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Homeschooling allows us to be more flexible with travel.  We use the terms “world schooling” and “road schooling” frequently with the description of our homeschooling adventures. In my previous blogs, I have explained world schooling and road schooling and I have links to all previous adventures.  Traveling is a huge part of our learning path. This time our adventures were to the areas around Miami, Florida.  Although the adventure was a domestic trip, going to Miami was important for seeing the national parks in South Florida before they are damaged further (sea levels rising, repeated hurricanes and tropical storms, increased high tide floodings, coral bleaching, etc.). Thus, when our friend saw Miami on her list of timeshares available, we jumped at the opportunity.  We were so excited to see these national parks, visit the Keys, and see Little Havana with our boys. Thus the trip was an adventure of national parks, Cuban-American history, and a time to play with friends.

Here is a list of where my friend and I took our boys:

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Miami
  • Doral
  • Everglades National Park Sharkey Visitor Center (2 junior ranger badges earned)
  • Everglades Safari Park
  • Big Cypress National Preserve (1 junior ranger badge earned)
  • Bay of Pigs Museum (talked with a veteran of the Bay of Pigs Invasion)
  • Little Havana
  • Calle Ocho
  • The Futurama Building
  • Domino Park
  • Tower Theater
  • Azucar Ice Cream Company
  • Key Largo
  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Islamorada
  • Feed the Tarpon at Robbie’s
  • Tavernier
  • Key Lime Pie Factory
  • Anne Kolb Nature Center
  • Hollywood North Beach
  • Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
  • Crandon Beach Park
  • Biscayne National Park Dante Fascell Visitor Center (4 junior ranger badges earned)
  • Frost Art Museum
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

On this trip we learned several common themes from all of the national and state parks that we went to: invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, don’t dump your pets in the wild (not your pet fish or snakes or mammals), eat lionfish (must remove poisonous spines first) and use reef safe sunblock.  South Florida is filled with invasive species such as iguanas, lionfish, boa constrictors, and pythons that are all from people releasing their pets in the wild. Other than the iguanas, all of them eat native species and have no natural predators in the area. Although we never got to try lionfish, apparently that is what the parks are encouraging.  Seriously, they have lessons on how to catch them and instructions on how to cook them! They even have special competitions periodically for catching the most lionfish. It was stressed that in the national and state protected waters you can only take away trash and lionfish from the reefs.

If you want to learn more about the junior ranger program, this mother compiled a complete list of junior ranger programs you can do via mail or in person. In addition, the National Park Service has educator resources available for free.  The National Park Service also has links and lists out specific junior ranger programs you can do from home.  And if you want to read about other families roadschooling through the National Parks and using the junior ranger program, check out this article from the NPCA.  The National Parks are a great educational tool and travel destination.  Please, be inspired, and go explore!