Last Saturday morning we went down to San Clemente to pick up a BMX racing bike for Zachary...another story for another time. Afterward we decided to drive up to Dana Point and walk around. We ended up at the Ocean Institute at the end of the harbor.
We first visited an exhibit that showed us what the ocean floor looks like. It showed craters and valleys and (big around our home) volcanoes. We really enjoyed the hands on approach of the institute. The kids felt the contours of the ocean floor in a model, and got to play with setting on a computerized electronic globe.
Then we went into a lab room that had microscopes set up with all sorts of things to look at, sea sponges, corals, baby brine, and more. There were benches all around so the kids could climb up and be at just the right height to see in each microscope. Our telescope at home has been really big lately and we had only talked about microscopes. Silly me thought we won't need one of those until at least 3rd grade - so much for that. I guess it gives Dan something new to search Craigslist for.
There was also an exhibit where you could pick a whale and hear its "voice". They had a blast picking and hearing them all. We also saw all sorts of fish, shrimp, corals, jelly fish, sharks, rays... it was really fun.
BUT... the best part of the visit was the fish dissection. We were the only ones there. The lady was so sweet. She really got Zach and Emma involved. She talked right at their level and pointed out the different parts on the outside of our mackerel. They looked in its mouth and checked out its gills. Zachary loved touching it and feeling it's skin, Emma was a bit more, hum... reserve let's say. More of a looker. Then the lady asked Zachary if he would like to cut the mackerel open. She gave him a pair of surgical scissors and showed him how to do it. He dug in like a pro.
Then they located the fish's heart and stomach. She showed Zach how to clip open the stomach and squeeze out what was inside. They looked at it and tried to figure out what our little mackerel friend had for dinner. They found scales so they figured he had eaten a smaller fish. They also took out his eye and found the lens in it. The kids were so interested. Dan and I just stood back and watched the two of them experience this together. I've got to say, I was really encouraged to watch the two of them learning and taking it all in. It also encouraged me to be reminded that there are all sorts of places we can turn to for education. It is so nice to be reminded that, if we keep our minds open, we can find learning experiences all around us. We had no idea that was what was in store for us that day, but our Heavenly Father did. He led us right there and we had a beautiful family moment together. Our moment turned into a lovely day. We bumped into some dear friends children, Noah and Kyle out with their grandpa for the morning. The kids all watched the crabs together for a while then Noah and Kyle went off to enjoy the Ocean Institute. We went over to the harbor for fish and chip and then up to Newport to see Grandma and Grandpa Noack.
I just love days like this with my family. One surprise after another. Time shared together. Memories made. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Oh one more great photo from last week...
When Emma wakes up from her nap before Zachary she usually needs me for entertainment. Well, this day was different. She brought her blankets into my office and set up a bed on my floor and proceeded to "read" her own rendition of her new princess book out loud. It was so much fun pretending I was working, but really listening to her tale : ). How lucky am I!!!
I'll post soon about the field trip we took today to the apple orchards in Oak Glen! Fun Fun Fun!!