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Course Catalog > EXPLORING LIFE & LEISURE > Classroom on Wheels (COW) > Day Tripping

Day Trip: Babcock Preserve ECO Tour & FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center-Punta Gorda, FL (incl admissions)   

Discover the Natural Heart of Florida - We will begin the day with a tour of the Crescent B Ranch, part of the Babcock Preserve. 

The Swamp Buggy tour will include the Telegraph Cypress Swamp.  You will see a working cattle ranch and natural wildlife of the historic Babcock Ranch.  The tour travels through part of 14,000 acres of pasture and ecosystems. 

We will enjoy lunch at the Gator Shack Restaurant on the Babcock Ranch.   You will order off the menu. 

The Hometown of Tomorrow - Following lunch, we will re-board our bus and travel to the Discovery Center at the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Community.  It was the first solar-powered town in America.  It is in northwest Florida, north of Ft. Myers.  The 400+ acre community features single-family homes, condominiums townhouses, and a few businesses. It is a planned community built to withstand severe weather and powered by solar.  There is an 870-acre solar field with 650,000 individual solar panels operated by FPL.  It will power up to 50,000 homes, although there are only about 5,000 homes on Babcock Ranch.  The excess power goes back on the grid to power surrounding communities.  On cloudy days and nights, a natural gas generator fills the gap.  

The Community Center doubles as a reinforced storm shelter.  The development is thirty miles inland to avoid coastal storm surge.  Powerlines are underground.  Large retention ponds surround the development to protect homes from flooding.  They designed the streets to absorb floodwaters.  Babcock Ranch is the brainchild of Syd Kitson, a former professional football player in the 1980s with the Green Bay Packers.  We will visit the Discovery Center for a presentation about this solar community and tour a couple of models before heading home.

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Adult & Community Enrichment Center at Suncoast Technical College | Grades: Adults | Website:
Danelle Gilberti, Program Manager | Phone: 941-361-6590 | Fax: 941-925-6662
Address: 4748 Beneva Road | Sarasota, Florida 34233 | Map it.

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