By: Deanne Rebro | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: June 2010
Kids at Summer SeaCamp 2010 can meet and greet Xena, an albino Burmese python, and learn more about her from Education Specialist Michelle Zarantonello.
Learning has never been more fun than at Summer SeaCamp 2010 at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. The seventh annual SeaCamp offers a week of games, crafts, scavenger hunts, hands-on encounters with animals and outdoor fun for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade.
This year’s theme, “Surf and Turf,” focuses not just on aquatic animals, but on land animals that also spend time in the water. Animals with feathers to fins will be represented in four one-week sessions that begin on June 14.
Education Specialist Michelle Zarantonello promises excitement and learning experiences in a fun and positive environment. Each day she will present a different program in the QuikTrip Education Wetlabs and Classrooms at the aquarium. “Seals and Sea Lions,” “8 Armed Bandits,” “Creep Show,” “What Bugs You?” and “Shorebirds” are the main topics.
Michelle admits one of her favorites is “Creep Show.” Here the reptile expert will let kids meet and greet Xena, an albino Burmese python. This docile little girl is a mere six-and-a-half feet long. Campers will have the opportunity to pet her and learn more about her life habits.
“Kids are naturally curious,” says Michelle. “They want to know what the different animal skins feel like. They touch and find out. We give them the opportunity to use their senses and discover things they may never encounter otherwise.” As the children make these discoveries, Michelle will give them what she calls “bio facts” to enhance their learning experience.
The “What Bugs You?” presentation will feature big-screen X-rays of various insects. The star that day is a real live black widow spider. Youngsters will not touch this one. She is tightly secured in a viewing box for up-close, yet safe examination.
Age-appropriate experiments each day will provide participants with a better understanding of how certain things in nature work the way they do. Groups are separated by grades K through second and third through fifth. An outdoor water day for everyone includes a special water slide on site and fishing in the Zebco Casting Pond.
Each camp day begins with an hour in one of the aquarium’s eight galleries. They’ll have a chance to see a shark fed from above the shark tank and other behind-the-scenes activities. They also might get up close to two 200-pound sea turtles. In their natural habitat, the sea turtles swim each year from the coast of California to Japan and back. At the aquarium, they swim around their tank looking at people and hoping they have food for them.
Cost of SeaCamp 2010 is $200 for the entire week. Aquarium members receive a 10 percent discount. Camp begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Working parents can drop off their kids as early as 8 a.m. and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m. There is a $5 additional charge for either before care or after care.
The first SeaCamp 2010 session is June 14-18. The program will repeat June 21-25, July 12-16 and July 19-23. Space is limited to 40 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pre-registration is required. For more information or online registration, visit www.okaquarium.org, or you may call (918) 528-1508.