In the middle of October, the Beginning Room had the opportunity to go on an urban adventure to the Seattle Aquarium. Tom McQueen and I led small groups over a three day period in order to experience the aquarium in a relaxed fashion. We were able to take an up-close look at deep water animals and at tide pools. Each day had different experiences and the children had various wonderings.
We hopped on the Metro bus and ventured downtown. The children talked to each other about what they saw out the window and pondered what they may see at the aquarium. We followed route fourteen through the International District where they noticed dragons and some remembered eating at the Chinese restaurant last year after our study of China. They got excited when they saw the arches of the sport stadiums. We got to see some of the first trial runs for the new train as our bus drove along the tracks. Some children were introspective, while others were experts on the city, sharing all they knew.
We hopped off the bus in the heart of downtown and “buddied up” to meander through noticing businesses. Many children mentioned that their parents worked here or there. We even saw two Lake and Park parents as we walked!
Each day was unique. Our first group enjoyed walking through Pike Place Market where they got to sample fresh Honeycrisp apples and view fresh seafood up close.
The next group went into the famous Metzgers Map to look at oceans from a different perspective. They sampled salmon candy at we navigated the market and found a spectacular view of Elliott Bay.
The third group attempted to see the fountain in Westlake, but it was under construction. We also got a close look at seafood and even glanced at the famous gum wall. They loved looking down at Elliott Bay and noticed all the ships going to and from Seattle.
Once at the aquarium, all children visited the tide pools, but each group followed its own interests. Some were amazed by the scuba diver and got to ask the diver questions directly. They noticed the different varieties of fish, eels, sea stars, and other sea life found in our local waters. Some got to see the harbor seals doing tricks for food. They also got to go out on the pier and smell the slightly salty air while imagining the creatures they just saw inside living in their natural habitat.
After we saw many parts of the aquarium they took time to reflect in different areas. The children took their time drawing detailed pictures of scuba divers feeding fish, floral-like sea anemones, spiky sea urchins, the young octopus named Jellybean, seals rolling over for fresh fish--and much more. The children’s drawings and descriptions will soon be on display, as well as collages they are making that depict the fish tanks, the bus, and other features that they remembered. Photos of the children are being incorporated into the collages. These will also be on display.