GSML offers field trips that emphasize the rich and diverse coastal environments of the region with tours to the “living dock” and the salt marshes of nearby Fiddlers Point, thereby enabling students to experience marine life in its natural setting.
All tours are led by a staff member or by a volunteer who has been extensively trained. The tour leader identifies animals and plants, describes their natural history, explains habitat requirements and discusses human impacts on coastal natural resources. He or she also answers questions and teaches one on one throughout the tour. The technical level of the narrative is adapted to the group’s age level.
Recommendations for Tour Participation
- Teachers,parents and chaperones are expected to keep a watchful eye and assist with children at all times, which will ensure a positive field trip experience for all!
- Children need to stay with their group at all times.
- Please practice appropriate cell phone manners.
- Most public schools require 1 chaperone per 5 students at the elementary level, 1 chaperone per 10 students middle and high school level.
- Wear appropriate clothing for current weather conditions. Depending on the weather either wear warm clothing or for hot weather a hat or clothing to shield from the sun is recomended.
- Wear clothes you do not mind geting wet or dirty.
- If you participate in a marsh tour expect to get wet! Bring bathing suit and change of shoes Be advised your shoes will be wet and covered in sand after the marsh tour.
- Wear sunscreen as needed.
- Bug spray (Hands and forearms must be washed before placing these in touch tanks) Chemicals are bad for the animals.
- Bring Money for the Gift Shop.
- Teachers download a free Sea Turtle Educators Guide and recomendations at: http://www.seaturtle.org/documents/Educators_Guide.pdf
- Teachers have your students play a free online educational game from NOAA to learn about sea turtles before the field trip. Download link :http://games.noaa.gov/seaturtle/welcome.html
- Have students research a sea creature before the field trip, and share afterwards what they discovered about that creature on the field trip.
- Sea Turtle Educational Coloring Book Check out this educational sea turtle coloring book at. : http://act.oceanconservancy.org/site/DocServer/seaTurtleColoringBook.pdf?docID=481
- Teachers, follow this link for the Sunshine State Standards: View the Sunshine State Standards
Option 1: Group rate for guided tour of Lab:
Aquarium Tour Video
Guided tour/lecture at the Lab (approximately 1 hour). A staff marine biologist will join your group and give an in-depth tour of the facility, explaining the biology of the animals and answering questions. Groups over 50 will have 2 or more guides. Everyone will get a chance to overcome their fears and build confidence by holding these creatures and getting to know them.
Per Person/Adult or Child – $6.50 Minimum Group Charge – $78.00 (If your group is less than 12 people)
Option 2: Group rate for guided tour of Lab and Living Dock:
Lab Tour Video
In addition to the guided tour of the Lab, the group will continue on to our dock in the estuarine waters of Dickerson Bay. There our staff biologist will demonstrate the fouling community species and intertidal zonation of barnacles and oysters. Depending on the tide and season, larval fish and comb jellyfish may be present. Students may be able to observe the barnacles feeding and grass shrimp and sea slugs foraging in the hydroids of the floating docks. The lab and dock trip takes approximately two hours.
Per Person/Adult or Child – $9.50 Minimum Group Charge – $142.00 (If your group is less than 15 people)
Option 3: Group rate for guided tour of Lab, Living Dock and Marsh:
Marsh Field Trip Video
After the guided tour of the dock, we will then pack up our seines and hiking boots for a trip to the nearby marsh. Our biologist will collect jellyfish, grass shrimp and the juvenile stages of mullet and blue crabs. Students are welcome to participate in pulling the nets. We discuss the vital role of marshes as nursery habitat and we look at the tidal zonation of salt water wetlands plants. The trip will take an additional hour. The group can either break for lunch before the marsh tour or have lunch after the trip at the discretion of the teachers and drivers.
Per Person/Adult or Child – $13.50 Minimum Group Charge – $225.00 (If your group is less than 18 people)
From 1989 to the present we have hosted over 20,000 visitors annually and over 100 school groups from the southeast.. The response is always enthusiastic. To book a tour or receive information on schedules call (850) 984-5297. Please plan well in advance as our tours are very popular and available dates can be limited.
TO BOOK YOUR TOUR, CALL GULF SPECIMEN AT (850) 984-5297
If your field trip arrives late we will try our best to accomodate you. However, in the event of scheduling conflicts the guided tour portion of your field trip may be cut short.