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Celebrate Education at ‘Tween Waters

Teacher Appreciation week is May 6th-10th and that got me thinking about educational travel. After all, the world is the ultimate classroom— and the knowledge we gain from exploring different destinations is invaluable. If you’re looking to sneak in some educational lessons during your stay at ‘Tween Waters, here are a few ideas. Learning has never been so fun!


Geography is the reason why Captiva and Sanibel are the best beaches for seashells in North America, and the world. Stretching for miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and shaped like a crescent moon, the islands act like a sieve, scooping shells from the Gulf and gently tossing them ashore.


From finding seahorses in seagrass to exploring mud flats for gastropods, Sanibel Sea School has programs that teach marine conservation in the coolest of ways – for adults and kids. At the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, learn about shells from a scientific perspective through interactive exhibits and live tank talks.


Do you know the three types of mangrove trees in Florida? Take the tram tour at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and you’ll learn a little ditty about red, white and black mangrove trees.

Biology and Ecology

From the marina at ‘Tween Waters, take a kayak, fishing or sightseeing tour with Adventure Sea Kayak & SUP. Explore sea life and habitats with a guide or on your own. These trips can even be tailored to different ages.


‘Tween Waters and Captiva House are both on the National Registry of Historic Places. Take your kids to read the official plaque at the resort’s entrance and discover the fascinating story. For a little history on these barrier islands, take an eco-tour with Adventure Sea Kayak & SUP.

Show & Tell

Every March, the Sanibel Shell Festival takes place at the Community House on Periwinkle Way. Next year’s show (in 2020) will mark its 83rd year.

I hope you love these suggestions, and if you have any more, post them to our Facebook page. And in honor of educators everywhere (including my sister!), Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. You deserve to be celebrated every day.

Stand Up Paddleboard tour.

Making the ‘Tween Water Inn-“Ding” Darling Connection While on Captiva Island

A free Bunche Beach Birding Tram is part of the week's activities.
A free Bunche Beach Birding Tram is part of the week’s activities.

Last October, ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa recommended we check out “Ding” Darling Days at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a superb attraction on Sanibel Island, just 7 miles from the resort. ‘Tween Waters Inn is one of the sponsors of the annual event, and there’s another “Ding”-‘Tweenies connection, too.

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning ARCHERY_1political cartoonist and outspoken conservationist of the early 1900s, pushed for the establishment of the refuge and also invented the Federal Duck Stamp program. He wintered at ‘Tween Waters Inn for many years, and today one of its historic cottages bears his name.

This year’s “Ding” Days runs Oct. 16-22, kicking off with an all-free Sunday Family Fun Day. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy free admission to Wildlife Drive, free tram tours, archery clinics, and great programs with live animals. Specifically for adults, this year’s “Saving the Birds in the Everglades” historical reenactment pays homage to the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial celebration in 2016.

Throughout the week, expert speakers, discounted recreational tours, and free birding and other refuge tours take place. On Friday, celebrate Darling’s 140th birthday with free cake!

Saturday Conservation Art Day is another highlight, honoring Darling for his duck stamp initiative with duck stamp winner presentations and nature art activities. I loved the free photography workshop tram tour. Wildlife Drive admission is also free that day for everyone.

Four-time Duck Stamp winning artist Joe Hautman will make an appearance.
Four-time Duck Stamp winning artist Joe Hautman will make an appearance.