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What You Need To Know About Planning Educational Field Trips in Florida

October 26, 2023 / Florida Keys Adventures

Florida offers so much more than an oasis for a vacation. Its diverse wildlife, ecological significance and rich history make it an ideal destination for educational field trips.

Learn the educational opportunities you’ll find in the Florida Keys and how to make the most of your experience. 

Take An Educational Field Trip in Florida

Here are some reasons to consider a field trip to Florida.

  • Historical significance: Florida was the site of many Seminole Wars throughout the early 1800s. After the Seminole Wars, the state seceded from the Union in early 1861 along with six other states to form the Confederate States, inciting the Civil War. The state was known for providing salt and beef for the Confederate armies. It later became a crucial state during racial segregation debates as the state was nearly 50 percent African-American. The state still provides agricultural significance due to its fruits, nuts, sugarcane and cattle resources. 

  • Ecological significance: Florida's natural landscape boasts a wide variety of habitats from cypress swamps and coastal mangrove forests to seagrass beds and North America's only coral barrier reef; all ecologically unique and important.   Perhaps one of the most significant of these ecosystems is the Everglades.  These subtropic marshlands are biologically rich with diverse flora and fauna including many threatened and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the Florida panther.  While visiting the Everglades students will experience first hand these critical habitats and gain a better understanding of how their actions can impact its future.  

  • Protected areas: While the Everglades is less than half of its original size, what remains now is protected as a National Park.  It is also designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. Most of the Florida Keys lie within state or national parks or other protected areas. In fact, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. is one of 15 marine sanctuaries in the nation set up to conserve biologically and economically important coastal marine habitats.  

As you explore the Florida Keys, you’ll learn many interesting facts that will make the experience come to life for your students. 

For example, The Florida Keys are a chain of islands at the southern tip of Florida.  Key Largo is the longest key in that chain. The term “key” means a low-elevation island that sits above a coral reef. Florida Keys natives are affectionately referred to as conchs after the Queen Conch a large marine snail found in the coastal waters off the Florida Keys.  Once a commercially important fishery, the harvest of Queen Conch today is illegal in the United States. The Queen Conch and its beautiful pink shell continues to be an iconic symbol of the Florida Keys.  

Top Field Trip Destinations and Activities

When building your field trip destination, consider taking students to these prime educational experiences.

Dolphins Plus Bayside, A Marine Education Center

Located in sunny Key Largo, Dolphins Plus offers a premier experience for school groups and field trips. You can spend anywhere from a few hours to several days at our education center based on the learning experiences you want to tailor for your students.

At Dolphins Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to experience an encounter with marine mammals in their natural seawater setting in a lagoon adjacent to Tarpon Basin in the Florida Bay.

Your experiential learning can include any of the following:

  • Marine Mammal and Science Classes

  • Hands-on Activities

  • Games

  • Labs

  • Dolphin interactions

While Dolphins Plus employs field trip and education specialists to help customize field trips that match your students’ age ranges and abilities, you’re in full control of your experience. You can tailor the experience to match classroom goals and education expectations.

During your experience, you won’t just learn about dolphins. With mangroves bordering our lagoon and the Florida Bay as our backdrop, students can see and experience how these Florida Keys ecosystems are connected right here in our own backyard!  Students will also receive exposure to conservation efforts as well as lessons on what’s happening to the natural habitats of dolphins and other at-risk marine life.

Dolphins Plus is not your classic tourist attraction. It offers quality education experiences from experts at the forefront of marine mammal care, research, and conservation. 

The team is leading the way in finding innovative strategies to address marine mammal threats. You’ll know you’re investing in an organization focused on caring for the health, safety and wellbeing of dolphins while offering a closer look at these incredible creatures to help conservation come to life for students of all ages.

Be the teacher who inspires your students to become marine scientists or conservationists to ensure future generations can continue to experience these incredible ecosystems and their marine wildlife. Dolphins Plus offers educational field trips at their natural seawater facility in the Florida Keys.

Additional Field Trip Activities Near Dolphins Plus

Once you’ve completed your time at the marine education center, you can take your students for these other experiences to make the time more memorable and make learning come to life.

  • Kayak adventures: In a fascinating mixture of adventure, fun, and nature students will paddle across seagrass beds and through mangrove forests.  Experience stunning vistas and talk about the area’s marine wildlife as you go on an eco-tour. 

  • Birdwatching: The Florida Keys are a great location for watching birds in their natural habitat. A few good locations to take students to birdwatch include the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, National Key Deer Refuge, Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden and Dry Tortugas National Park. Prep your students to see diverse birds, including shorebirds, tropical parrots, toucans, waterfowl and raptors. 

  • Snorkeling: experience the only living barrier coral reef in the continental US and the third largest barrier reef in the world! Your students will observe an abundance of marine life including tropical fish, marine invertebrates, turtles, sharks and rays in their natural habitat. They’ll witness firsthand the impacts humans have had on the reefs.  Snorkeling helps bring to life the importance of conservation efforts and can help students grow in their understanding and passion for protecting these important areas.

  • Nature trails: with so much diverse vegetation and wildlife to observe, you can take your students on hiking adventures in the Florida Keys nature trails. Some trails worth considering include Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Trail, Old Bahia Honda Bridge Trail, Blue Hole Trail, Curry Hammock State Park Trail, Long Key State Park Trail, and Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden Trails.

  • Local attractions: take students to see local parks, centers and museums to help bring learning to life. Some attractions worth adding to your field trip itinerary include Robbie's Marina, the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, the Turtle Hospital and Everglades National Park.

Planning Your Florida Keys Field Trip

The Florida Keys present a unique learning experience for students of all ages. From marine life to birdwatching, you’ll provide a memorable experience that can have an impact on preserving Florida’s unique ecosystems for generations to come.

Educators should contact Dolphins Plus' Director of Education Marylou Wright at to begin building an unforgettable field trip. The team looks forward to making a lasting impression for your students.

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