Newfoundland: St. John’s, A Wildland Family Adventure WOW! Factor with Whales, Puffins, and Vikings.
Each summer award-winning Wildland Tours offers a family vacation program with emphasis on whales and wildlife. This unique marine experience is designed to excite budding marine biologists and family adventurers. For families who love sharing adventures it is not-to-be-missed.
Here's the scoop.
Newfoundland, located at the absolute east of North America is an ocean playground if you happen to be a whale or a seabird. Every summer the world's largest gathering of acrobatic humpback whales joins some of the planet's largest colonies of puffins and other seabirds. A dramatic coastline, additional varieties of whale and dolphin, and some of the ocean's most famous stories add to the family fun.
The Newfoundland Family Wildlife Adventure includes some truly memory making activities. Learn about a salmon restoration project; a zodiac ride out to explore the dramatic coastline south of St. John's; visit the Geo Centre in St. John's; wander The Salmonier Nature Park; count chicks at the continent's largest puffin colony; learn to speak whale; stand on the most easterly point of land in North America; enjoy the colours of the Northern Lights - captured in Labradorite.
"Our Dad is marine biologist and asked us to help him host a special travel program for kids with their parents or grandparents." says 11 year old Jennifer Snow. "Over the past few years my sister and I have helped our father with group family trips and it has been lots of fun. We go on boats, hang out with whales, and meet lots of kids from around the world. Plus we go to our favorite swimming hole and we always find new places to explore and have fun."
"This learning vacation is also a cultural introduction to the peoples who have enjoyed the coastal lifestyle here over the past 5000 years," adds Jennifer's dad, David Snow, who is the program leader. "We always make sure our family programs tell the stories of Newfoundland and Labrador but the most important thing is to keep kids and the adults travelling with them engaged and entertained. Everyone learns about the Vikings and the whales and how salmon jump but it is all experienced in the spirit of fun and adventure." Vacation with the best.
New to the family niche but not new to nature trips, in 2008 Wildland Tours was named one Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic Adventure. For more than twoo decades David and Wildland Tours have been hosting educational groups as they explored Newfoundland. Usually they hosted groups for other organizations like the Smithsonian Institution, and Johns Hopkins University's Centre for Creative Education. Now they run an annual Family Wildlife Adventure in the summer.
Something for everyone.
If your family has older children Wildland also has plenty on offer. Visit some of the world's most prominent geological spectacles at Gros Morne National Park; canoe the Gander River (if you're experienced) or else take a trip with a Gander River man on a world-famous Gander River boat; go windsurfing; try salmon, trout, or char fishing; walk the grounds of the only authenticated Viking landfall in North America; go whale watching or dolphin spotting. Go for the icebergs and whales.
Whale watching off Canada's most eastern shore has the added benefit of icebergs in the area. Both are commonly seen in the waters off the Viking Trail. Icebergs are huge chunks of 15,000-year-old ice that calve off the glaciers, which cover much of Greenland. These mammoth ice mountains are carried south by the Labrador Current and pass very close to the Viking Trail. The best months to view the bergs are May, June, and July.
About 20 species of whales are found in the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. Most commonly seen are minke, humpback and fin whales. These mammals are present year-round but are usually spotted from June to August, when they come closer to land in search of food. The small fish known as capelin, for example, form an important part of the diet of the humpback and minke whales, which chase the capelin as they come ashore to spawn. About Wildland Tours of Newfoundland.
They truly leave nothing behind but footprints and take special care not to harass the whales, seabirds, and other wildlife during excursions. They guide smaller groups in order not to stress the animals (including whales). They have invested large amounts of time and effort into developing guidelines for the eco-tourism industry in Canada. Make it happen.
Wildland Tours Family Adventures in Newfoundland. 124 Water Street, P.O. Box 383 St. John's, NL A1C 5J9 Canada. Toll- free 1-888-615-8279, (709) 722-3123 or www.wildlands.com
Content provided by Patti-Lynn Coleman; images provided by Wildland Tours; comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac, editor FTF. Copyright 2013.