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NMEA 2016 Conference - Family Friendly Opportunities
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Family Friendly Opportunities

NMEA16 has some great family friendly events planned, plus so much more. Listed below are opportunities that are available to all ages while you are attending NMEA16. Please note that the Renaissance Orlando also has some great amenities for you and your family to enjoy. For more information, please contact NMEA16 Conference Co-Chair, Kasey Gaylord-Opalewski at


Camp SeaWorld 

Monday - Friday I 9:00am to 3:00pm | Discount: $100
Hosted by SeaWorld Orlando

Are you looking for the coolest way for your child to have fun and learn about the ocean while you are in Orlando at the NMEA Conference? SeaWorld campers have the opportunity to connect with the sea while making lifelong friends and memories. At SeaWorld, all campers are able to feed and interact with inspiring animals, including stingrays, sharks and sea lions plus so much more.

  • Exclusive discount for NMEA participants – call 1-800-406-2244 to book your camp and mention “NMEA” to receive $100 off the weekly camp rate of $350.

  • Complimentary pick-up and drop-off at the Renaissance hotel each day of camp is included.

  • Campers receive lunch and a snack each day, and a complimentary t-shirt and water bottle.

  • Camp runs Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm (pickup takes place at 8:45 am and drop-off at 3:15 pm).

  • Available for campers entering Kindergarten through 8th Grade.

  • Visit for more details on the right camp for your child!


Youth Conference at NMEA16
Tuesday, June 28 I Cost: $25
Hosted by NMEA Youth Engagement Committee & SeaWorld Orlando


On Tuesday, June 28, the National Marine Educators Association invites students in high school and college who are passionate about marine science, education, and conservation to join them for a special Youth Conference at the NMEA Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. This day-long event will connect student participants to experts in the fields of marine science education through engaging sessions and workshops and give them a chance to present their personal marine conservation/education work in a professional setting. Additionally, this event will give students a chance to learn about careers in marine science education by networking with professional educators from diverse backgrounds and by providing them with an opportunity to learn about how the National Marine Educators Association can support their career interests in marine conservation. During the day participants will also have the chance to work with their peers on hands-on marine conservation service projects, visit the marine animal rescue and rehabilitation center at SeaWorld Orlando, and take part in the opening NMEA plenary session and Conference evening event at SeaWorld Orlando, allowing for additional networking with members of the National Marine Educators Association.

The Youth Conference registration fee of $25 includes all activities, lunch, dinner and admission to the National Marine Educators Association evening event at SeaWorld Orlando, as well as a one year NMEA student membership. We hope you’ll join us for this special event!



NMEA16 Evening Events


Tuesday, June 28 I Cost: $60 Adults, $40 Children (18 and under;), Children 4 and under free

This NMEA16 evening event will take place at SeaWorld, which is a 5-10 minute walk from the conference hotel.  This event will include a private presentation for NMEA16 participants and families, a meal voucher for use at park restaurants, and entrance to the park for the remainder of the evening.  Guest tickets are available for adults and children and can be purchased during NMEA16 registration.



Thursday, June 30 I Cost: $85 Adults and Children, Children 4 and under free

This evening event will take place at the SEA LIFE Orlando Sea Life Aquarium Orlando.  Transportation from the conference hotel will be via public shuttle.  During this event, the aquarium will be closed to the public, giving NMEA 2016 participants a private night to enjoy the exhibits at the aquarium.  The event includes dinner and a cash bar.  This is an optional ticketed event and is not included in the cost of conference registration. Guest tickets are available for adults and children and can be purchased during NMEA16 registration.


NMEA16 Friday Field Trips

Florida Aquarium | Tampa, Florida
7:00am to 6:00pm | Adults & children 6+ | Approx. travel each way: 1.5 hrs
20 participant maximum | $200


This action-packed day at the Florida Aquarium will invite adults and families to experience the underwater world first-hand through adventures in and on the water! Participants will begin the day with a Swim with the Fishes program in the Aquarium where they will snorkel above a replica of the Dry Tortugas, one of the Florida Keys' most beautiful coral reef dive sites. Following the snorkel, participants will enjoy a special behind-the-scenes tour to learn about animal caretaking at the Aquarium, and see feeding time for some hungry residents! Following lunch in Cafe Ray, the group will board the Bay Spirit II catamaran for a wild dolphin cruise to discover Tampa Bay and the abundance of wildlife that calls it home. The day will conclude with time for participants to self-guide around the Aquarium. Please note that lunch is included in the trip cost. All snorkel equipment is provided - please bring swimming suit and towel. | I Sign up during NMEA16 Registration


Marine Science Station Snorkel Trip | Crystal River, Florida
6:45am to 3:45pm | Adults & children 13+ | Approx. travel each way: 2 hrs
20 participant maximum | $110 

Experience the real Florida with a snorkel adventure at the Marine Science Station (MSS) on Florida’s Gulf Coast! After a welcome in the MSS Classroom, participants will enjoy a boat ride through the Salt River and Crystal River Estuary into the clear, shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Snorkel in a variety of Gulf nearshore habitats, including seagrass meadows, sponge beds, and hardbottom communities. A variety of temperate and subtropical species of algae, plants, invertebrates, fish, sea turtles, and possibly marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and Florida manatees may be encountered. Field trip cost includes lunch, mask, fins, and snorkel vest. Participants may bring their own snorkel gear if they wish. Please note that fins are not included – fins are not essential for snorkeling the calm waters in this area, but participants may bring their own if desired. Please dress comfortably for hot weather and bring your own swimming gear, water shoes, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, towel, and refillable water bottle. Changing facilities are available on-site. Please pack lightly for this trip in order to conserve space on the boats. | Sign up during NMEA16 Registration


Coastal Connections | Bradenton, Florida
7:30am to 5:30 pm | Adults & children 4+ Approx. travel each way: 2 hrs
50 participant maximum | $100 

Enjoy a Florida “Edventure” with Nature’s Academy! Participants will engage in multiple field experiences including mangrove kayak, barrier island investigation, shark dissection, water quality investigation, seagrass dip net, snorkel, and coastal clean-up. All data collected by program participants is uploaded to Nature's Academy's Citizen Scientist database! Nature's Academy can provide water shoes and snorkel equipment if needed but participants are welcome to bring their own gear if they wish. Participants should wear water clothes and shoes and bring a dry change of clothes and a towel. Program cost includes a beach BBQ lunch and a reusable water bottle for all participants. Sign up during NMEA16 Registration


Black Hammock Airboat & Pontoon Rides | Oviedo, Florida
8:30am to 12:30pm | All ages Approx. travel each way: 40 min
50 participant maximum | $50 

An airboat trip is a must-do to experience authentic "swamp-life" in Florida! Join Black Hammock Airboat Tours to get up-close and personal with alligators, birds, turtles, and other freshwater wildlife. In the heart of Seminole County along the middle basin of the St. Johns River, Lake Jesup encompasses an area of approximately 10,000 acres and has a circumference of 28 miles, eventually connecting with the St. Johns River. This 100,000 year old lake is home to over 9000 alligators — the largest concentration of any lake in the U.S. Many species of birds, wild boars, bobcats, and turtles call Lake Jesup home. Participants will enjoy an airboat trip and an opportunity to see and photograph adult and baby alligators at Black Hammock. No special shoes or clothing is required, ear protection is provided. Lunch is not included in this half-day trip| Sign up during NMEA16 Registration


SeaWorld Rescue & Rehabilitation Behind the Scenes | Orlando, Florida
12:30pm to 3:00pm | All ages | 10 min walk from conference hotel
25 participant maximum | $50 

SeaWorld staff will take you on a behind-the-scenes look to discuss the animals cared for through SeaWorld’s unique program, including manatees and sea turtles. Learn about our efforts to help preserve and protect endangered and threatened species through our Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release program, and what efforts you can take to help. Then, join us for a behind-the-scenes look at Shark Encounter where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the different zoological teams at SeaWorld and the important role sharks play in ocean health. Participants are welcome to remain on-site after the workshop and enjoy the park. Lunch is not included in this half-day trip| Sign up during NMEA16 Registration


Canaveral National Seashore | Titusville, Florida
6:00pm to 1:30am | Adults & children 8+ Approx. travel each way: 1.5 hrs
50 participant maximum | $50 

Canaveral National Seashore is home to the most turtle nests of any unit in the National Park Service, with almost 8,000 nests in 2015! The turtle walk program will begin with a tour and presentation at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Following the presentation, participants will be driven to the beach, where a scout will be looking for a nesting turtle. If a nesting female is spotted, the group will venture down the beach to watch her lay her eggs! Participants should be able to walk at least half a mile in soft sand - comfortable clothing and walking shoes are suggested. Conditions will be hot and buggy - please bring bug spray and/or wear long sleeves and pants. A refillable water bottle is also suggested. Snacks will be provided, but dinner will not be provided. | Sign up during NMEA16 Registration



Looking to extend your stay in Florida? Discover Florida's treasures! 

Click here for a list of suggested "Florida treasures" for your and your family to explore, courtesy of FMSEA Members. Please note that these suggested attractions are not part of the NMEA16 conference lineup, but rather are suggestions for your extended stay in the Sunshine State. 


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