Seashore State Park offers summer programs for family

Each summer, millions of people visit Delaware’s beaches and drive along the undeveloped stretch of Route 1 between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach. But only some of those people realize that they are driving straight through a state park. And even those who regularly enjoy Delaware Seashore State Park as an access point to the beach, bay and inlet may not be aware of the wide variety of educational programs and events that are offered by park staff throughout the summer season.

Located about a mile north of the Indian River Inlet is the Indian River Life-Saving Station Museum. The site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, not only introduces visitors to Delaware’s maritime history, but it also acts as the anchor point for all educational programs offered by Delaware Seashore State Park. The programs range from kayaking and hiking to jewelry-making and museum tours.

Each week from June 17 to Aug. 16, park staff will be offering more than two dozen individual programs allowing visitors to experience the natural beauty and ecology of the Delaware coast, learn about the area’s maritime heritage, and try new recreational activities under the guidance of trained park staff.

For a fun and educational day on the water, two different pontoon boat tours will be offered every Thursday. Participants can choose to have a picnic lunch and explore the world of bay-dwelling creatures with the new Island Discovery Boat Tour or just sit back and enjoy the view with the classic Rehoboth Bay Sightseeing Tour.

For those who enjoy being active, Kayak Eco-Tours are offered every Tuesday through Friday morning. The trips provide participants with an opportunity to learn how to paddle while experiencing the sights and creatures of the bayside habitat and enjoying a unique view of the historic Indian River Life-Saving Station.

To learn about the various critters of the coast, visitors can check out the park’s newest programs: Jelly Jelly Jellyfish, From Beach to Bay, Marsh Walk and Clamming 101, as well as its classic programs: Seining the Bay and Crabbing 101. Each will cover a specific creature of habitat unique to the area.

The park also offers indoor programs for those looking to escape the heat. The Nautical Accessories course teaches a rotating set of maritime knots made into unique accessories and the Sea Glass Jewelry classes will teach step-by-step how to make pendants and earrings using sea glass and wire-wrapping techniques.

For night owls, Delaware Seashore State Park will also be offering several evening programs throughout the summer, including the Wild Crab Chase, in which families use flashlights to try to spot the nocturnal ghost crab. Lantern Tours, held on Wednesday evenings, allow visitors to tour the Indian River Life-Saving Station by lantern light and to experience what it was like to be a surfman, patrolling Delaware’s coast more than 100 years ago.

A full calendar of all of Delaware Seashore State Park’s summer programs can be found online at destateparks.com. For additional information, and to register for programs, call the Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991 or stop by and pick up a program guide.