I often take my preschooler son to our local aquarium – Via Aquarium in the Rotterdam Mall, Schenectady, NY. For him, it’s not just learning about the animals. The tanks full of sea creatures are extremely soothing for his senses.
- Looking at all the fishes swimming around remind him of the wonderful days at the beach that we spent in the summer.
- Stopping at the water table to experiment with the flow of water is a must especially when there are many boats around.
- Feeding the Koi fishes at the Koi pond always give him a giggle as the wet fish lips touch his fingers.
- Trying to be still to get the sting rays to come over and kiss his fingers is about the only activity he will be still for these days.
At the Via Aquarium, there are tanks of various sea creatures from different parts of the world: Amazon, Thailand etc..
Spotting a shark in one of the tanks and singing the shark song is such a fun activity, no matter how many times we go, we have to do it.
JJ often lingers at the large screen where a real “shark diving” film is shown. For some reason, he loves to wait for the “hammerhead” shark that swims by and point that out.
JJ also loves to see the amazing spider crabs with legs as long as your arms crawl around in the tank. He will point them out: “Climb, Climb, Crab!”
Just when you think it’s the end of your aquarium day, you come upon the most colorful tank of the whole aquarium, it’s a tank full of colorful fishes from the tropical reefs.
On the right side of the tank, the shark cage prompts my son to initiate a game of “chase me, mommy shark.”
Finally, running through the aquarium tunnel where you can see the fishes swim on top of your head is such a real treat. The tank gives you the feeling of “diving” in the ocean with all these sea creatures around. JJ will often run through this tunnel several times before he is entirely satisfied with the visit.
The best way to explore the aquarium is really to buy a membership pass for the year. We find that each time we go back, there’s something else to learn. Just to take part in the different events that are at the aquarium all throughout the year is well worth the price.
Currently, the reptile show is going on, it’s an hour long, and as a member it is free. JJ got to touch a turtle and a snake. We found out that a snake’s skin is actually quite soft.
Since JJ acquired a marine animals obsession going to this aquarium, we have been going about once a week. Even then, JJ likes to take it slow so we go in and out of the aquarium with breaks in between so that we can see everything.
As a preschooler, it’s often difficult to learn the first time around. After multiple entries and exits, JJ always learns something new about a sea creature that he didn’t know before the visit.
Now, do you feel like visiting an aquarium or a zoo with your family? I hope your time will be as fun as ours. If you are in the upstate NY area, please visit the Via Aquarium. It’s a destination that you won’t want to miss.
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