You know the way kids drink a glass of water when they’re thirsty? Like it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them? Well, that’s how their thirst for knowledge works too. They’re enthusiastic and curious, experts at taking big gulps of information all at once. And Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is eager to educate and give students all the scientific deets their curious brains desire.
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is a nonprofit organization that cares for nearly 6,000 animals, replants coral fragments and participates in 30 conservation programs. The organization’s passion for educating and encouraging kids to fall in love with the ocean is deeper than the Mariana Trench.
There’s no right or wrong age to learn how to care for the planet: whether 2 years old or 62 years old, doesn’t matter. But having fun classes and events — like the ones at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium — can get kids excited about exploring nature, learning their important role in our ecosystems and inspire future environment stewards.
No more neglecting the wonder of nature for console games. Psh. These kids have bigger fish to fry and we’ve got even bigger environmentalists to raise! Visiting Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is a great thing to do in Utah with kids because it teaches them how they fit into this big old beautiful planet of ours.
The bright and bizarre creatures of the sea are so different from our normal day to day life, kids can’t help but be curious and have fun learning to be stewards of the land and sea. Plus, kids get to see creatures they would normally only see in cartoons.
Crush the sea turtle. Bruce the shark. Clown fish galore. Basically the whole cast of “Finding Nemo.” Of course there’s SpongeBob Squarepants, Mr. Krabs and Patrick Star, too. There’s also Sebastian and Ursula and Ariel. Wait no, there are no mermaids at this aquarium. Yet.
It is open most days from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Wander the aquarium, attend drop-in events and classes, or become members for unlimited access to the aquarium and certain educational events. Don’t just go abalone, either. Get a group membership and it’ll pay for itself after just a few visits.
Finding exciting things to do in Utah with kids is easy when you dip your tentacles into educational workshops!
For parents with tiny tots, we know they need big entertainment and big enrichment. That’s why Loveland provides regular Nature Storytimes for members aged 2-4. Unfortunately for parents, the storybooks don’t include the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Go the Fish to Sleep.” But it’s OK, the educational activities and storytelling gets toddlers so excited about learning and nature, they’ll probably pass out on the drive home.
There are year-round youth camps during kids’ school breaks or summer vacation. Try the Thanksgiving or winter recess workshops where kids get an opportunity to see how animals need to eat and adapt during different seasons. Basically, humans aren’t the only species that have fall-time feeding frenzies. Summer camps like Ocean Explorer teach kids how the ocean connects the entire planet and how to be a champion for critters of the land and sea.
If you’re scared of the ocean but also scared of that big giant white claw thing sitting off the highway, we have just the activity for you. The U2 claw is now the Exploration Craft & Observatory, a campus for adventure and scientific discovery.
The EECO Voyager Virtual Reality experience takes you on a virtual voyage to see a coral reef ecosystem or an amazon adventure. OK, so maybe we need a little digital entertainment from time to time to make sure we’re keeping up with the times. But it’s super helpful to be able to see animals and plants in 3D that you wouldn’t otherwise see! We can’t very well take every teenie bopper 20,000 leagues under the sea, now can we?
The animal exhibits and keepers teach you about the life of penguins and stingrays. Waddle over to the Gentoo penguin encounter, get suited up in parkas, gloves and boots to hand feed the penguins. At the stingray encounter you’ll get to feed them, learn about their diets and why they are the way they are. Like why are they so flat? And smooth? And cute?
Parents, you’re so patient, always bending over backwards to entertain your kids. And since you’re already extending yourself, stay a little longer at the aquarium for a relaxing SEArenity Yoga session. Yoga with the Sharks is a unique thing to do in Utah, with jaw-inspiring views of underwater creatures that give you a healthy appreciation of the ocean. Nama-stay-on-land.
These interactive programs will visit students at their schools to support the Utah science curriculum, bringing a variety of animals for students to interact with. These outreach programs really get kids excited about science and how to have a positive influence in various ecosystems.
Second graders get the Rainforest Van. They’ll learn about their role in different ecosystems, rainforest creatures and habitats, and the bravest student might even get to hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Fourth graders get the Adaptations Van. They are taught how native plant and animal species of Utah have adapted and survived here. They’ll also learn some basic conservation methods. They may get to hold a salamander, toad or snake. Sssweet!
Sixth graders get the Ecosystems Van. They learn a little bit more about conservation efforts and how their small decisions can make a big impact on our planet. They might see a parrot or even get to learn what the heck a tenrec is.
Public schools and even homeschoolers can sign up for field trips. EcoVenture class add ons align with Next Generation Science Standards and Utah State Core Curriculum guidelines and make for great interactive experiences.
After visiting the aquarium and learning how cool our planet is, you’ll probably, maybe, almost certainly feel excited to get involved with conservation efforts. There are several different ways you can share your enthusiasm and lend a helping hand. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has several ways to donate or become involved with their programs.
You can symbolically adopt an animal or sponsor a habitat. Or become a member of the Ambassadors Council for Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. You’ll get to help your community become more educated and inspired, and your involvement directly helps with animal care, education and conservation efforts like coral rescues and sea turtle conservation.
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium bridges the gap between entertainment and conservation, helping kids get curious about their impact on the world around them. Kids exercise their noggins at science-centered youth camps and use their hearts at volunteer opportunities that encourage them to become animal allies.
And helping animals by helping the planet is pretty cool. As Crush the sea turtle said, “RIGHTEOUS. RIGHTEOUS.”