Friday, September 16, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
I remember the delicious fear and respect I had when I saw my first shark at the New England Aquarium in Boston. I was about 5 or 6 ... visiting there with my parents, their friends, and my little brother. And in the enormous 200,000 gallon Giant Ocean Tank ... I watched from a thick, giant viewing window as a large shark swam by ... mouth agape ... razor sharp teeth ... and seemingly within inches of my face. I was scared and awe struck at the same time. And I get that same feeling today ... I love them ... but have this healthy fear of them that quickens my breath ... and raises the hair on the back of my neck. But it is a feeling I relish ... and have been lucky enough to experience at several aquariums along the East Coast ... Sea World, Mystic Aquarium, Saco Aquarium, ... and several returns to the New England Aquarium.
And now ... this past week ... I was able to take my own boy to that wonderful place ... to share my passion for all creatures of the ocean ... but most especially to share with him the opportunity to pat a shark in the new Shark & Ray Touch Tank at the New England Aquarium!
Let me first tell you that when I told my son of our upcoming visit to the aquarium ... he protested. He WAS NOT GOING. Period. See, if I LOVE something ... like Star Wars ... he will hate it just to oppose me (though he will secretly watch the entire Star Wars trilogy over and over again and can answer just about any question you may have on the subject). My love for the ocean, and especially for sharks, is well known around here and often the main subject at any dinner gathering ... so he would have none of it.
Even as we arrived at the aquarium ... he was still protesting. He was NOT going to touch a shark. And he was NOT going to enjoy the aquarium. He was just going to "get it over with".
Upon entering the aquarium, it is the first exhibit you walk into ... and though it is really so very simple ... a petting zoo for sharks and rays ... it was AWESOME. And as you will see by the following pictures, I was NOT the only one to think so ...
Seriously ... this kid could not break away from this exhibit. And I didn't want to either. Yes, the sharks are harmless and small ... but there is something so wonderful about being able to get so close to something so wild and so primitive ...
And then there was the thrill of being able to wait patiently for the shy and elusive Bonnethead (you can see it here) and Epaulette sharks to swim up to us. As seen from the first picture, Isaac (and I) was able to touch one. And after being told that it was a rare privilege in that touch tank for the Epaulette sharks to allow you to touch them ... we couldn't resist trying again and again.
Here is the Epaulette ... shown above ... and if you have a chance to learn about them ... do! They are amazing little creatures. They can even breathe air out of water for a short period of time ... and can use their dorsal fins to "walk" across wet sand to nearby tide pools. How many sharks can say that!?
So, after touring the entire aquarium (additional pictures to come in future posts) , Isaac and I went back for more of the sharks and rays ...
and it paid off ...
And though he will tell you that he does not like sharks, and that he did not love the aquarium ... the truth is, he absolutely loved it ... did not want to leave ... and asked if we could move there to work at it. Though again, he will deny all of this. But tell him you are about to leave to go to the New England Aquarium ... and he will beat you to the car to join you!
It was absolutely wonderful and I highly recommend it. I think it is perfect for showing kids and adults that sharks and rays are mostly harmless (100 shark attacks a year is chump change and a risk worth taking in my humble opinion). I think hearts and minds can be changed with exhibits like this ... and I am so thankful for them.
So, thanks NEAQ. You guys rock! And thank you for making sure that everyone handles the animals with care.
P.S. To see more pics from this part of our Boston Adventure, click here.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I took Meaghan to Boston when she was 6 (still searching for the pics of that trip) ... taking the train in from Lowell ... for a visit to the New England Aquarium. It was a wonderful day for us ... and I figured it was time to do the same for Isaac.
But instead of one day ... we took a vacation of three days. One day for each place that I wanted to share with my boy. Day one? The Museum of Science.
As a child, I loved the Museum. As a young adult, I found it boring. As a Mama, I fell in love all over again. Such a huge place full of rich history and exciting innovations.
Here is a bit of what we saw/did:
First stop ... Theatre of Lightning ... one of my favorite exhibits from childhood ... and as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. But not one of Isaac's favorites. Very loud and a bit over his head. But interesting (again) for both Daddy and me.
Then, a bit of the old space exhibits that we parents also remembered from our childhood ...
R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker never get old. And since Isaac is a recent convert to the whole Star Wars trilogy ... this was a super cool find for him.
Sometime after space ... we went over to the Evolution, Human Birth and Anatomy sections. These were my favorite! Skeletons that showed the evolution of the human species ... various animal brains in jars (beluga whale brains are awesome!) ... a whole exhibit on reproduction that was so well done ... baby chicks hatching in a hatchery for all to see ... WAY COOL.
And as part of the whole Human Evolution exhibit ... there were Tamarin monkeys ... live ones. So adorable and fun to watch. And I swear to you ... on pain of death by flying monkeys ... that we (all three of us) witnessed two Tamarins totally making out. Like for real making out. Lips to lips ... smooching. Then they would preen each other ... then cuddle ... then smooch ... and repeat. It was awesome.
Later ... after skipping around to various exhibits (we had only a few hours so did much skipping about to the exhibits we knew were a must see) ... we found ourselves among dinosaurs!
Day Two? The Aquarium! And it was AWESOME! Will post more asap. Thank you for reading & sharing with us.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
WOW. I never knew he had it in him ... but he loves to perform ... and is thrilled to be able to hang with the big kids, etc. I was so worried about stage fright, not fitting in, etc... but there was nothing to fear. The group of kids who participate in this theatre, the Moms who put so much effort into it, and the owner whose passionate about both theatre and the kids ... made it easy for Isaac and I to fall in love with the place.
Oh, and he is going back for more too! He auditioned for their upcoming 101 Dalmations production and he got the role of Pongo! Perfect, right!? See you there, I hope! But be aware ... I cry, cry, cry ... through the entire production ... in awe of what these kids can do ... of their spirit, their confidence, their joy, their talents. And apparently I am not the only one, as several of my friends and my parents cried right along with me at Isaac's last production!
GREAT JOB ISAAC! You rock! And thank you to Conor Kenny ... whom he "shadows" in every way ... both in life and in theatre. You are a great role model for him and we are so glad to have you in our lives! xo
(Scene from Seasons of Love act)
(Scene from Lullaby of Broadway act)
So, thank you Tracy Marceron for creating a space for such magic ... thank you to Tricia Kenny for the pictures ... thank you to Martha Ward for the videos ... and a giant thank you to all the kids who put their hearts, soul, and dedication in to helping one another make great art!
PS. Meaghan filled in one night for one of the acts and was absolutely fabulous! As soon as we can get pictures and video of it, we will share it here on the blog. Imagine her voice, and her talent ... singing Mama Who Bore Me. Not a dry eye in my family!