As much as we can research animals on the internet or even go to the oceans or rivers, there is no comparison like seeing species right before your eyes. Watching videos of animals does not accurately portray the size, proportion or behavior of the animal. Watching sharks swim over your head and getting face to face with the most exotic marine life at
Indiana Oceans will be mesmerizing like nothing else.
For infants, there will be extensive visual stimulation which is great for their cognitive development. Talk about what they are seeing and identify animals. For toddlers, this is a great location to further develop vocabulary through identification. Read the signs posted and not only will they learn new words, you might as well. More importantly, reading out loud is great modeling that encourages your children to enjoy reading. For preschoolers, go a step beyond and discuss comparisons. While for my children, most fish are going to be fish, we have started identifying penguins as such and not birds.
At one point Christopher Columbus mistakenly identified manatees as mermaids. If you don’t know what a manatee is then go visit an aquarium! There are unusual life forms under the sea and thus it is a great place to spark your child’s imagination. The diverse colors, shapes and textures can provide inspiration for our imagination. Visiting aquariums has helped me redefine what lives in the water and will definitely surprise you and your family.
Touch Tanks are usually one of the features available for the curious. Our eyes will definitely have plenty of visual stimulation, but we also absorb information through touch. For children, it is another method to better understand our world. In some of the aquariums we have visited our children have touched: sharks (the nice friendly kind), Stingrays, shrimp, hermit crabs and starfish to name a few. The tactile feedback provides another layer to this learning experience.