There are a lot of really good websites out there attached to real life attractions, and many of them are very high quality and useful. I’m just reviewing one here, The Aquarium of WA, but there are guaranteed to be some that are local to you or cater to your child’s interests. I chose AQWA because we’ve just been there and really enjoyed it!
The site is very professional and easy to negotiate. On the front page is a link for the extremely cool Virtual Tour. This is not a video, but a 360 degree still photo that you can move around in. It automatically circles, but you can also click and drag to look at specific things and zoom in and out. I certainly get a kick out of moving it around, and it’s something little kids can do as soon as they can control the mouse.
The purpose of the site is to entice you to go, so it’s not overloaded with information. But there’s some things that will interest kids in the FAQs and some really beautiful fact sheets on things like leafy sea dragons. They are well worth printing if you have a good quality printer, and the information is at a good general primary school level that can be interpreted for younger kids.
The other section that’s definitely worth a visit is the Education tab. The Curriculum links are aimed at excursions, but there are some excellent ideas there for parents or homeschoolers that could be adapted to a more general ocean theme. Even better, they refer to specific worksheets that are available as PDFs. While I wouldn’t suggest using them as they are at home, there are some that can be easily modified and done with children of all ages.
This site is well worth a visit, and so is AQWA itself. Even within it’s limits as a teaser it has stunning photographs and interesting facts that are at the right level to be accessible and interest kids (and adults). Add in some of the printable ideas and it’s a great place to start to learn more about oceans, especially if you happen to live in WA.
A few suggestions. I haven’t reviewed these, but may at a later date. If anyone has any to add to the list or comments on the sites, just leave a comment!
- Sydney Powerhouse Museum
- Werribee Open Range Zoo
- San Diego Zoo
- South Australian Museum
- Anglo-Australian Observatory
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