Costa Rica | Family Rainforest Camp

Costa Rica | Family Rainforest Camp

About this trip

The Florida Museum of Natural History invites you and your family to join them at Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve in Costa Rica. Explore fascinating wildlife and forest ecosystems, be immersed in the adventure of a living classroom, and participate in a hands-on, once-in-a-lifetime experience with Museum scientists.

This enriching program is for families with children ages 5-17. Minors should be accompanied by at least one parent or guardian. Participants will be divided into appropriate age groups for activities and workshops. 

Workshops conducted by Museum staff include:

  • Tools of the Trade: Hands-On Learning: Learn how to use your senses, microscopes and gadgets for finding, collecting and observing in the field.
  • Exploration Bird Hikes: Use your ears to listen for birds and then spot them using a scope.
  • Forest, Trees & Plants: Activities focus on sustainable growth and reforestation and include planting native trees.
  • Wonderful Water Bioblitz: Take a closer look at the fish, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic plants collected while dip netting. Use field tools, microscopes, and small water tanks for a closer look at hard-to-see organisms.


  • Discover rainforest ecology on guided hikes through Selva Verde Reserve’s rainforest. 
  • Learn about the importance of biological corridors and conservation.
  • Participate in a reforestation project by planting native trees on local farms to help strengthen the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
  • Meet children from a local community and learn about their daily life and culture while playing games together.
  • Go birding with local ornithologists to search for macaws, toucans, and other tropical birds.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Continue your Costa Rica experience with a post-trip extension, July 6-9. See where the Museum’s butterfly pupae are raised at El Bosque Nuevo in Guanacaste, and observe bioluminescence at Playa Rajada.
PLEASE NOTE: As safety and security are our highest priority, we have adopted extensive protocols to address COVID-19. Our field leaders are vaccinated and we require our travelers to be vaccinated. We follow strict field hygiene practices which are outlined on our website. If required, we arrange for Covid testing at the end of your program.

Reserve Risk-free - Registrations made for travel departing between now and December 31, 2022 are fully refundable with no cancellation penalties until the final payment deadline (95 days before departure). We strongly recommend purchasing travel protection.

Meet your leaders

Dave Blackburn

Dave Blackburn is the Curator of Herpetology in the Florida Museum of Natural History. In his role at the Florida Museum, Dave oversees research and curation of the museum’s scientific collection of amphibians and reptiles, which is among the top 10 of such collections in the US and the largest in the southeastern US. After completing college at the University of Chicago, he did his PhD at Harvard University, followed by three years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kansas and then four years as a curator at the California Academy of Sciences. The research by Dave and his students focuses on the diversity, evolution, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. To date, he has described 27 new species of frogs from Africa, South America, and Asia. Dave's work has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, the magazine Science, the children’s book “When Lunch Fights Back” by Rebecca Johnson, and Christopher Kemp’s recent book “The Lost Species.”

Lucas C. Majure

Lucas C. Majure is Curator of the University of Florida Herbarium at the Florida Museum of Natural History. He is a plant systematist, interested in understanding the diversity of green plants on the planet and actively works to describe that diversity, especially in the Americas. Majure is especially interested in the cactus family (Cactaceae), as well as other diverse, Neotropical plant families in both humid and dry forests of the Caribbean, one of the focal areas of his research. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2012 and came back to work as a professor/researcher/curator in the museum in Fall 2018.

Support research and education at the Florida Museum! A portion of your fees will go toward funding special programs at the museum. 


Jul 1, 2022

Upon arrival in San José meet your Florida Museum of Natural History camp leaders and Costa Rican guide. Depart for Selva Verde Lodge and Rainforest Reserve, situated on over 500 acres of tropical rainforest along the Sarapiquí River. Along the way you will stop for lunch, enjoy a Costa Rican meal and some time to get to know other group members. Upon arrival at Selva Verde check-in and gather for an introduction to the lodge and the exciting program you will be a part for the duration of your time in Costa Rica. Check-in time is 2 pm. ***Please schedule arrival flight into San Jose no later than 2:30 pm in order to arrive in time for group transfer to Chilamate. If you cannot find a flight that arrives before that time, we can assist with hotel arrangements for those needing to arrive a day early.

Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge and Reserve


Jul 2, 2022

This morning after breakfast participate in a "Tools-of- the-Trade" camp session. This will consist of hands-on field training using your senses as well as tools such as microscopes, field guides, and gadgets for finding and catching insects. Next, head into the rainforest for a guided hike with a naturalist guide. While in the forest do some collecting and bring a few finds back to the lab for further investigation. Adults will have the opportunity for more extensive exploration of the forest with a separate guide. After enjoying a traditional Costa Rican lunch be transferred to Llano Grande Community where you will meet a representative from the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) to learn about how they serve the community and local students. Meet the kids of this community to learn how they live and about their culture, also interact with them through traditional games and activities. Return to Selva Verde to discuss the day's activities, highlights, and what you learned. After dinner, attend a presentation on the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor, of which Selva Verde is a part, and the importance of biological corridors. Before turning in for the night, go on a hike in search of nocturnal creatures.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge and Reserve


Jul 3, 2022

Early this morning, set out for a bird and wildlife hike with stops along the way for observations. Your Costa Rican guide will have a scope, binoculars and field tools to make it interactive. This is a great time to focus on using your ears to listen for birds and the sounds of the forest, and compare them to already-recorded bird calls. After breakfast, visit a local farm to plant native tree species and learn how reforestation projects are vital to securing biological corridors (bring your own gloves). Back at Selva Verde, participate in a "Forest, Trees & Plants" camp session. Activities will focus on sustainable growth and reforestation, understanding biological corridors, and the importance of helping with tree plantings. After lunch, visit a local chocolate farm to learn how chocolate is transformed from fruit to final product - plus try freshly-made chocolate! Later in the afternoon enjoy free time at the pool before meeting up to recap sustainable farming and identify/examine the day’s findings. After dinner put on your headlamp and take a night hike to learn more about the frogs of Costa Rica.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge and Reserve


Jul 4, 2022

Early this morning take another bird walk in search of new species. After breakfast, we will have some free time to relax, play games, take an exploratory walk around the lodge or participate in an exciting zip line tour. After lunch enjoy a fun afternoon of whitewater rafting on Class I-III rapids. In the evening take a hike in search of nocturnal species, plus discover which insects are out at night. Learn how easy it is to do this at home!

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge and Reserve


Jul 5, 2022

This morning take a boat ride on the Rio Sarapiquí and learn about the importance of the river to the local community. During the ride get a firsthand look at fascinating wildlife and water fowl, with time for dip netting to learn about what lives below the surface. On the way back to the lodge discuss why some animals are seen on the river, and where they go when they are not around. What did you spot? Return to the lodge for lunch then participate in a "Wonderful Water" Bioblitz. Take a closer look at the fish, aquatic invertebrates and plants in nearby streams, and use dip nets, field tools, microscopes, and small tanks of water to get a closer look at these hard-to-see but important organisms. Before dinner
there will be time relax.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Selva Verde Lodge and Reserve

San Jose

Jul 6, 2022

This morning at leisure to enjoy the lodge's pool and bid farewell to Selva Verde. After lunch check-out and head to San José. Continue and check in to your San José hotel with time to rest. Farewel dinner this evening.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Wyndham Herradura

Jul 7, 2022

This morning transfer to the airport for your flight home. Check-out time 12:00pm

Breakfast- included