The ocean is a magical place. The creatures of the sea are hard to spot unless your family lives near the ocean. And even then, the elusive animals are usually too deep underwater for children to see and come to understand. It's a fact that children learn to respect and protect what they know. The survival of the oceans of the world is going to depend on coming generations. That's why it's so important that every child be able to see and understand the ocean's most precious commodity — its residents! Thankfully there are numerous aquariums and oceanic adventure parks throughout America for kids to be able to learn about and appreciate the oceans of the world.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the world's most visited aquariums. The aquarium has hundreds of exhibits and more than 16,500 animals. (
There are several Sea World locations where kids from all over the country can witness the majesty of the ocean's animals. Each park has different features, so check online before you go to be sure the park you're thinking of visiting is right for your family. Parks include Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida; Sea World in Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, California. Access all of the parks under an online umbrella at
The Miami Seaquarium has an outdoor aquarium that features shows and exhibits. Kids who visit this park make friends with killer whale “Lolita,” television star “Flipper,” and a sea lion named “Salty.” (
Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand has been a family vacation destination for decades. Thanks to reasonable below-market lodging rates and a large percentage of activities just for children, tourism has continued to boom in this area. The addition of the Ripley's Aquarium has only served to increase it, with hundreds of neighboring town residents, schools, and church groups making day trips to interact with the marine animals that live there. One of this attraction's most unique highlights is the “Sleep with the Sharks” event. The sleepover adventure takes place in the aquarium's Dangerous Reef Tunnel and is geared for kids ages five and up. The event includes a scavenger hunt, crafts, educational presentation, aquarium tour, late-night snack, and continental breakfast. Each group of ten attendees must have a chaperone for the duration of the stay. (
Just for Parents
“Sleep with the Sharks” slumber party at Ripley's Aquarium provides the perfect opportunity to learn to “shag dance” at one of Myrtle Beach's popular beach music clubs. Child care is widely available throughout the Grand Strand. Better yet, for your trip to Myrtle Beach, bring a sitter.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta features a week-long summer camp experience called Summer Camp H2O that allows kids to capture the behind-the-scenes story of the aquatic animals who live there. Camp H2O combines learning with animal encounters. Campers get to meet the Georgia Aquarium animal husbandry team. (