Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Mystic Aquarium

     The younger boys and I typically spend our Saturday's hanging around the house waiting for my husband and oldest son to come home from work.  I've been getting annoyed with the non- stop TV and Video games and I'm getting bored sitting around the house all the time so this week I decided to take the boys out for the day.   Mystic Aquarium is celebrating it's 40th birthday this weekend with a whole 2 day birthday extravaganza.  We're members of the aquarium and we haven't been in a while so I thought this would be a fun day.
     We headed out early since I figured being a weekend, and a special event weekend at that, it would be extra crowded.  We arrived and found that since we were one of the first 40 members to arrive today we received a free bag of ocean animal shaped pasta!  Yum!  We  headed into the Aquarium with our list of today's activities.  The boys wanted to head right to the bounce house obstacle course.  They played on that for quite a while and then we watched them feed the sea lions since they were right next door.  We got free cupcakes and the boys decorated them with sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.  When we approached the table the lady asked the boys to guess how many cupcakes they had lined up.  Evan guess 40, which Alec scoffed at since there were tons of cupcakes.  Then Alec asked how long the table was.  When he learned it was 14 feet I could see him thinking and counting/ estimating.  He finally told the lady he wasn't sure but he knew there were waaay more than 100.  She told us they had 1,500!  That's a lot of cupcakes!
      We watched the sea lion show (with some cute birthday themed music and pictures).  We got to pet the rays, touch a ball python, learn more about the black and white Tegu, and watch them feed the beluga whales and sharks.  We walked through the entire aquarium, seeing all the animals.  We watched the giant octopus moving around in it's tank, looked up close at the underside of the starfish, and watched all the different types of jelly fish swimming around.  It didn't feel that crowded at all!!
        The boys were able to get up close with the beluga whales and even paint pictures for them on the glass.  This was so amazing.  The whales were very interested in all the drawings and kept swimming up to the glass.  The boys eagerly drew and wrote names on the glass using washable paints.  They had so many new and unusual projects going on all day long.  We watched an amazing bubbleologist create giant bubbles, bubbles within bubbles, bubbles out of helium, square (cubed) bubbles and so much more.  He taught us a lot about bubbles and showed us many tricks to try at home.  He showed us how to encapsulate a bubble in a bottle, how to blow a bubble around a plastic toy, how to stack bubbles to make snowmen, spaceships and sculptures.   It was really neat.  The show took pace right in front of the sea lion's underwater viewing area and the sea lions kept coming up to the window.  The younger sea lions were very interested in the show and even tried to pop the bubbles with their noses.  It was so neat!
     We stayed for at least 4 hours and the boys wanted to play on the giant map before we left for home.   They kept jumping to places on the map and making me guess/ tell them where they were.  Alec knew most of the answers and Evan knew a few too.  It was fun and we made a game out of it with lots of giggling and jumping.  It was such a wonderfully fun & educational day.
Love that face! 

Watching the sea lion feeding

petting the rays

1,500 cupcakes is a lot of cupcakes

they sure are yummy looking! 

sea lion show today was birthday themed

Learning about the importance of our oceans

petting a ball python

Shark feeding time-- we learned a lot about sharks

watching the jelly fish

The boys enjoyed watching the octopus and seeing his tentacles-
did you know they use their tentacles to "smell?" 

checking out the star fish-- see his mouth? 

pretending to be lobsters

The Moray Eel was so close we could see it's teeth! 

shells and crabs up close
learning about snapping turtles-- up close

Playing with the beluga whales

Love that it looks like Alec is petting him! 

Say "AAH!"

Drawing pictures and stories for the whales

The whales kept checking it out!

relaxing at the penguin habitat

We sat and watched the penguins for 20 min! 

They were pretending the penguins were
dive bombing them! 

Testing out the large bubble wand before the show started

Best buds (today anyway)

The sea lions loved the bubbles

making a bubble snowman- complete with fog filling it up to look white!
     Alec read two and a half chapter books while we were driving in the car today.  He even read for a while to Evan, but Evan ended up taking a nap on the ride home.  All that fresh air, fun and walking must have tired him out.   I loved that a trip to the aquarium included reading, math, science, art and geography!   If you don't have plans for tomorrow and you live somewhat nearby I'd highly recommend taking a trip to Mystic Aquarium.  The birthday fun continues tomorrow and everything was included for free with admission! 

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