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NMEA 2016 Conference - Field Trips
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Field Trips

Online registration for field trips is now closed. If you wish to register for a field trip and pay at conference check-in, please email Cristin Krasco at

Florida is a fin-tastic place for marine science enthusiasts and the NMEA16 team has pulled together some outstanding opportunities to explore the Sunshine State! All conference field trips are scheduled for Friday, July 1 and will depart from the Renaissance Orlando. Transportation is provided (unless otherwise noted) and travel times vary. Lunch is provided for all full day trips. For more information, please contact NMEA16 Workshops & Field Trips Chair, Cristin Krasco at


Florida Aquarium | Tampa, Florida CANCELLED 
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. | 




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, snorkel, 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. |


Kennedy Space Center | Cape Canaveral, Florida
7:15am to 5:15pm | Adults only | Approx. travel each way: 1 hr
44 participant maximum | $75

This field trip will provide the unique opportunity for special access to NASA facilities at the Kennedy Space Center! The day will begin at the NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Center for Space Education and then participants will spend the morning on a NASA Facilities Tour to view the grounds, including special access areas. Following lunch in the Exploration Station, NASA educators will present a Professional Development Workshop, after which participants will tour Visitor Complex/Atlantis Exhibit at their leisure. Please note that this tour has a dress code including close-toed, low-heeled shoes (sneakers and socks suggested), and full-length trousers or slacks - no capri pants, skirts, shorts, tank tops or dresses are permitted. Participants not meeting these requirements will be excluded from the educational tour portion of the workshop. |



Coastal Connections | St. Petersburg, 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. |



Marine Science Research Tour | Fort Pierce, Florida  CANCELLED
7:45am to 5:45pm | Adults only | Approx. travel each way: 2 hrs
20 participant maximum |$75

Fort Pierce, on Florida's southeast coast, is home to world-renowned marine science research facilities, and participants will have the opportunity to visit two organizations during this full-day excursion. The morning will begin at the Smithsonian Marine Station, a field research facility of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, with a tour of the lab to hear from Smithsonian scientists about their work in chemical ecology, marine reserve design, life histories, and other areas. The group will also visit the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, a public aquarium that is the outreach arm of the Marine Station. This unique facility features model ecosystems of the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean, including a live Caribbean coral reef, living seagrass bed, growing mangrove forest, and others. Following lunch, participants will experience an immersive tour of the research campus of Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, home to a community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The tour will highlight research and innovation in a variety of fields including ocean engineering, ocean exploration, aquaculture, marine drug discovery and marine mammal conservation. Lunch is included in program cost. | and  



SeaWorld Teacher Workshop:  Penguins | Orlando, Florida
8:30am to 11:00am | Adults only | 10 min walk from conference hotel
25 participant maximum | $50 

This two-hour workshop, designed for teachers, will lead professional educators through an examination of the natural history of these unique, flightless birds. Learn how to identify the different species in SeaWorld’s collection, and discover the secrets involved in their daily care and husbandry. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at SeaWorld’s penguin support facilities. Participants are welcome to remain on-site after the workshop and enjoy the park. Lunch is not included in this half-day trip. |



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. |



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. |



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. |



NMEA 2016 Field Trip Cancellation Policy
For refund requests and changes, please contact Cristin Krasco at Be sure to write “NMEA16 FIELD TRIP REFUND REQUEST” in the subject line. Refund requests will be subject to a $25 administrative fee, and those received after May 30, 2016, regardless of time sent, cannot be honored.



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