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Remember those days in school? When the words ‘Field Trip’ sparked such excitement? Field Trips might have been one of my best classes! Today we have a field trip planned. I am taking the kids to the local aquarium downtown this morning (the official South Carolina Aquarium). I was excited!

Sand Dollars sparkling in the surf

Field Trips just weren’t about getting out of class to me. It was a time for discovery. I love finding things, noticing small animals, seeing why things are the way they are. It is one reason I enjoy going to the beach so much. The discovery of new things, shells, crabs, strange living creatures, mollusks living in shells and so on. You never know what you might find?

Today I was happy for my kids. The aquarium is not a huge place but it does have a lot of interactive things for the kids to draw them in. A new exhibit they offered was the saltwater marsh and feeding the rays, as we put a small shrimp in the end of the stick and watch the rays hover up to it and gulp it up.

We're not going to feed the gator

The aquarium has the always enjoyable otter tank with the little cutties swimming around. Lots of snakes and reptiles. Plenty of turtles that populate our area, both inland and in the sea. Exhibits on the tides and evolution of shells. Even an albino Alligator. Very curious! Let the day of discovery begin!

We entered the aquarium and my girls ran right by the Bald Eagle exhibit, right into the river otter display. Once there they found one or two large puddles to play in! Onward into the swamp and marsh displays, where they darted right by the solitary albino gator, finding much more enjoyment pressing the buttons that replicate all the sounds of the swamp (crickets, owls, etc.).

Next was the outdoors tidal display where my girls could feed the rays. This was so cool! Wait! Where are they? They ran back to the kids play tug boat. Dylan was steering it and blowing the horn. My two year old found a turtle she could climb on and slide off. Those rays will just have to go hungry I thought!

Finally, my kids ran through the outdoor tidal display, scattering the wrens and seagulls. Even the fish hid for their life from this kiddie romp!

These two fish feared they might be found

In the next room was our favorite, the two-story deep water fish display. This tank had the barracudas, sharks, puffers, groupers, colorful reef fish and more. Being an avid diver I couldn’t wait for the girls to see this in hope they’ll want to learn to dive with us as early as possible.

Those are her new red shoes on the carpet

I held my two year old up to the glass as the shark swam by but all the excitement behind her caught her attention. It seems toddlers would rather ‘discover’ the joy of climbing on a fake whale, and sliding off the tail, than the discovery of seeing a real mini sperm whale through the glass. The fish, bigger than she was in most instances, were just no match for the smooth plastic slide off a whales bum. I wondered if they knew these fish were even real?

"Hey! Get back here!"

I herded my kids once again and tried to make my way to the restroom. ~ you know how the sound of running water can affect you ~  Instead, they have the idea of running all the way back to the play tug boat and sea turtle. Help!

We finally make it through the doors, outside into the overcast day where their energy and enthusiasm had no end. Because outside…they could chase more seagulls!

Hold still !

Not even a photo op with Mr. Frog could hold their attention.

Not when there was the supersonic ray gun pointed up to the stars where they could shoot down enemy planes landing at our local airport. Discovery!

Their discovery ended when they found out the ‘ray gun’ needed 5 quarters to make it work.

"Skylar, maybe you could shoot this bird instead"

Is it nap time yet?

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