Sanibel Sea School Programs and Camps

By: Gillian Birch

Those interested in knowing more about shorebirds, marine life, shelling, and the ocean will be thrilled by the superb programs and activities offered at Sanibel Sea School. There are half and full-day programs for children and teens age 6-13, field trips for families and groups, paddling excursions, week long summer and winter camps, and classes for adults.Sanibel Sea School on Sanibel Island, Florida offers marine-based hands-on activities for all ages. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

All these courses have a similar purpose–to provide an in-depth learning experience about the local marine life and larger ocean. At the end of each program, students receive a Certificate of Mastery to accompany their amazing day of discovery.

Sanibel Sea School half and full-day, weekly summer and holiday camps, sea-based activities for children, teens, adults, and families on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, near Fort Myers, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School Hands-On Children’s Activities

Enrolling your child (age between 6 and 13) on one of these fun-filled educational courses will be a highlight of their stay. The student to teacher ratio does not exceed 10:1 and staff are professional educators assisted by interns and volunteers. Starting at an early age, children will never forget what they learn in these hands-on sessions. Who knows, it may be the start of a lifelong passion for marine life or even a career in marine biology.

Sanibel Sea School half and full-day, weekly summer and holiday camps, sea-based activities for children, teens, adults, and families on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, near Fort Myers, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School half and full-day, weekly summer and holiday camps, sea-based activities for children, teens, adults, and families on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, near Fort Myers, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

Sand dollars found at Sanibel Sea School Sanibel, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

There’s no time to be bored as the classes move from the classroom out onto the beach and into the water for practical discovery. In no time, children will be flipping rocks, netting tiny seahorses, identifying shells (and their inhabitants) or wading through the tangle of mangrove roots. There will be a break for lunch (bring your own brown bag or purchase a deli lunch) before the afternoon session for those who enroll on a full day of marine adventure.

Sanibel Sea School half and full-day, weekly summer and holiday camps, sea-based activities for children, teens, adults, and families on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, near Fort Myers, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

Younger children (age 4-6) can join the Sea Squirts with a host of exciting classes and experiences geared to their young minds. Field trips will introduce them to some of their favorite sea creatures including dolphins and turtles. These programs are offered seasonally, during peak spring break times.

What to Wear for Sanibel Sea School

These classes are all about getting hands-on with the ocean, so wear a swimsuit under shorts and tops. Students will also need wading shoes that strap firmly onto the foot (not slip-ons, crocs, or flip-flops) for safety. Buried stingrays and spiky sea urchins and jellyfish are all part of life on the beach, so best dress accordingly.

Bring waterproof SPF sunblock (lotion or cream not a spray to avoid getting it on equipment or harming the environment), a hat, towel, and bug repellent are essential. A lightweight jacket or rash guard can protect from cool winds or too much sun and a bag for shells and treasures is a good idea. Bring a reusable water bottle (or you can borrow one) as single-use disposable plastic water bottles are not allowed on their campuses. Lesson one at Sanibel Sea School is never to purchase single-use water bottles, often end up in the ocean to be consumed by wildlife, or leach chemicals into the environment as they decompose.

Sanibel Sea School half and full-day, weekly summer and holiday camps, sea-based activities for children, teens, adults, and families on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, near Fort Myers, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Ocean Experiences for Adults

If you’ve ever wished you could go back to school and have fun learning again, Sanibel Sea School has classroom and field-based sessions for grown-ups too. Enjoy all the fun that youngsters have with a boat trip, casting a net and seeing what really lies beneath the waves.

Sea-based Adult learning opportunities, programs, seminars, and naturalist-led beach walks at Sanibel Sea School on Sanibel Island, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

In winter, adults can sign up for a variety of programs and workshops, which may include classroom sessions, lectures, and outdoor sessions. Past topics have included birds, river ecology, tides, mangroves, and more. Instructors include avid birders and professional naturalists with master’s degrees in environmental studies and wildlife conservation. Who better to teach you how to identify species, their cries, eating habits, and migratory patterns?

Sea-based Adult learning opportunities, programs, seminars, and naturalist-led beach walks at Sanibel Sea School on Sanibel Island, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Sanibel Sea School

Free Beach Walks and Seminars at Sanibel Sea School

As a taster, why not check out the free community seminars offered on specific dates by Sanibel Sea School or join one of the free guided beach walks. Whether you have a lifelong interest in wildlife or are taking it up as a new hobby, Sanibel Sea School is a great place to start.

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Written by: Gillian Birch | Author Website

Gillian Birch is a freelance travel writer and, whenever possible between trips, she enjoys life in Florida. As the wife of a Master Mariner, she has traveled extensively and lived in some exotic locations all over the world, including the Far East and the Republic of Panama. Describing herself as having "endless itchy feet and an insatiable wanderlust", she continues to explore Florida and further afield, writing about her experiences with wonderful clarity and attention to detail. With a diploma in Journalism from the BCJ, she has published several travel books and ebooks, all available on Amazon under her name. Formerly the Florida Editor for BellaOnline from 2011-13, Gillian is an active member of the International Travel Writers' Alliance and the Gulf Coast Writers' Association, and an enthusiastic guest blogger for Must Do Visitor Guides. Learn more about her writing as YourTravelGirl at: www.gillianbirch.com and follow her blog around the world at https://gillianbirch.wordpress.com/

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