Texas State Aquarium’s SeaCamp is all about the sea, sand and science.
By: Andrea Bolt
At the Texas State Aquarium’s SeaCamp, kids get the opportunity to “soak in” the summer at a creative camp unlike any they have ever experienced. With fun-filled, hands-on activities like tracking live sharks and talking with real ocean scientists, they receive the opportunity to learn about aquarium- and ocean-related subjects that will enable them to connect with nature in a way like never before.
What sets the aquarium’s summer camp apart is the mission: Our camps and camp environments are designed to support inclusive and collaborative learning, to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) exploration and discovery and to empower campers to reach their full potential.
Each year, the aquarium‘s education department dreams up new and engaging topics for SeaCamp’s multiple weeks with themes. For 2015, the themes are sharks, bioinspiration and oceanography.
During “shark week,” children will remotely track live sharks and also learn all about shark biology and the varying species that diversify the often misunderstood animals. Bioinspiration week will be characterized by understanding how biological systems, processes and elements are studied and then used to draw analogies to be applied to human design and a multitude of industrial challenges. The segment on oceanography will include studying marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics, ocean currents, waves, geology of the sea floor and more.
“Kids get to explore STEM-related activities in such dynamic, unexpected ways at SeaCamp,” explained Kristin Evans, Texas State Aquarium dean of curriculum and instruction. “Plus, they’ll get to work with equipment like microscopes, hand lenses, GPS, iPads and more to help them build upon science process skills. They’ll hypothesize, test, retest and really get a hands-on feel for what it means to use nature as a classroom and just become good citizens of the earth.”
Older campers will get to go “behind the scenes” with aquarium animal care staff and actually spend the night at the aquarium, while younger campers will have the opportunity to discover animals and their habitats firsthand while exploring the aquarium. Age groups range from the “SeaSquirts,” ages 4 to 5, all the way up to the “Aquanauts,” teens entering the 10th and 11th grades.
SeaCamp at the Texas State Aquarium begins the first week of June and runs through mid-August. Costs vary, and Texas State Aquarium members qualify for discounted registration. Due to the generosity of the NavyArmy Community Credit Union, partial scholarships are available to those campers who apply and meet certain requirements.
The Texas State Aquarium is located at 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information about SeaCamp and the Texas State Aquarium, please visit www.texastateaquarium.org, or call 361-881-1200.
Photos courtesy of Texas State Aquarium