Amelia Island Plantation Blog


Summer Nature Camps at Amelia Island Nature Center

It's summer time!  That's oh-so-exciting for the kids...but what about the parents?  Here's a message I received this week: "I have eight kids at the house. They are all running in and out with water balloons. I've gone through four gallons of ice cream, one pint of cherries, two cans of whipped cream and all the toppings. It's only been three hours.  It's going to be a long summer."

June 18, 2013 - Leave a comment

Community, Nature

Manatee Encounter on Wild Amelia Nature Center Kayak Tour

Manatees inhabit Amelia Island's rivers, creeks, and the Atlantic Ocean during the summer months when the water is warm. At the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Nature Center, we see them as they make their way back up north from the freshwater rivers in south Florida where they spend their winters.  During the  Wild Amelia Nature Festival we saw our first manatees of the season on our Nature Center kayak tour at Omni Amelia Island Plantation! As we paddled down the creek, we encountered four full grown manatees feeding on sea grasses in the shallow water.

May 22, 2013 - Leave a comment

Nature

Mother’s Day at Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Last year when I wrote a mother's day blog it was about my sister buying my mom the best mother's day gift as a child.  When I went to reflect on mother's day this year I'm looking at it through the eyes of my friends who have recently had children.  Mother's day used to be about recognizing my mother for all she's done throughout my life but now it's also about the respect I have for all mothers. For the love they have for their children before they even see them the first time.  For the instinct at knowing exactly what cry means what. For the quick hands that grab an arm before they topple over. For the life long dedication they make to their children's lives. This year, whether you're saying thank you to your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, step-mom, wife, or dear friends (Courtney, Melissa, Jill, Carrie and MeLissa), you can find plenty of ways to say the right thing at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Winter Birds on Amelia Island

Winter is a great time for viewing birds on Amelia Island!  Although many of our birds stay year-round, a few like to go further south during the winter and others like to come here as "snowbirds" - who can blame them?  Omni Amelia Island Plantation provides plenty of spots for birds to feed and roost on our 1,350-acre natural resort.  One area that birds have flocked to is a new retention pond that was recently added on the marsh side of our property near our golf shop.  We love this spot too, because we have an opportunity to observe the birds with no obstructions and without scaring them away, a birders dream come true.  Our last tour spotted a mixed group of birds, which is common, including Woodstorks, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis and Mallard Ducks.   On this day the Birds of Amelia nature tour also saw a group of Hooded Mergansers and a Great Blue Heron! 

January 28, 2013 - Leave a comment

Nature

White Oak Plantation tour
with Amelia Island Nature Center

Did you know that the Nature Center at Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers a White Oak Plantation tour to discover the unique Conservation Center? White Oak is truly a one-of-a-kind place located near Amelia Island on 7,400 acres of wetlands and forest. Owned and operated by the Howard Gilman Foundation, their mission is to promote endeavors in wildlife conservation and also the arts. On our unique White Oak Plantation tour, you can get hugged by a huge polar bear and even see Geronimo's vest on a tour of the Big Game room and conference center. Then take a few dance steps at the Mikhail Baryshnikov Dance studio that's attached. Next, enjoy a guided tour on a trolley through the Conservation Center and see some of the rarest wild animals including cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes and more. White Oak is an important international center for research, breeding, training, education and field programs. They are one of the largest breeding facilities for Cheetahs and Okapis in the U.S. They breed and are home to three species of rhinos, giraffes, zebras, birds, several species of antelopes, and more wild animals. The last stop on our tour is the gift shop with unique treasures to complete your trip. Check out some of the animals we saw on our recent visit: To plan your tour to see and support this refuge for animals, people and ideas, call the Nature Center at (904) 321-5082. Prepare to have an experience that few have had and you will never forget!

December 17, 2012 - Leave a comment

Nature

Junior Naturalist Program
at Amelia Island Nature Center

Each summer Miss Brooke comes to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and participates in our Junior Naturalist program at the Amelia Island Nature Center.  Her latest letter, which we adore receiving, was too good not to share! Junior Naturalist Program Brooke and the other kids get to spend part of the day in the lives of an Amelia Island Naturalist during the Junior Naturalist program.  The three hour apprenticeship let's children interact with local critters while feeding the native turtles or cleaning the cage of Buddy the macaw.  Kids can assist with animal rescues or daily duties of the Nature Center to learn what it takes to be a naturalist. The interactive program is $50 per child and pre-registration is required.  Does your child have what it takes to work at the Nature Center?  Whether you're a guest at the Florida beach resort or a local on the island, you can contact the Nature Center to schedule a Junior Naturalist experience today at 904-321-5082!                    

December 4, 2012 - Leave a comment

Nature

Kid’s Christmas Gifts Ideas
at the Amelia Island Nature Center

Make super gross fake snot! What kid wouldn't love Disgusting Science for Christmas?  As Black Friday approaches, many of us are thinking about our Christmas shopping lists. For those of you who are looking for fun, unique gift ideas for children and want to shop local on Amelia Island, look no further than the Amelia Island Nature Center at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation!  I went to the Nature Center to check out the new miniature Christmas trees you can decorate as a holiday craft and found so much more. You can paintyour own pot, plant your own mini tree, decorate with beads and ribbons and then after the holidays you can plant the tree in your own yard. Decorate a miniature Christmas tree this Friday at the annual Holiday Celebration or any day from 10am to 4pm at the Nature Center.  And while you're there, check out these other cool kid's Christmas gifts ideas: Disgusting Science - $21 This scientific explorer gift lets kids become a scientist by growing their own germs and performing disgusting science experiments to answer questions like why do your feet really stink?!

November 19, 2012 - Leave a comment

Nature, The Spa & Shops

Okefenokee Swamp Tour with
Amelia Island Nature Center

Did you know that the Amelia Island Nature Center  at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers trips to the Okefenokee Swamp?  This beautiful National Wildlife Refuge is located in South Georgia, a little over an hour drive from Amelia Island Plantation.  The Amelia Island Nature Center offers both day trips and night tours to Okefenokee, known as the land of trembling earth.  A couple of weeks ago, our naturalists took a night tour out and our guests were treated to a sunset unlike any other, with the sun dipping behind the water lilies and cypress trees making the sky bright with orange and red.  Lots of birds were seen flying to their nighttime roosting spots, including Sandhill Cranes, herons, egrets, ibis, kingfishers and a tiny red hummingbird. An alligator even swam right next to our boat for a while.  After the sun went down, as our boat made its way back, we used flashlights to look for alligator and spider eyes reflecting back.  On a  recent day trip, we saw some very special birds, the Red Cockaded Woodpeckers.  These endangered species are one of the reasons Okefenokee is preserved and managed the way it is.  We were lucky enough to hear and see a couple of groups.  We also spotted a couple of red-headed woodpeckers, other woodpecker species and fence lizards.  Wildflowers were in full bloom and pitcher plants line the swamp.  Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Okefenokee Swamp.  A beautiful fall color is given by the cypress trees, who's needles turn orange.  Alligators are out basking, trying to warm up in the sun for the day. One great thing about the swamp is that every time you visit, you see different plants and animals so you can return many times!  For more information or to schedule your trip to the Okefenokee Swamp, contact the nature center at 904-321-5082  and I promise it'll be an experience you won't soon forget!

October 5, 2012 - Leave a comment

Nature

Summer Birds on Amelia Island

This summer the Omni Amelia Island Plantation has been a great place for spoting birds on Amelia Island.  We have seen some of the most beautiful birds in the United States including several sightings of the colorful Painted Buntings.   These unique birds have a distinctive call and the Amelia Island Nature Center naturalists observed an entire family at Drummond Point Park.  Males show up first in mid-April, and sing a lot to establish territories. Females come soon afterwards, and by August the babies are fledging. Come September, we say goodbye to them as they make their way further south for the rest of the year.  Another of our colorful spring to fall inhabitants are the Roseate Spoonbills.  Both males and females have a striking pink color throughout the year from eatting the local shrimp. They use their spoon-shaped bills to sweep back and forth in shallow water, eating small fish and crustaceans that they find. This makes the marshes around property perfect hunting ground during low tide.  During high tide, they like to hang out at the Amelia Island golf course ponds.  This has allowed us to see dozens of Spoonbills and other wading birds on our Birds of Amelia tours.  You can often spot a roost of the spoonbills across the marsh from Walker's Landing on the west side of Amelia Island Plantation.  This summer was also a busy time for the Nature Center to assist in animal rescues.  Birds try to fly during summer storms and sometimes hurt their wings or just get exhausted.  Most of them end up at BEAKS, a nearby bird sanctuary, where they are rehabilitated and released if possible.  Although it's sad to see an injured animal, it does provide us with a unique opportunity to see birds that are usually hard to spot. This killdeer was found injured on our oceanfront resort.  Killdeer are know for their "broken wing" display used to distract predators from their young.  They hold one wing out and hobble around so the predator goes after them and will leave the young alone, and the adult killdeer can fly away or hide.  Somebody brought us in this bird, which none of the naturalists had seen before.  A few of us could narrow it down, but we had to go to our bird guides to correctly identify it as a Wilson's Storm-Petrel.  These birds feed on plankton and are found in the open ocean from May to August, before heading back to their nesting grounds in the sub-Antarctic.  They normally do not land during this time, but sit on the water.  BEAKS received about 30 of them in along with ours, probably due to high winds.  Those that survived were rehabilitated and released. If you're interested in viewing more birds on Amelia Island, schedule a Birds of Amelia Tour with the Nature Center!

August 27, 2012 - Leave a comment

Nature

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