On our recent Naples, FL family vacation, we planned to spend most of the time at the beach, soaking up the sun and playing in the Gulf of Mexico. But we didn’t want to spend our entire vacation lying on the beach, so we planned a few activities.
Our first was The Dolphin Study Eco-Tour and Cruise, which is the only Florida attraction featured in National Geographic’s 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life.
The Dolphin Study offer two cruises per day, and we booked an afternoon cruise since it was Easter day and we did not feel like waking up early. The Dolphin Explorer does offer cold water on board, and guests can bring food. We ate lunch right before our cruise, but brought snacks for the Nicholas. (Big waste since he was too busy watching wild life and swimming in the ocean to notice that he was hungry).
At boarding time, we were introduced to both our ship’s captain and naturalist. The naturalist walked around the boat offering small clipboards with activity booklets for the children, as well as binders with laminated sheets featuring each of the dolphins we were hoping to see. The kids filled out the activity booklets to get a Dolphin Explorer patch in the end of the trip.
During the cruise, we also had the opportunity to stop at an uninhabited island to do some swimming and shelling. Each person was given a shell bag, and we could walk around the waterfront collecting the shells. Instead Nicholas took his clothes off (thank Goodness we had his swim trunks with us) and spent entire hour swimming and jumping in the waves.
The naturalist walked around, answering questions, and taking photos of each family upon request ( you could either have the picture printed at no cost or ask the naturalist to take the picture with your own camera).
You can find out more, and book your tickets (definitely book in advance) at the Dolphin Study Eco-Tour and Cruise website.