Nearly every preschooler around will have a fantastic time when they visit an aquarium. From the large sea mammals to the shark tanks, to the children’s exhibits, everything at the aquarium will be endlessly fascinating for your child. There are a few ways to make the trip even more exciting though.
Before you go, why not spend time watching short documentary movies about aquatic life with your child or reading marine themed books. You could also look at websites about sea creatures, and even the aquariums own site, so that you and your child can plan which exhibits you want to see, and when.
Find out when the animals are going to be fed. Whether it’s penguins getting their fish or divers in the shark tank, these are some of the most exciting events at the aquarium and ones that your child is sure to enjoy.
If you can get a map of the aquarium, it’s also a good idea to plan your route and make note of exhibits that your child is especially interested in seeing. Make up a short itinerary, to make sure you see them all.
When you go to the aquarium, make sure that you take advantage of the guides that are often stationed at exhibits. They can share interesting facts with your child and make the experience more fun, as well as teaching your child more about sea life.
Spend time at each exhibit and observe the animals’ behaviour. This is often better than trying to rush through everything, and if you have to plan several short trips so that your child can take it all in, then do that.
While you’re there, and particularly if the aquarium has an exhibit on pollution and commercial fishing, you could mention conservation to your child, but don’t make it the focus of the trip. Also make sure that you spend time at the ‘touch me’ exhibits, where your child can spend time handling seaweed, shells and other sea life. It makes the whole trip a lot more personal.
You can make things a lot easier on your trip if you plan ahead by bringing things like your child’s buggy, snacks and drinks, a camera and a magnifying glass for tiny species along. When you go home be sure to integrate what you’ve learned into games and read more books about fish, marine mammals and the other creatures you’ve seen.
Another great idea to ‘bring the aquarium home’ with you is to plan a trip to the beach or to the ocean. Your child will have lots of fun finding shells, seaweed and other sea creatures that he or she has seen in the aquarium.