As I homeschool and travel with our grandson, E.J., I like to take advantage of the various learning resources available at museums, science centers, and other spots we visit. By checking out their websites ahead of time, I can put together notebooking pages or ideas on activities that will tie in with the topic(s) at hand.
One of the many marine life facilities that we like to visit is The Seas Pavilion at Epcot Center (Walt Disney World®), where science, particularly marine biology, is at the top of the list for interactive learning.
Nemo and Friends
E.J. loves sea life and would spend his entire day at the aquarium if you let him, so a visit to The Seas Pavilion is always popular. There are all kinds of sea creatures, including dolphins, rays, angelfish, turtles, jellyfish, manatees, and sharks.
There is much to see and do at Seabase (undersea habitat at The Seas Pavilion), from a typical ride attraction to a behind-the-scenes tour. I love wandering between the small tanks and watching the “jellies” popping up and down in the water.
Bruce’s Sub House
This is an interactive area where kids can play and climb right into the mouth of a shark (Bruce from Finding Nemo), and then read and learn about all types of sharks.
Did you know…
- Great white sharks are not mindless killing machines. They can go for more than three months without eating anything!
- A bull shark is considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world!
- Hammerhead sharks’ eyes are spread apart, giving them a great view. There are nine different types of hammerheads.
The Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium is where kids can watch over 4000 sea creatures (about 60 species) swim all around them. The cast members are terrific in this area and love to answer kids’ questions anytime, and also describe the different species, at feeding times, twice a day.
Turtle Talk with Crush is a fun spot where children interact with Crush, the Sea Turtle, by asking questions that he answers for them. And they do have questions. Did you know that a nest of turtles will have all girls or all boys, when they hatch, depending on the temperature of the sand?
Kids learn how they can help save these protected creatures by using reusable grocery bags (plastic ones are dangerous when they get into the oceans and threaten sea life), hold onto their balloons, because broken ones can be mistaken for food, and talk to their parents about sustainable seafood options that do not harm sea turtles.
At times I worry that, with our travel and eclectic learning style, E.J. is missing out on some things, but then we take stock and realize just how full his education is. Of course, we always make sure to get the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic in, but then allow our experiences to lead the way for the rest. Learning can happen anywhere, even in a theme park.
*This post was originally published on The Old Schoolhouse magazine’s Homeschooling with Heart blog on August 23, 2018. Click the link below to check it out.