Navarre Beach is an ecotourism destination geared toward family fun

Ecotourism is defined as “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”

Navarre Beach is an ecotourism destination geared toward family fun, and a perfect example of this is the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary. Last year the reef was teaming with life of all shapes and sizes.

Ever seen a sea turtle up close? Want to interact with a jellyfish and not get stung? How about chasing a sting ray across the sand?

You have got to check these reefs out.

To really see what our reefs have to offer check out the video at www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com/?p=2586. These are frequent visitors to the reef and you can see them as easily as you can swim.

Come check it out and register for a guided glass bottom kayak tour at navarrebeachkayaktours.eventbrite.com

Advertisements

Coming soon… the Gulf Coast Discovery Center

The Navarre Beach Marine Science Station is growing, and that growth means good news for visitors in the form of the Gulf Coast Discovery Center.

This planned marine interpretive center is going to blow you away.

The proposed 12,000square-foot marine interpretive center is expected to include more than 20 educational tanks and exhibits for all ages, information on environmental stewardship and research opportunities.

A 5,000-gallon artificial aquarium will be designed to replicate the reefs off Navarre Beach and 1,000 plus gallon touch tanks will feature snails and small sharks.

Many of the exhibits focus on local animals and ecosystems. One of my favorite of the planned projects is the Deep Sea exhibit. It will be created to mirror the educational room in the NBMSS classroom.

The NBMSS room features black lights that give off an eerie glow to human-sized models of jellyfish and swarms of squid. Wall paintings educate students about deep ocean animals and ecosystems. The GCDC exhibit will likely dwarf it.

Another important feature of the center will be environmental stewardship education“giving participants a feeling of true responsibility and connection to the critical area where they live and visit.”

Proposed educational opportunities will involve exhibits on marine debris, the effects of the invasive Lionfish population and the lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

There is also more than entertainment. Visitors will be exposed to real scientists doing real research.

Research labs will provide local students with learning opportunities, and visiting college students will be able to do research thanks to a proposed flow through system.

When the doors on this place open, young minds will be inspired. Come see for yourself.

Dive into Summer Camp on Navarre Beach

The weather is heating up down here on Navarre Beach, and I find myself more and more busting out the sandals and shorts.

Finally!

The warm up can only mean one thing, summer is almost upon us. And that means parents are searching out summer camps for their children. While you could stick with the same old cabin in the woods (and don’t get me wrong that is a lot of fun), there is a new kind of summer camp here on Navarre Beach.

Paddle boarding along the beach, touching some of the Gulf of Mexico’s unique wildlife and even getting up close with dolphins could make for some magical summer memories at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station.

Charlene, Heather and the crew of volunteers at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station really care about sharing marine science and beach life with children of all ages. As licensed educators they know the tricks to not only teach the kids all the amazing science but to make it fun.

Their yearly summer camps are no exception.

The season kicks off with the fifth annual Autism OdysSea May 6.

This special event spun out of Charlene’s experience vacationing with a neighbor. Her neighbor’s son had autism and while they were visiting Disney World, Charlene was surprised to see the challenges and sideways glances her friend received.

Inspired she and the science station team banded together to create an event specifically catered to these families with sensory stations and wildlife encounters.

As for day camps the station offers a variety of camps that will engage children of all ages in hands on activities and animal encounters during the day and have them back home by night fall.

For younger kids, 4 to 5 years old, the station has added a new camp called Turtle Tots. This camp allows little ones to experience and explore the lives of sea turtles through games, playing “turtle veterinarian” and beach visits.

Possibly the coolest of the camps for the older kids is the Guy Harvey Fishing Camp. For five days your child will learn all there is to know about fishing the Gulf of Mexico’s diverse selection of sporting fish.

Children 9 to 14 will learn best tackling methods and techniques to catch the big one. In addition to learning fishing 101, the kids will get a lesson in respecting the ocean and all that she has to offer and come up close with fish and more.

The highlight of the camp is a deep sea fishing experience aboard the Entertainer charter boat where they get to apply what they learn.

These kids walk away with more than just the knowledge. They receive the gear to get fishing with a custom Guy Harvey tee, tackle box and a fishing pole to apply what they learned.

Because of the Science Station’s unique commitment to ocean conservation and public education they have been selected as the only location in Northwest Florida to partner with the Guy Harvey Foundation for this one of a kind experience.

Here is a schedule of all the camps the station has in store this summer:

Autism OdysSea

May 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Families with children on the spectrum

$10

 

Dolphin Discovery

June 12-16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Students entering third through eighth grade

$275 (private dolphin cruise included)

 

Turtle Tots

June 19-23

Ages 4-5

$150

 

Jellyfish Jam

June 19-23

Students entering first and second grade

$150

 

Guy Harvey Fishing Camp

June 23-30

Ages 9-14

$350 (includes deep sea fishing, fishing gear and custom tee)

 

Paddlepalooza

July 24-28 or July 31- Aug. 4

Students entering third through fifth grade

$300 (include water sports lessons and activities)

 

Visit www.navarresciencestation.org for more information.

 

Mom and Dad

Most of the station’s camps will keep the kids occupied for the day, so what are you going to do? Might I recommend toes in the sand, drink in hand and not a care in the world? Walk down to the water from your condominium rental then grab lunch at the water front at Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors Grill at the foot of the beach bridge.

Or for the more adventuresome rent a Jet Ski, go snorkeling on the Navarre Beach near shore reef or even charter your own deep sea fishing trip. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Slots and accommodations fill up fast. Register your child for camp at navarresciencestation.org, and find yourself a home away from home today. We offer a variety of options to make your trip relaxing and memorable.

Sunsets are God’s greatest work of art.

At the close of each day the sun paints the sky in a new pattern of bright orange, red, purple and blue.

The day is slowly winding to an end. The anticipation of the evening grows, a time to relax for some but a time for the party to begin for others.

Each sunset is distinctly different from the last, but I think they are most beautiful on the beach.

As I sit on the shoreline and watch the sun sink slowly down into the water, I can’t help but feel small in this great wide universe. The shorebirds quietly call in the distance as the rhythmic swish of the waves pushes against the beach. The washed up pink shells cast long shadow patterns upon the white sand.

Occasionally the gray gleam of a dolphin’s back will break the blue, green stillness of the water as they hunt for fish among the wake.

All is peaceful. All is beautiful.

The best places to experience a sunset along Navarre Beach in my humble opinion is along the beach. Bring a blanket and your camera.

Other ideal places to catch the sunset:

  • Along the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier
  • On the deck of Juana’s Pagodas
  • The porch of your condo

Make a reservation today.