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Sea Squirts and Other Children: Programs for All Ages

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Education | Volunteering

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Josie

Ah, summer! With it again have come lots of fun things for children to do here at the Aquarium of the Pacific, and our summer camp programs, including Sea Squirt day camp for youngsters ages 5 and 6, are no exception! These programs provide young people with educational, fun-filled days that bring fun to Aquarium volunteers as well (at least to me!), as we hear comments that the youngsters make while they march around the facility following their leaders to learn more about our exciting animals in their protected environments.

The other day, while my volunteers and I were at the Seal and Sea Lion Exhibit attending one of our regular Volunteer Updates (weekly, all education volunteers receive 30-minute updates on new animals and/or get mini-refresher courses on a particular creature or creatures) a group of children came to take a look at our marine mammals.

In an effort not to disturb us by walking between our little group, their leader, one of our wonderful educators, had the children walk up the steps that make up the seating area for people who gather to watch the seal and sea Lion shows that run periodically throughout the day.

Even though we indicated that they could walk between us, their leader said that climbing up the steps was okay. “This is more fun anyway,” she said, which was obvious, we realized, as we heard the children giggling and saw their broad smiles as they detoured around behind us and then back down again to get to the exhibit’s viewing window.

Fun was being had by all the children, that is, with the exception of two little boys who straggled well behind the rest of their group with frowns on their faces, followed closely by another Aquarium educator. As they neared us, we heard the educator patiently talking to these two temporarily unhappy campers.

“Today, you’ll get to be first in line,” she told one of them, then turned to the other, continuing, “and you’ll be able to be first tomorrow. That way, you can both be first,” at which they both smiled.

:)

(She later told me that the two were so upset because each wanted to be first in an early morning activity and that she had to cajole them to follow their group up the stairs to get to the lesson on marine mammals. Her calm and logical manner of dealing with them resolved the issue immediately; we have such great educators who really do know how to deal with children of all ages!)

Later in the day, after the Sea Squirt Camp had ended, one of its participants, a 6 year old, was touring the Aquarium with his parents and siblings, still wearing the construction paper snorkeling mask that the children receive during their session together.

I was at Shark Lagoon when I saw him and knowing how children love to pretend, I turned to him and excitedly remarked that we had a diver in our midst. “How is the diving today,” I asked him. To this, the boy turned to me with a serious look on his face. After a short pause, he pointed to the “mask” and told me, “This is fake.” It was all I could do not to laugh aloud!

Children can come up with the funniest comments! :-) :-) :-)

For those of you who are interested in giving your youngsters fun-filled, educational experiences, you don’t have to be disappointed that summer is ending because at the Aquarium of the Pacific, we have children’s programs throughout the school year as well.

Programs for children ages 6 and younger include our Sea Life Stroll, which is specifically designed for parents with children in strollers (one hour in length), Aqua Tots (90-minute sessions for children ages 2 and 3 with a parent or other adult chaperone), Saturday Family Fun (90-minute sessions for ages 4 to 6, also with a parent or other adult chaperone), and Preschool Programs (two-hour sessions for preschoolers to explore independently of their parents). You can learn more about these programs here.

Older children can enjoy experiences designed especially for them, including our Junior Biologist and Pacific Explorer programs for ages 7 to 12 and our Job Shadow program for ages 12 and older. For more information on these, please visit us here for ages 7 to 12 and here for the Job Shadow Programs.

Children’s programs at the Aquarium of the Pacific are a GREAT way to give your youngsters introductions and continued education into the wonderful creatures and habitats that await them under the sea! Why don’t you consider enrolling your children today?

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