Looking for ways to extend learning for your homeschooled kiddos? Or maybe you want to keep you child’s brain in check during the summer? We’ve got seven ways Georgia Aquarium can help you do just that!
My kids are homeschooled by yours truly – most of the time. A few days a week they team up with a group of mixed-age, self-directed learners at Sudbury School of Atlanta. Last week, I had the pleasure of chaperoning this amazing group of kids through a Georgia Aquarium field trip…and it was spectacular.
I loved seeing their eyes light up during the dive presentations…I loved seeing their nose wrinkle as they explored the touch tanks…and I loved hearing about all the new things they learned as we made our way back to the school.
Animal Awareness Days
When I asked the kiddos on our field trip about their favorite animal, I heard Whale Shark, Sea Otter, and Penguin from almost everyone! That’s why I love the aquarium’s Animal Awareness Days so much (and also why you definitely need a membership – so that it’s easy to come again and again.)
Georgia Aquarium observes numerous animal awareness days throughout the year, such as International Whale Shark Day on Aug. 30 and Sea Otter Day on Sept 29. These days offer special programming and activities to teach visitors about the different species and the role Georgia Aquarium plays to help conserve them.
Awareness days often fall on weekdays, making them a great way for homeschooled kids and parents to take a deeper, hands-on dive into the different species, many of which are endangered.
Upcoming animal awareness days include:
- Endangered Species Day, May 18
- World Oceans Day, June 8-10
- Whale Shark Day, Aug. 30
- Sea Otter Day, Sept. 29
- Cephalopod Days, Oct. 8-10
Download Georgia Aquarium’s mobile app to take a deeper dive into the Aquarium and enhance your visit. You can access the Georgia Aquarium map, must-see daily events and Animal Guides, purchase tickets, receive updates on show times, character appearances and so much more.
While I love to take advantage of the app BEFORE we go and WHILE we are there…I also love the help that the aquarium provides homeschool parents help AFTER your visit is over. Just head over here, and check out the “teacher’s guide” under Instructor-led Programs for the appropriate ago of your kiddo. There are great post-visit activity ideas to help extend your experience.
You can brush up on your marine life knowledge with Georgia Aquarium’s online Animal Guide. I like to take note of the animals my kids find especially interesting on our visit…and then look them up together when we get home.
For example, the little guy was enamored with the “Pot-bellied Seahorse” after one visit, so we found more about him here.
Don’t miss the animal guides that are available throughout the aquarium, too (like the one Cooper is holding in the photo above.) It’s a great learning tool for older kids…and makes a great “I Spy” game for the younger ones.
Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone
Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone invites kiddos of all ages to embark on an exciting, educational journey through the Aquarium’s upper levels while completing a series of entertaining challenges. Participants also have the chance to become a certified Georgia Aquarium Aquanaut, or Aquarium Scientist, after completing their journey!
My favorite part? The exhibits are mostly hands-on…which is the best way for kids to learn! Look through a microscope, see the organs of a penguin and how they work together, understand bone structures in sea otters….
I love the bright colors and engaging graphics….and so did the kids! Plan to spend about 45 minutes exploring this area!
Touch pools are located in Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest and Aquanaut Adventure on the second level.
Pro tip: the touch tank on the second level is the best one in the Aquarium for young children to be able to reach and see the animals. It has acrylic viewing around the outside of the tank that allows children of all heights to see.
I think touch tanks are so important for kids. They inspire kids by letting them get up close and personal with an animal…and when we can see and experience it, we’re more likely to care for it….and when we care for it, we protect it and love it…which is the mission Georgia Aquarium shares everyday.
Dive presentations in Ocean Voyager occur daily at noon and 12:30 p.m.; and in Tropical Diver at 10:30 a.m. We enjoyed hearing from the divers…but if I’m honest, the kids thought the best part was trying to get a selfie with them!
Seriously, though, don’t miss this. And don’t miss an opportunity to swim in Ocean Voyager yourself – with the whale sharks!
4-D Funbelievable Theater
Georgia Aquarium’s totally-renovated 4-D Funbelievable Theater offers rotating educational and entertainment-focused shows. Shark: A 4D Experience is now playing and brings you face-to-face with the mysterious and magnificent sharks species.
Just like the dolphin and sea lion shows, this is included with your general admission ticket. BUT, it is a timed event so take note of when you want to see the show, and plan to arrive about 15 minutes early.
There are so many fun, educational opportunities for us to be inspired by at Georgia Aquarium. Ready to plan your visit? If so, make sure you buy tickets online in advance (you’ll save money and time!) and remember to check out special ticket offers Georgia Aquarium has throughout the year at georgiaaquarium.org.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.