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US: St. Augustine, FL- Learn all About Dolphins on a Dolphin Paddle

Join Anastasia Watersports and Marineland Dolphin Adventure for a fun-filled interpretive Dolphin Paddle on Salt Run at Anastasia State Park.

Dolphin Paddle 2 D81_5143The park’s estuarine tidal marsh is teeming with plant and animal life . Learn about the biosphere and natural habitats, hop into a kayak, paddle onto Salt Run, and keep an eye for birds, turtles, manatees and especially dolphins.

Staff will provide illuminating details about the ecosystem and the myriad wildlife that inhabit it.  A dolphin expert from Marineland, will fill guests in on fascinating facts about the dolphins that are born, breed and thrive in this waterway.

The event will start with 30 minutes of classroom discussion followed by 90 minutes of paddling.  Come out and enjoy real, undiscovered Florida. Program fee: $40/person, includes boat rental. Park admission fees: ($8.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.  email, info@anastasiawatersports.com to make a reservation.dolphin-paddle-on-salt-run-3138-6078

This informative event is Family-Friendly.

Location: Anastasia State Park,  300 Anastasia Park Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Date: Sat, June 16, 2018
Time: 9am – 11am
Tel: 904-460-9111
floridastateparks.org/park-events/Anastasia
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: floridashistoriccoast.com

US: Richmond, VA – Mother’s Day Fun or Just Stop and Smell the Roses at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an oasis on a driving trip – 82 magnificent acres which started life as Powhatanhuntinggrounds and was at one time owned by patriot Patrick Henry.

In 1884, Lewis Ginter, who was orphaned at 17 and later became a millionaire from tobacco and real estate, developed a Wheel Club House here for Richmond bicyclists (now Bloemendaal House). His niece, Grace Arents, developed the gardens, and her original design is still here.

There are more kinds of gardens than we ever knew existed: four seasons, healing, Asian, rose, wetland, azalea and a community kitchen one where they grow food for the hungry. The children’s garden offers up a tree house and an activity center; there’s sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, digging and watering opportunities.  They love the Kids Quest treasure hunt. For walkers, there’s a “walk on the wild side” and a bird trail, and as if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a lush indoor conservatory with exotic plants from around the world.

Featured Events:

A Million Blooms

Until Thursday, June 1, 2017 A Million Bllooms - Flowers -3-28-2017 2-47-04 PM
A Million Blooms is included with Garden admission. A parade of blooms unfurls as the weather warms: daffodils, tulips, peonies, roses and  more.

Butterflies LIVE!

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Until  Sunday, October 15, 2017
Experience the wonderful world of butterflies! Butterflies LIVE! is an indoor exhibit in the Conservatory and is geared for all ages. Get up close and personal as hundreds of tropical butterflies feed, flutter and take flight all around you. Explore their origins, preferred habitats and life cycles.

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Mother’s Day Weekend
May 12, 13 & 14, 2017
Regular Garden admission
A three-day weekend with many opportunities to honor and spend time with mom. Enjoy the popular Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, shopping and dining:

  • The long weekend kicks off Friday, May 12 with National Public Gardens Day.
  • On Saturday, May 13, create the experience your mom would like. Stretch out on quilts in the Louise Cochrane Rose Garden and read favorite books. Explore woodland walks searching for fairies. Get down and dirty with digging activities. Help weave a Maypole, try the hula hoop and chase bubbles! (10 am – 4 pm)
  • Sunday, May 14 is the popular Mother’s Day concert with Glenroy Bailey & Co. (1 – 4pm). Food available for purchase in front of Bloemendaal House. Guests are also welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs but no outside food or beverage. Activities in the Children’s Garden include “make-and-takes” for mom (10am – 4pm)

Location: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond, VA 23228
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 804-262-9887
lewisginter.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitrichmondva.com

US: Folkston, GA – Canoe, Kayak, or Boat the Black Waters of the Okefenokee Swamp

Nature enthusiasts will relish the natural unspoiled and virtually unmarked by man Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that was established in 1937 to preserve the Okefenokee Swamp. The refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals, moss draped cypress trees and lily pads which provide sanctuaries for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.Kayakers on canal

Okefenokee has the great distinction of not only being a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but also the National Wilderness Preservation System. Swamp habitats comprise open wet “prairies,” cypress forests, scrub-shrub vegetation, upland islands, and open lakes. Wildlife species include wading birds, ducks, alligators and other reptiles, a variety of amphibians, bobcats, raptors, white-tailed deer, black bears, and songbirds.

To assist you on your exploration, Okefenokee Adventures offers a full range of tour options and is located inside the refuge on the historic Suwannee Canal.  Canoe, kayak, or boat the mirrored black waters of the Okefenokee Swamp: You can join a regularly scheduled 90 minute guided boat tours, or reserve a 2 hour sunset tour or arrange a half or full day private excursion with an expert, professional guide. Their staff includes well-known authorities on alligator biology, wetland ecology, and Okefenokee cultural history. gator on log

Experience canoe camping in the back-country wilderness of the Swamp interior, or head out on your own in a canoe or kayak. You can bike or drive the Swamp Island Drive, visit an authentic Swamp homestead or walk the nature trails and boardwalk and  get bird’s eye views of the swamp from atop the observation tower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Location: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Suwanee Canal Rd, Folkston, GA 31537 , Tel: 912-496-7836 or 877-860-6787

Location: Okefenokee Adventures, 4159 Suwannee Canal Rd., Folkston, GA 31537
Hours: Open: ½-hour before sunrise every day,
Closed: 7:30pm – March 1 through Oct 31, Closed: 5:30pm – Nov 1 through end of Feb
Tel: 912-496-7156, 866-843-7926
okefenokeeadventures.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitkingsland.com

US: Cape Neddick, ME – Whoooo’s There?: Owl Prowl

Bring the whole flock out to the Center for Wildlife’s Owl Prowl; a fun, nature adventurous event and learn a bit about these amazing and mysterious birds of the night.Owl Prowl

Meet under the education pavilion to learn about native owl species, their ecology,  adaptations, hunting techniques, their amazing powers of sight and hearing, learn how to call owls and meet local representatives up close.

Following the presentation, take a short walk into the surrounding habitat to call for owls and listen for whooo might call back.

Owl prowlers of all ages are welcome, but patience and a quiet atmosphere are crucial for owl prowling. There is a $7 suggested donation per person for this event, and reservations are required. Take the Owl Prowl, it’s sure to be a hoot! Owl Prowl 2

Location: Center for Wildlife, 385 Mountain Rd., Cape Neddick, ME 03902
Date: Fridays, Feb 24, 2017 (also: Mar, 31, Apr, 28, 2017)
Time: 4 -5:30pm
Tel: 207-361-1400
thecenterforwildlife.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:yorkme.org portsmouthchamber.org

US: Jacksonville, FL – Hear the Big Cats Roar at Caddy Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

You’ll find lions and tigers at the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary. This amazing  non-profit facility is dedicated to the rescue and care of  endangered big cats, providing them a safe, loving, forever home.

Run completely by volunteers, this sanctuary allows you to get an up close and personal with the rescued big cats: lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and bobcats. Learn about their habitat, their personalities and the stories behind why they have found refuge at the sanctuary. catty-shack2

Since their inhabitants are mostly nocturnal (big cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day), you will most likely appreciate the nighttime tour the most.  The resident cats wake up after dark and this is when they are fed.  At 7:30 PM, you will get to watch over 600 pounds of meat distributed throughout the sanctuary. During these tours, be prepared to hear the big cats roar “loudly” – lions can be heard up to five miles away.

Daytime tours and nighttime feeding tours of Catty Shack Ranch are available but only on select days, so you’ll need to check the website for the most recent schedule. These tours are the primary source of raising funds with 100% of proceeds going to their residents.

Treat your family to a very unique, informative, exciting experience. Animal lover’s will appreciate how well these residents are loved and cared for at this very special retirement home.

Location: The Catty Shack Ranch, 1860 Starratt Rd, Jacksonville, Florida 32226 USA
Dates: open only on select days, please check website
Hours: Daytime Tours 1 – 4 pm, Night Feeding Tours 6 – 8 pm
Tel: 904- 757-3606
cattyshack.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitjacksonville.com

US: St Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.wild-horses-cumberland-island

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island.

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com

US: St. Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride (passengers only) transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island. Wild Horses - Cumberland Island

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com