Splash Zone Parent's Guide: Discover fun ways to help kids of any age learn about the animals and ocean homes in Splash Zone.

Family

ENCHANTED KELP FOREST
Kelp Forest Canopy Walkthrough

In this kelp tunnel exhibit a sunlit canopy of kelp arches over visitors-encouraging them to imagine themselves diving in a kelp forest. Kelp fronds crawl with life and provide shelter to jeweled top snails, kelp crabs and well-camouflaged fishes.

THINGS TO DO

Compare the kelp plant to a tree or other plant on land. How are they similar and how are they different? Does kelp have structures that might function like the leaves, trunk or roots of a tree?

WHY? Children (and adults) build new knowledge by taking something new or unfamiliar (a new idea, a new concept) and placing it into an existing, familiar context. Encourage older children to compare and contrast two or more animals for size, shape or other attributes.

WHY? Older children are good at observing, noticing detail and considering two or more attributes at a time. Have everyone in your family choose one animal to observe closely. Take turns sharing what you notice. How does the animal move? What body parts might help this animal survive?

WHY? Children learn through conversation (and adults do too).

Kelp Forest Canopy Walkthrough

Family

ENCHANTED KELP FOREST
Touch Pool

In our 40-foot-long touch pool, kids can see and touch the many plants and animals that live in the kelp forest habitat, including sea stars, abalones, sea urchins, kelp crabs and more.

THINGS TO DO

Be a role model and show your children how to gently touch the animals underwater. Help younger children by gently guiding their little hands and fingers.

WHY? By watching you, your children will see that the animals can be explored in ways that are safe for the animal and safe for them (the animals won't hurt them!). Young children lack fine muscle coordination and may have trouble touching live animals gently. Talk about how to treat the animals with care and why it's important to leave them in the water (these animals breathe under the water).

WHY? Children's conservation behaviors are most closely aligned with those of their parents. If you demonstrate care for animals, your children are more likely to be careful too. Touch the animals gently and describe what you find. What do you feel? What feels smooth? Which animal has rough or bumpy skin? What's soft? Hard?

WHY? Children learn using their senses. The touch pool is the perfect place for children who learn best by actively exploring and touching the physical world around them. Ask younger children to repeat the names of the plants and animals as you introduce, observe or touch them.

WHY? By repeating the names of the plants and animals, you help children to develop their memories and vocabularies.

Touch Pool

Family

ENCHANTED KELP FOREST
Interactive Games

Interactive exhibits and experiences are an important part of "Splash Zone: Ocean Homes" and can be found throughout the expanded galleries. In all three galleries children can stamp bookmarks to take home as souvenirs—each with a conservation message that connects their actions to the health of the ocean.

THINGS TO DO

In "Kelp Forest Mysteries" kids use scientific tools to collect clues and uncover why a kelp forest isn't thriving. Work as a family team to investigate what kelp needs in order to grow. At the end of the activity, ask your child to share what they learned.

WHY? Making predictions and investigating what happens can lead to an understanding of cause and effect. Listening to children discuss their reasoning gives adults the opportunity to assess their understanding and reasoning. Take a virtual dive into the kelp forest and play a game of "I Spy" at the Kelp Dive interactive. Find all six animals on your dive card! Which animals were the easiest to find? Which animals were the most difficult to find? What color were the animals that were the hardest to find?

WHY? Playing games together at the aquarium affords families with a shared experience providing opportunities for new discussions and learning back at home! If you wanted to be camouflaged in your home's kitchen, what color and shape would you be? Encourage older children to solve a case of disappearing kelp and practice analytical skills using scientific tools at the Kelp Forest Mysteries interactive.

WHY? Older children are often eager to discover knowledge through problem solving and are able to associate cause with effect.

Interactive

Family

RUGGED ROCKY SHORE
Penguins

Come watch our African blackfooted penguins swim, waddle, communicate and eat in their new and expanded exhibit. Large flat-screen video monitors let everyone get a good look at the penguins during twice-daily feeding shows.

THINGS TO DO

Count the penguins—how many do you see? Are more penguins in the water or on the rocks?

WHY? Counting helps young children develop an awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity. Compare your size to a penguin's. Is a penguin the same size as your hand? Your arm? Who is taller—Mom, Dad, the kids, or the penguin?

WHY? Comparing things helps young children develop a spatial sense as they determine whether or not the two things are the same size. Ask questions. What body parts does a penguin have? Are they the same or different from yours? Name and count them, i.e., two eyes, one beak. How do people keep warm? (jacket, socks, hat) How does a penguin stay warm in the cold ocean? (feathers and air bubbles as insulation) How are penguins like the birds on the beach or neighborhood park? (All have feathers, a beak, two wings and so on.)

WHY? Asking open-ended questions and encouraging children to find answers expands their language development and knowledge. Watch a penguin feeding program. What do the penguins eat? How do they behave? What are the staff members doing inside the exhibit?

WHY? The penguin feeding program provides families with an opportunity to learn about animal care at the Aquarium and to observe interesting penguin behaviors. Compare the penguins to the murres. They're both black and white, but see if you can notice their differences.

WHY? By asking children to compare two animals, you encourage them to observe each animal closely and note details.

Penguins (Photo by Darwin Long)

Family

RUGGED ROCKY SHORE
Water Play Area

Families can make their own waves and play with toy models to learn about the rocky shore and the animals that live there. Real life connections are made when families interact, communicate and care.

THINGS TO DO

Boats, water, gates, water jets and animal models will draw children to play! Encourage children to experiment with them and make predictions about what will happen. What happens to the water flow when most of the gates are closed? What happens to the canoe when the water moves fast?

WHY? Having children make predictions and investigating leads to an understanding of cause and effect. Listen and touch things in the water play area.

WHY? Sensory explorations and observations help children to interpret their world. Encourage young children to find something on, behind or under a rock and something in or out of the water.

WHY? This type of exploration helps young children to build an increasing understanding of directionality and spatial awareness. Explore the pretend tidepool sea stars, anemones and fish. Which ones stick in place when the water moves? Why? Which ones "go with the flow" and move with the water?

WHY? Encouraging children to make close observations while experimenting leads to an understanding of cause and effect.

Water Play Area

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