For Hometown News
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- There's no time like the present to begin planning for fun adventures for the kids during summer break. Parents need look no further than the Environmental Learning Center's "Summer Ecology Adventures."
The ELC knows how to make education fun and it's all happening right here, right outside your back door on Wabasso Island for kids from pre-K to high school ages. Imaginations will be stretched, minds will be broadened and hearts will be lifted as children experience all the bounty that nature has to offer right here on the Treasure Coast.
Seven summer camp programs, now open for enrollment, run for a week or less each from June 10 to July 20 with costs ranging from $60-$395. Discounts are available for members. Thanks to the generous support through the Maggy Bowman Scholarship Fund, limited scholarships are also available for eligible students who are qualified for Indian River County School District's free or reduced lunch program.
For the youngest among us, "Little Wonders" day camp for pre-K to kindergarteners will feature four morning sessions each week, from June 10 to July 11, on the ELC campus that will introduce them to the unique natural wonders that thrive along the Indian River Lagoon.
"Young Explorers," designed for campers entering 1st grade, will teach little wonders about the big world that surrounds them addressing a different theme each day from June 10-13 or July 17-20 on the ELC campus. These well-rounded adventures include topics from Habitat, to Ants and Ant lions, Pond and Plants and Pollinators.
"A Week on the Water" consists of two sessions, one each specially tailored to the 4th-5th grade and 6th -7th grade levels. There's lagoon explorations, beach excursions, scavenger hunts, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, team building and even movie time with snacks and a bowling outing all jam packed into five fun-filled days that will bring pre-teens home tired enough to call it a night before their parents are ready for bed from June 10-14.
For the same age groups there are two customized three-day programs during mid-July that are designed to enlighten and amaze all who hop on board the ELC's bus for the "Island Adventure" or "Marine Safari." Island Adventure, for 4th and 5th graders, features water safety at the North County Aquatics Center, a team-building scavenger hunt, a look into our past at McLarty Treasure Museum, a canoe excursion learning the basics of GPS, exploring the Barrier Island Sanctuary and planting mangrove trees at Pelican Island National Wildlife Preserve.
For the 6th and 7th graders adventures ensue at many of the same locales with a special outing to Stuart, where explorers will snorkel at Bath Tub Beach and visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center to feed sting rays and see game fish up close. All will enjoy playtime at the Sebastian Inlet.
From June 23-27, 8th through 12th grade teens can experience "Wild Water," a five day/four night camping adventure with friends that includes dawn to evening outdoor adventures paddling via kayak to many destinations for a new adventure to unfold each day with cookouts and bussing one day to Stuart to explore the unique waters that engulf the briny shores found only in Martin County.
The Environmental Learning Center is a nature center located north of Vero Beach off County Road 510 at the western end of the Wabasso Bridge. The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, and on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults with children under 12 are free. The first Saturday of every month the admission fee is waived. The 64-acre island campus includes a Discovery Station with aquariums, a marine touch tank, and exhibits as well as a native plant gardens, self-guided audio tour, picnic facilities, a gift shop and a visitor center. ELC is a nonprofit organization funded by private donations.
For more information about Summer Ecology Adventures, visit www.DiscoverELC.org or call (772) 589-5050.