A wildlife refuge, a tea party, an outdoor sculpture garden, museums and even a wastewater treatment plant are the destinations for in-person Si Beagle Learning Center outings from late March to early June.
It is the first spring since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with a full menu of day trips in the New York City metropolitan region and Florida.
Retired teacher Sandy Eisenberg, who has been coordinating Si Beagle in-person trips for almost 30 years, is organizing five of the many retiree trips on offer this spring. One is a visit to the Asia Society and Museum in Manhattan for a Japanese tea ceremony. Another is a trip to Grounds for Sculpture in western New Jersey. A third is a Yonkers bus tour with stops at the Hudson River Museum, the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, the Glenview Mansion, a waste treatment plant and lunch at X20 Xaviers on the Hudson.
“I decided I wanted to start slow and start in-person again because I feel that brings people together,” Eisenberg said. “I cannot tell you how many people over the years have become good friends from going on tours with me.”
Eisenberg said she looks for unusual tours and opportunities. She first took retirees on a tour of the waste management plant years ago. “The response was so good,” she said. “I found it fascinating.”
Eisenberg also runs a Theater Club, and Retired Teachers Chapter trips to Broadway shows begin in March.
The Florida Si Beagle section is offering four bird watching/nature walks around Palm Beach County in the spring. A guide will take retirees on tours of the Peaceful Waters Sanctuary, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands and the Okeeheelee Nature Center.
The Bronx section of the RTC is offering trolley tours, walking tours, a trip to the National Jazz Museum of Harlem with lunch at Sylvia’s, a tea party and other outings, said Elizabeth Harris, a section coordinator. The section will hold a meeting in early April to plan dine-arounds, she added.
For the Mad Hatter Tea Party at Alice’s Tea Cup, UFT retirees attend an elaborate and filling afternoon tea at the 64th Street location in Manhattan.
“It’s just a wonderful tea party, and we haven’t done it for a while,” Harris said, “but we’re going back to it.”
Another planned trip is a trolley tour of Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where participants will see the burial places of jazz greats Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. Retirees can also visit the Orchid Show or go on a guided walking tour at the New York Botanical Garden. Other guided walking tours organized by the Bronx RTC section will be at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and at Rockefeller Center and Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
“I’m hoping we’ll have more people this year because we’ve added more to our trip schedule,” Harris said. “Last year we did it small because we weren’t sure who was ready to go out.”
For more information about these and other trips, visit Si Beagle Learning.