A Craft for the 50 Days of Easter
Notes for the Week ~

March at Aquarium School: Seals!


Well it was just as windy and cold in Boston on this March day as it was back in February - and January too, for that matter! (It's been a long winter, I tell you.) Today we spent a little time in the gift shop (pictured behind my boys above) where we stocked up on NEAQ pens before heading over to our class ...

The theme for March Aquarium School: Seals and Training


To begin, both groups - the olders and youngers - gathered in one classroom together. They were given a brainstorming exercise to work on, and then listened to a talk given by an aquarium assistant director. She explained about the seals living at the NEAQ and how they are trained. The kids also got to explore some interesting things like seal fur as you see in the picture above, and a hooded seal skull as you see below:


There were all kinds of books and posters to peruse too. I thought this one was eye-catching:


Next it was outside to visit the fur seals, and watch them during their feeding time:


Crackerjack brought his notebook for making sketches as he watched:


The fur seals are quite sleek! They have no blubber to keep them warm, but 300,000 hairs per square inch!


In the picture below, the seal is enjoying a fish treat for his cooperation:


And the seal in the picture below is getting prepped for an upcoming ultrasound test. I was surprised to learn that much of the seals' training in fact prepares them for handling - medical examinations, etc.


This is the assistant director who led the observation with the kids:


The trainer had the kids try blowing bubbles to get the seals' attention. I thought this picture was neat because you can see the image of the exhibit area within the bubble itself:


Do you see the tiny white things on the platform? Those are "squidsicles," lol! Basically, small bits of squid (or sometimes other sea creatures) frozen inside ice cubes. This seal, Cordova, I believe was her name, was the only one interested.


Here are the info. boards hanging above the viewing area:



On our way back to our classroom we stopped at the harbor seals exhibit out front. It was so bitterly cold, we just stayed a few minutes, just long enought to notice how the seals appear gray above water ...


And white down below:


Back inside, the older group had fun with activities that demonstrated how tricky it is to train animals. Below you see Bookworm pretending to be a seal learning how to "dance." (Thanks to my friend Lisa for this picture!)


In the younger kids' classroom (where I'm a parent helper) the kids also tried out all kinds of hands-on activities. Here Crackerjack tries to draw as a seal would, only using his mouth:


And yes, seals do draw! Or paint, I should say; the artwork below was all done by seals at the aquarium. (And the gift shop even sells prints!)


Along with their homework for next month, the kids were all given small prints of seal paintings to take home. Aren't they lovely in the sunlight? :)


But now the sun is setting and I'd better get going, or I should say, get supper going! And speaking of, in honor of Mario Day it's Italian tonight! (You might have noticed CJ wore his almost-too-small Mario shirt today.) We'll have "Mario Pasta" ~ which is just potato gnocci, but that's how we got the boys to try it the first time, by calling it Mario Pasta, lol. Alongside the pasta,  there will be saucy meatballs, baby carrots and soft buttered rolls. And for dessert? Bill picked up a few miniature Italian desserts at the bakery on his way home. Yum.

Well, thanks for stopping by and sharing in our day! I hope you too had a great Monday. I'll see you all sometime tomorrow. :)