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Back to School: Giving ‘Tween visitors a best-in-class vacation

Back to School: Giving ‘Tween visitors a best-in-class vacation

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Well… for some folks, that is.

While parents across the country scramble to occupy school-aged children for eight hours a day, the teachers who’ve been responsible for that task for the last 10 months are reveling in the silence.

Incidentally, for those who’ve never spent 10 months a year standing in a room with school-aged children for eight hours a day, it’s a job from which two months of silence are an absolute necessity.

But I won’t just ask you to take their word for it.

Full disclosure… when we’re not adventuring our way up, down and around Florida – or jetting to Vegas to anoint the next Floyd Mayweather Jr. – my wife and I are two of the passionate masochists for whom lesson plans, seating charts, and parent conferences have become a second language.

I just finished another year as a fourth-grade teacher at Cape Coral Charter School (incidentally… Go Bobcats!) but rather than jetting off to God knows where to pursue tranquility with my colleagues, I’ve decided to stay local and flex my summertime muscles with a little island-centric curriculum.

In my classroom each morning, we call them our “Did You Know?” activities, and they serve as conversation starters that help get the kids ready for whatever’s on tap that day.

In this setting, though, my aim is to toss out a few appetite-whetters for anyone who’s either on the fence trying to decide whether a trip to the ’Tween Waters Inn is for them – or anyone else who’s already pulled the trigger on a vacation and is compiling a bit more 411 before heading south.

With that, class… here we go.

And yes, it’ll all be on the test.

Did You Know – Captiva is a Barrier Island
Captiva is what’s known as a “barrier island.” For people unfamiliar with the concept, barrier islands are made out of sand that’s been shaped into its present form by wind and wave, and they tend to run alongside coasts as a sort of energy absorber for territories further from the sea. There are numerous barrier islands that can be found off of the coast of Florida.

Did You Know – The Islands Are a List-Worthy Destination
Captiva and southern neighbor Sanibel placed No. 3 among the most popular small-town Florida destinations on a recent list compiled by FloridaRentals.com. They’re the perfect spot to relax and enjoy Florida’s beauty and they boast more than 400 different shell species, creating a premier spot for finding rare beauties. Their geographic location and 15 miles of beaches make them ideal for shelling.

Did You Know – Captiva and Sanibel Used to be One Island
At one point, Captiva is known to have been one island with Sanibel. However, at some point around 3,000 BC, the erosion of the sand that made up a single barrier entity turned one island into two. That said, the separation between the two at Blind Pass – two miles south of the resort – is not perfect, meaning that extreme weather has been known to connect and separate them from time to time.

Did You Know – You Can Get Locally Famous by Finding a Junonia
Some seashells are rarer than others, meaning that finding them is particularly noteworthy. The Junonia is a particularly popular find because while it is not particularly uncommon, its deep-water habitat means that few spotted specimens wash up on Captiva’s shores – usually only after a strong storm or hurricane. Incidentally, it’s a species of large sea snail, named after the ancient Roman goddess Juno.

Did You Know – Captiva is Great for Canoeing and Kayaking
OK, this might already be public knowledge, but it bears repeating. Captiva is included in the Great Calusa Blueway, which has stretches that weave through the Southwest Florida coast. As a result, it is suitable for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts with a wide range of experiences, particularly if they are interested in dolphins or manatees, which are known to make an appearance from time to time.

Thanks so much for your attention, kids. You’ll be getting a nice little note in your planner.

And if you happen to spot me at the Oasis Pool Bar when you arrive, bring the old man an apple.

Martini optional.

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