week
It’s CSI time folks and we’ve got a snaily mystery to solve. There are hundreds of shells on the beach that have teeny holes in them – holes that have been drilled from a hungry snail! We have a hunch that our criminal might be the malevolent moon snail who uses their rasping radula to drill away at the shells of other mollusks then envelop them to consume their tasty meal. We’re going to put on our CSI caps and investigate the beach for evidence of snail predation and see which shells were breakfast for the moon snail predators out there. We’ll do experiments to see how moon snails can get through layers of calcium carbonate and even try to catch one in feasting action! All of this investigating will of course call for lots of midday surfing breaks and fun on the beach. Come help us solve the mystery!
June 24-28, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Mega Megalodon Week
Are you ready to take a journey millions of years back in time? Back to a time when Megalodon roamed the seas with their massive teeth and crushing bite. Big Tooth, as they are nicknamed, had a bite so powerful it could crush a small car – not so bad for a shark with 7-inch teeth! This week we will explore the big bite of Big Tooth and imagine what life was like in the prehistoric ocean. We’ll play some extinction games and see how other ancient ocean-dwellers stack up against each other. Ever wonder how big Megalodon was – we’re going to be sure to put Big Tooth to scale this week.
July 1-5*, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Gulping Giants Week
Glug, Glug, Glug, Spish, Spish, Spish – those are the sounds we imagine as massive baleen whales filter feed their food. Gulping voluminous amounts of water then pushing it out of their mouth through their thick baleen plates that act as a filter. They do this for hours upon hours to feed on krill to give their school bus-sized bodies enough energy to swim. Filtration is the name of the game this week and we’re going to figure out all the ways to have fun doing it – from seining to making our own life-sized baleen plates, we’ll mimic filter-feeding like these gentle giants do. Have you ever seen a baleen whale on Sanibel? We hear there might be one glugging along down Periwinkle in the Sanibel Independence Day parade…
(*No camp on 7/4 - there will be an option to participate in the Sanibel Independence Day parade)
July 8-12, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Gallop for Scallops Week
Ever pick up a shell and feel like it’s looking right back at you? Well, if you pick up a scallop it just might be peering at you with its beady blue eyes. That’s right, scallops have not one, not two, but sometimes up to 100 teeny eyes that line the opening to their soft body. The super cool thing about their eyes is that they use mirrors to help focus light, so we’re going to get creative with mirrors, light, and vision this week. We’ll build telescopes, get a super close look at scallop eyes under the microscope and even dissect a scallop specimen! And, because scallops are one of the few bivalves that swim, you better believe we’re going to be swimmin’ in the sea all week long.
July 22-26, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Calusa - Ocean Tribe Week
The Mighty Calusa Tribe – an Ocean Tribe. Unlike many tribes that we know in North America, the Calusa were unique in that they built tools out of shells, houses atop giant mounds, and foraged the seas for food. Instead of living off the land, they lived off the sea. And you know what? That’s what our mighty Sea Schoolers do too! We’re going to live off the sea this week (just like every week of summer camp) but we’ll do it Calusa-style and go totally primitive this week. We will eat off of plates that we weave ourselves, build shelters on the beach, and fish with only our hands and nets. You’re not going to want to miss this classic Sanibel Sea School camp – come join our Ocean Tribe.
July 29 - August 2, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Remora remora Suckerfish Week
Remora remora – double the name, double the fish! This super suckerfish is not often found alone but rather buddied up with their best shark friends. Chasing crumbs and chasing parasites, this fish-shark duo is a perfect example of mutualism. Mutu-what, you say? Well, it’s a type of animal relationship that we’ll learn all about this week while making new relationships of our own! With our new friends, we’ll have obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and seining – all things that are done better in pairs. We’re going to hop on our surfboards just like the remoras hop on their sharks and have a fishy good time.
August 5-9, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Harpooning Cone Snail Week
A, B, C – O – N – E, wait, that’s not how it goes?! It’s Alphabet Cone week and we’re going to shell-e-brate these alphabet-enveloped snails. Despite their delicately decorated exteriors, these gastropods pack a punch – a venomous harpoon punch that is….Bam! At a moment’s notice they are ready to harpoon, stun, and engulf their prey for a well-deserved meal. So, this week we’ve just gotta throw some harpoons (safe ones, of course!), make some fun crafts with spring-loaded action, and snorkel the Gulf waters for their unique shells. There will be snails, surfing, and sea this week and we’re not sure it gets any better than that!
August 12-16, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Not just a Bully, Bull Shark Week
What’s big and robust and has a mouthful of teeth? What can withstand saltwater, freshwater, and everything in between? Not any shark can do this you see, but the boundless bull shark can do it all! These sharks, often known to be aggressive, have much more to them than a boisterous personality – they have the ability to tolerate salinity gradients, which gives them a super broad habitat. This week we’re going to observe osmoregulation, salt balance, and the adaptations these sharks have to live in both fresh and saltwater. We’re going to do experiments with osmosis. We will bring our refractometers wherever we go and measure salinity levels. And because sharks have great teeth we’ll head on over to a great place to find some fossilized shark teeth! Be sure to bring your water bottle this week because we’re going to have some good salty fun!
August 19-23, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Soft Shell, Tough Turtle - Leatherback Sea Turtle Week
What is the largest reptile in the ocean that is always stylin’ in her leather jacket? The leatherback sea turtle of course! The leatherback sea turtle has a soft, leathery shell that unlike their hard-shelled counterparts, allows them to be agile divers in the deep. This week we’ll learn about this tough turtle and learn how they feed, what they eat, and discuss how leatherback sea turtles are amazing feats of nature with all of the obstacles they endure in their life. We’re going to play nesting games, make life-sized sea turtle sculptures, and run through crazy obstacle courses on the beach. Let’s have a tubular turtle time this week!
CAMPS FOR TEENS
Counselor in Training (CIT) Program (ages 13-18)
Offered weekly. CITs arrive one hour prior to the start of camp and leave one hour after the camp day ends. CITs arrive at 7:30 AM on Mondays.
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 10-14, 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 17-21, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (overnight camping trip on Thursday)
Wahine Toa (female campers 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 1-3, overnight camp
Splorin’ the Ocean with Doc Bruce (ages 11-15)
$500/ week, limited to 6 participants
We’re going to explore our marine haunts with Doc Bruce. No real agenda, or a rigid plan – find new places, discover new things about places we’ve been. We will pack up the Ripple Effect for three days and two nights of ocean exploration, sleeping under the stars. We’ll hone our skills of survival, we’ll find new ways to see old places. Envision time, ala Huck Finn floating along our estuary, catching fish, learning new things, and creating memories. We’re going to follow the thread of learning opportunities nature presents as we spend our days and nights at sea.
July 8-13 (ages 11-12) AND July 15-19 (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 once again separating our Keys Coral Reef Week program into two age groups this year, and be sure to register for the appropriate session!
July 22-26, SUP-based overnight expedition
What's SUP in the Keys? (ages 13-18)
$400/ week (we must have at least 8 sign ups to run this program)
Get ready to see the Florida Keys from a new perspective - atop standup paddleboards! This week we'll set up base camp at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and go on daily excursions to explore the marine environments of the FL Keys. We'll load the SUP trailer and venture down to Long Key, and Bahia Honda State Parks to paddle in some of the most beautiful places in Florida. By day we'll paddle over corals and seagrass beds, and by night we'll cook for ourselves, and have campfires under the stars. From our boards, we will easily don our masks and explore that crystal clear water. This trip will challenge our paddle skills, perfect our camping skills, and create memories that will last forever!
July 29 - August 2, kayak-based overnight expedition
Cayo Costa Kayak Coddiwomple (ages 13-18)
$400/ week (we must have at least 8 sign ups to run this program)
Join Sanibel Sea School for an unforgettable 5-day adventure. You’ll start on Sanibel Island, exploring the mangrove-lined canals by kayak, meeting new friends, and planning for your cabin-based camping trip to Florida’s Cayo Costa State Park. Tuesday starts bright and early with a seven-mile expedition to Cayo Costa, launching from Pine Island. You’ll spend the rest of the week paddling along the shoreline, snorkeling in the sea, hiking through the upland forest, water coloring, playing music and cards around a campfire, cooking group meals, basking in the Florida sun, and who knows what else? Surprise is the key ingredient in any adventure.
July 29 - August 7, 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 3 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!
Choose Your Own Adventure – by Gheenoe! We are offering three separate Gheenoe trips - please see details and dates below.
$400/ week, M-F overnight (ages 13-18, limited to 8 participants each week)
From wetlands and hammocks to mangrove forests and estuaries, Florida has vast swaths of wilderness just made for exploration. And because we’re Sanibel Sea School, of course we’re going to explore these wild places by water – this time not by SUP or kayak, but by motorized Gheenoe! Get ready to be totally immersed in the wild waterways of Florida with nothing but our essential supplies and our Gheenoes powered by outboard motors. We’re going to learn to drive and since we’ll be on boats all week we’re going to dive into seamanship and what it takes to captain a vessel. There’s nothing more Florida than this camp, so whether you’re a native or from out of town, this is one you won’t want to miss. What adventure are you taking this summer?
San Carlos Bay
San Carlos Bay is filled with seagrass meadows, mangrove islands, and is the heart of our estuary here on Sanibel. In a more open water environment, campers will focus on estuaries from a biological perspective and spend time learning about the creatures that live between the blades of seagrass, as well as try their hand at cast netting. San Carlos Bay is the perfect environment for chart plotting and honing our navigation skills, as well as zipping around in a 4-horsepower Gheenoe. We’ll camp on Picnic Island, build shelters and fires, and have so many salty tales to tell after this week!
Koreshan State Park
Tucked along the Estero River, Koreshan is a hidden gem in Southwest Florida. Now a state park, Koreshan was actually a settlement for a religious sect in the 1800s but is still home to a big piece of wild Florida. Picturesque live oak trees draped in Spanish moss transport us to a seemingly different place than Fort Myers or Sanibel, and the park offers a perfect setting to traverse via Gheenoe. We’ll spend our days exploring the river atop our Gheenoes and then set up primitive campsites in the evening. There’s plenty of hiking, geocaching, and fishing to do and lots to explore about the park history. This week is sure to offer a unique experience and we bet that you will learn something new!
Myakka State Park
Filled with seasonal sloughs, hammocks, and prairies, Myakka State Park is a true Florida wildland with a diversity of plant and animal communities. This week campers will Gheenoe through the Myakka River Watershed to discover the abundance of life in this unique ecosystem. We’ll spend our nights camping along the river and our days motoring to new terrestrial environments that we can explore. We’re going to zip out to the Deep Hole to see wading birds and alligators and then we’ll hike across the 85-foot long canopy walk to get the best view of Myakka. Bring your hiking shoes for this one, grab some binoculars, and get ready for the magical sights of the Myakka!
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 9th, 2019, please try again on February 16th, 2019 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.