Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our Newport Aquarium Homeschool Field Trip Adventure!

As I type this post I am sitting here thoroughly exhausted from a very long, very whacky, very interesting, very tiring day!

We decided to take advantage of discounted tickets for Homeschool Days at Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY. With Big Brother's recent fascination with all things ocean, it was sure to be a hit. :)

So here's how our day went down:

6:30 a.m. Big Brother's alarm clock goes off...and he turns it off and immediately falls back to sleep. Daddy's alarm goes off and Little Brother and I sleep through it. Daddy gets up and gets ready. He's feeling like he's slept in since he's usually up for work by 4.

6:45 a.m. Everybody except Little Brother is up getting ready, eating breakfast, etc. We are supposed to meet another homeschooling family in town at 7:30 and plan to get to the aquarium around 10:00.

7:15 a.m. I finally get Little Brother awake, changed, and dressed. He just nursed at 5:30 so isn't interested in food yet. So I throw him some breakfast in the diaper bag to take with us in the car. We do our last minute scrambling around that must always accompany such trips, and we make it out the door...slightly after 7:30. :)

7:40 a.m. We meet up with our friends and start on our way. So far so good. :)

8:30 a.m. We end up sitting stopped in traffic. (Apparently there must have been an accident up ahead, but we never did see.) It is pouring the rain, the road has no shoulder, and there is mud everywhere.

9:15 a.m. We finally manage to figure out an alternate route and get turned around. Our friends needed to make a pit stop then we were finally back on our way!

10:30 a.m. Our GPS decides to play an early April Fool's prank on us!! It leads us within sight of the aquarium...but we are somehow at the exit for the parking garage rather than the entrance to it! Then as we are trying to figure this out, it sends us down a one way street...going the wrong way!! Long story short, we end up driving around aimlessly into Cincinnatti then back to Newport before finally finding a way to get into the aquarium parking garage. Our nerves are a mess by now!!

Sometime after 11 a.m. We are officially over an hour off schedule for the day! We finally make our way into the aquarium. Big Brother is immediately excited to see a huge replica of a humpback whale (his favorite!) at the entrance.

The aquarium exhibits both familiar fish native to KY waters along with more exotic creatures like sharks, jellyfish, rays, and fish native to the Amazon.

There are two different stations where we stop and actually pet some creatures. Big Brother and I pet some starfish and a ray at one station, and he pet a shark at another (he's braver than his mamma!). I think this was the highlight of the day for him. He is such an animal lover and really enjoys being up close with them!

Daddy pushes Little Brother in his stroller and lets him take it all in, too. He coos and giggles at all the fish!

We also get to see a special penguin show. Pretty neat! :)

Another neat thing is a 15 ft. alligator named Mighty Mike. That dude is huge!

One thing I am not enjoying though throughout the aquarium are many references to evolution & "millions of years ago" being presented as fact. One staff member mentions how certain of the "simpler" sea creatures have "actually not changed in millions of years! They are the same as ones you find in the fossil record!" I had to laugh. So basically evidence against evolutionary theories saying animals change into different kinds of animals over time! (We discussed this a little on the way home. Do you have questions about this issue? You will find many helpful resources here from Answers in Genesis.)

We get through the aquarium, pet the sharks just one more time, then head into the gift shop where everything is very...overpriced. :) Big Brother had brought his own funds with him, however, and chooses a neat little collection of toy sharks of various species (shhh...don't tell him that science next week will be identifying and learning about these sharks!).

1:30 p.m. We have to head outside into a heavy downpour to get back to the parking garage. We get loaded up and finally manage to go the right way down one way streets until we get back to the interstate!

2:15 p.m. We finally find a McDonald's as we are more than ready for lunch! We plan to dine in...until we realize Little Brother is snoozing soundly (Rule #1 at my house: Never awaken a sleeping baby unnecessarily!), so we did the drive thru. (I know, not exactly the healthiest choice, oh well!).

4:00 p.m. Rain and fog have made travel yucky! It is difficult to see, and we get turned around again and wind up making a wrong turn and having to take a much longer route...again. :) Big Brother, lovingly clutching his sharks, is now knocked out in the backseat as well.

Sometime after 5:00 p.m. We finally make it back home from our grand adventure! Big Brother is eager to play sharks, Little Brother is eager to be free to wiggle and play in the floor awhile, and Daddy and I are exhausted!

I jokingly told my husband our next homeschool field trip should be a drive to New York City...and for some reason he disagreed....?! ;)

All in all it was a good trip, though, seriously. We got there and back safely, saw some amazing creatures, and learned some neat facts. Do you have a homeschool field trip story to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments!! Need some ideas for homeschool field trips? Be sure you check out this post!

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