This past Wednesday I took the kids to the Aquarium. In one area is a desk where there are often staff members who bring out a variety of neat objects and specimens to show visitors. On that day, the display included whale baleen, a shark’s jaw, some salmon eggs in various stages of development, and a collection of dried krill. DD stopped there with a few other kids while DS ran up and down the adjacent ramp that led down to the dolphin viewing area. I was able to keep an eye on both of them and DD stayed there for some time until the other kids had gone. I then noticed the lady going over to a cupboard and bringing out some more items to show DD. When I went over to see what they were doing, they were obviously having a lengthy and interesting discussion about marine life. I want to say that I was very proud of DD, but when I think about it, I suppose that’s a bit silly. She’s not better than anybody else just because she happens to love Nature owns the Blue Planet series. Being a big fan of the movie Finding Nemo also helps. I suppose pride is not the appropriate description, perhaps it’s more that I was just thrilled to see DD engaged in a learning opportunity that she was truly enjoying, and how her enthusiasm and knowledge was making it equally enjoyable for the lady who was working at the table.
The lady told me that she was impressed with how much DD knew. DD had correctly identified a sperm whale, a humpback, and an orca from a chart. DD knew that some whales ate krill, while other whales ate meat. At one point the lady brought out a little jar of dried husks – she called them “deep sea shrimp” but the label on the jar said “copepods”. I told DD what the label said and she was immediately very excited. DD is a big fan of copepods, having seen them many times in her Blue Planet DVD’s. It was very cute hearing a 4 year old say “I love copepods!”. Another fun part was when the lady brought out the salmon egg display. The stage where you can see the eyes of the salmon embryos looked just like a creature we’d seen in one of the movies, and DD said with excitement “Look mama, an ostracod!”. The lady at the desk seemed confused, so I explained that we’d seen one in the Blue Planet episode “The Deep”, the largest known ostracod, Gigantocyprus, which did look alot like the salmon eggs in the display. The lady had not heard of an ostracod, so it was quite funny. Anyways, eventually we headed off for lunch. DD had had a wonderful time, and told the lady when we were leaving that one day she wanted to take a ride down to the deep ocean. I have no doubt that one day, she will.