Florida's Marco Island Named One of "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life" by National Geographic

Florida's Marco Island Named One of "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life" by National Geographic

Marco Island

10,000 Islands Dolphin Project is the only Florida experience featured in the National Geographic book "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life"

Marco Island will be the only Florida destination featured in an upcoming National Geographic book, "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth," to be released on February 5, 2013. In the book, author Keith Bellows showcases the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project as the premier excursion that best highlights the destination, its culture and people while also providing an experience that will enrich the life of a child.


"The world is the greatest classroom we have," writes Bellows - editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine and father of three - in his introduction. "I'm convinced that any parent willing to give the gift of travel offers the gift that keeps on giving. Children who learn to travel will travel to learn. And they will do it all their lives."


From the treetops of Costa Rica to the Grand Canyon to Loch Ness, "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life" explores the world, plumbing the heart of each special place and presenting it through a kid's eyes. Each chapter features one unforgettable trip designed to leave a lasting impression on any child.


"It is a distinct honor to be featured as one of the top travel experiences for children, not just in Florida but around the world," said Capt. Chris Desmond, founder and director, 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project. "Our goal is to provide an eco-tour that is both fun and educational for kids and adults alike, and this recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Dolphin Project team."


The 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project is the only ongoing study of wild dolphins in Southwest Florida and the only one in the United States that engages and is supported by the general public. For more than seven years, the Project has identified, catalogued and studied over 300 resident bottlenose dolphins.


The 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project welcomes public participation. Guests who purchase tickets to cruise on one of two daily trips alongside dolphin researchers aboard the Dolphin Explorer boat become citizen scientists through onboard involvement in dolphin survey activities, in addition to providing financial support with their ticket purchase. Children participate alongside researchers to complete the "Dolphin Challenge" and assist with photo identification, behavior evaluation and more. Visitors may reserve passage online in advance of their visit at: www.zerve.com/DolphinTours.


In addition to public cruises, the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project also offers an environmental studies program designed for elementary schools that is highlighted by live video reports from the boat. The Project is funded and managed by Sea Excursions, Inc., a provider of water-related activities and services to visitors, residents, groups and hotels in Southwest Florida.


For more information about Florida's Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades — or to schedule a trip, visit www.paradisecoast.com.


Photo: 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project



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