Yesterday I took the kids to the Aquarium. We've been 3 or 4 times before, but this was our most lengthy and worthwhile trip ever. The line to get in was longer than usual, and there were way more people there than we are used to, but the kids did great. They stayed with me, obeyed pretty well, and didn't complain (until the end when Maddux's feet were tired).
Eli has been intrigued by sharks this summer due to his Swim Team (their mascot is a shark), and both kids have been interested in most marine life because of the National Geographic specials we've been watching each week. They were both very excited to see the dolphins and whale sharks, and of course the spider crabs, which have always been their favorites.
We arrived just before lunch and had a quick snack. (I snuck a few granola bars in. Not really 'right', and I didn't make it obvious to the kids that I was bending the rules. After the pricy ticket to get in teh door, I couldn't justify overpriced food.) Eli and Maddux poured over the map while we ate, pointing to each section and shouting, "I wanna go there!" each time they saw something they liked. We went through each section except the River Scout, only because we'd already been there so long by that point. Eli got all into the huge tank with the whale sharks, pointing out each shark and verifying their name with me. Maddux loved the colorful fish, and the big 'ugly' grouper. The dolphin exhibit wasn't that exciting, and I didn't get tickets for the show because they were sold out until much later in the afternoon. Eli and Maddux did put hands in the shark and ray tank this time, both with success. They've dunked their fingers before, but only as a faux attempt. Eli caught one dorsal fin and a two-finger swipe at a ray, and Maddux touched a little bit of shark skin. Very cool.
I did something that I've never done before: I let them each pick out one souvenir. (Yikes!) I was a bit picky about what they could choose. A plastic container of candy shaped as a fish was off-limits, but a dolphin necklace was allowed....you get the picture. Eli picked out a bag of hard plastic sharks; 7 different kinds. Maddux picked a container of small plastic sea animals, similar to the large ones she collects. They both played with them the rest of the day and named most of them correctly. Very good day!