March 18-25, 2016
Join the American Museum of Natural History for a one-of-a-kind family-friendly expedition to Cuba!
Explore Cuba’s vibrant cultural and environmental diversity through the unique lens of Museum research and discovery on this custom-designed program, led by the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Director Ana Luz Porzecanski and Museum educator Daniel Zeiger.
This trip is limited to only 30 participants, so reserve your place today!
OPEN NEW DOORS TO CUBA through unparalleled access to scientists from American Museum of Natural History partner institutions, private tours, meetings, and activities with local community members and representatives of Cuba’s educational, cultural, and economic institutions.
ELEVATE THE CONVERSATION with prominent scholars and academicians on the impact of forces of change on Cuba’s economic structure.
HAVE FUN LEARNING through activities created by a Museum educator experienced in teaching science and engaging young people.
ENJOY PERFORMANCES by La Colmenita (The Little Beehive), the only children’s theater company in Cuba, and a visit to Angeles del Futuro (Angels of the Future), a renowned community project where children are trained in circus skills.
PLAY BALL with local Cuban families followed by a traditional barbecue.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE on a thrilling excursion to the western province of Pinar del Río, with its towering and majestic limestone hills, called mogotes.
CUT A RUG during a salsa dancing lesson and music workshop for the young and young-at-heart.
Dr. Porzecanski is a conservation biologist with experience in scientific research, education, and professional training. Her research has centered on the systematics and biogeography of South American arid land birds and on international environmental policy issues. She also has more than a decade of experience leading conservation capacity development projects, designing teaching materials for university professors and conservation professionals, and leading professional development projects for diverse audiences of educators in Latin America, Africa, and the United States. She has worked closely with local collaborators over the last three years to enhance opportunities for conservation training and education in Cuba.
In Daniel Zeiger’s 10 years at the American Museum of Natural History, he has inspired a love of nature and a sparked wonder at the mysteries of the world in hundreds of thousands of children. He develops experiences that allow children to take on the role of a scientist and harness their observation skills to enrich their understanding of the natural world. A graduate of Haverford College and Bank Street College of Education, he combines his understanding of the principles of scientific practice with the latest research on how people learn to support the mission of the Museum. He is also a biodiversity buff and is looking forward to introducing young travelers to the remarkable flora and fauna of Cuba.
FRIDAY, MARCH 18 NEW YORK > HAVANA Depart at noon on a direct scheduled charter flight from New York to Havana. On the way to the hotel, stop at Plaza de la Revolución, one of the largest city squares in the world. In the early evening, join fellow travelers for a reception followed by dinner.
SATURDAY, MARCH 19 HAVANA Spend the morning exploring the many public squares of Old Havana. Stop at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural where the simple exhibits focus on the flora and fauna of Cuba. After lunch, an architectural historian introduces us to Havana’s many neighborhoods, including a stop at Parque Coppelia, the best ice-cream parlor in Cuba. Back at the hotel, the children gather for an introductory educational activity while the adults participate in a roundtable discussion with economist Ricardo Torres on the “Changing Forces of Cuba’s Economic Structure.” Dinner tonight is at Café del Oriente.
SUNDAY, MARCH 20 HAVANA Meet Norma Guillard, one of the young literacy workers who, in 1961, traveled across the island to teach reading and writing in rural communities as part of Castro’s successful campaign to eradicate illiteracy in the country. Then drive to the Plaza San Francisco for a performance by La Colmenita (The Little Beehive), the only children’s theater company in Cuba. Afterwards, join the young actors and the director for snacks at Plaza Vieja. Continue to the iconic Hotel Nacional and walk through the Hall of Fame. Spot Johnny Depp amongst the hundreds of photographs of famous guests of the hotel. Lunch is at La Barraca Restaurant, located outside on the grounds of the Nacional, overlooking the Malacón. Afternoon activities include an introduction to Santería with practitioner Elias Aseff and a visit to a home to learn more about this religion that combines African beliefs and Catholicism. End the day with an interactive musical workshop designed to teach participants about Cuban instruments and music followed by a traditional dinner at El Aljibe restaurant.
MONDAY, MARCH 21 HAVANA Visit Vivero Alamar, an example of Cuba’s urban agriculture initiative, where we tour the farm and see the crops and animals raised there. Continue to Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba for a catered lunch. While the adults participate in a discussion of Cuba’s biodiversity, the youngsters explore the garden. Afterwards, stop at the nearby home of Ernest Hemingway, which has been beautifully preserved by the Cuban government. End the afternoon at the Presidential Palace, now known as the Museo de la Revolución. Dinner tonight is at a local paladar.
TUESDAY, MARCH 22 HAVANA Visit the Ángeles del Futuro (Angels of the Future) project that trains children ages 7–15 in circus skills. Drive though Jaimanitas, the neighborhood that was transformed by local mosaic artist José Fuster. Team up with residents on a community beautification project. A delicious lunch is served at Mr. Fuster’s home. In the afternoon, enjoy a private performance of the dance/musical group Havana Compass, combining Spanish dance forms, Afro-Cuban Jazz rhythms, and modern dance. Move to the beat during a private salsa lesson on the rooftop of the Plaza Hotel in Old Havana. Dinner is at leisure tonight.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23 PINAR DEL RIO Depart for a full-day excursion to Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba, with its jungle- covered summits dropping down limestone cliffs to verdant valleys. Stop at the Soroa Orchid Farm, which is maintained by the University of Pinar del Rio. Continue to the Valle de Viñales National Park. After a tour of Finca Ecología, an extensive family-run organic farm, enjoy lunch made with locally grown ingredients. Biologist Dr. Emma Palacios Lemagne shares her knowledge of species endemic to the region. Drive back to Havana for dinner at a paladar.
THURSDAY, MARCH 24 HAVANA Meet for a round-table discussion on contemporary life in Cuba with Dr. Rena Pérez, formerly with the Ministry of Agriculture and now an advisor to the Ministry of Sugar. Then visit the Teatro Nacional de Cuba to watch a rehearsal of the Danza Contemporánea de Cuba. This extraordinary dance group combines the techniques of classical ballet and American modern dance with the rippling spines and head rolls of traditional or Afro-Cuban dance. Local families join us for a traditional barbecue and a game of baseball. Enjoy an early evening private performance of the young women’s orchestra, Camerata Romeu.
FRIDAY, MARCH 25 HAVANA > NEW YORK Contemporary art curator, Lucila Fernandez, guides us through the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: Arte Cubano (Cuban Collection). Close by is Arta Corte, a neighborhood restoration project that includes a school for hairstylists. Enjoy a popular playground with a barbershop theme—think giant barber poles! After lunch, we bid Havana farewell and depart for the airport for our late-afternoon charter flight home.
Double Occupancy $6,495 per person
Single Supplement $1,095
$500 reduction for participants 12 years of age and younger
Rates are based on a minimum of 20 participants and a maximum of 30 participants.
To guarantee your place on this unique Museum journey, please contact us today.
Assoc. Director of Expeditions