Underwater Birthday Adventure

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gosh, it feels like ages since I've sat down to write a blog post - I may have forgotten how!

Last year for my son's 5th birthday, we held a Tenpin Bowling Party for him where he got to invite three of his best little friends to a morning of bowling, rather than having a big, all-out, crazy, expensive, chaotic affair at home.  It worked really well, the boys had a great time and because there were only four of them, they could focus on each other, enjoy their bowling and just have a bit of fun without all the "fuss".  Sometimes I think kids' parties are just too big, too busy and end up becoming a bit overwhelming for our little ones.  Anyway, this year, because it worked so well last year, we decided to do a similar thing.  Our son chose three of his friends from pre-primary and we took them all on an "underwater adventure" to a fabulous aquarium we have here in WA called AQWA.  It is such a fantastic place for kids to learn about marine life and to really get up close and personal with Western Australia's sea creatures.  This is how it played out ...

We made up some paper bowl "Jellyfish" invitations (I got the inspiration from here).
I packed some activities for each of the kids to do when they needed a break from all the visual stimulation (read when four boys together start to get a little cuckoo for coco pops).  I downloaded some Year 1 - 3 level activity sheets straight from the AQWA site where there is a tonne of resources and educational info.  It really is a very well thought-out site, especially for kids and schools.
Because the trip to AQWA was a bit over an hour by car, I packed a little snack box for each of them.  They didn't need too much, with our arrival time being close to lunch, but you know what kids and food are like ... plus food always helps in long car rides!

The fun starts the moment you arrive at AQWA.  There are over 40 beautiful living exhibits of WA marine life for the kids to get excited over and learn from.  There's sea dragons, there's pineapple fish (what?), there's fluro anemones and then there's the ... walk-through aquarium!  Oh my goodness, just try to contain four boys while they walk under 3 million litres of Indian Ocean water in this magical underwater world - it's tough, I tell you, tough. With stingrays casting giant shadows as they glide overhead, or sharks looking you directly in the eye as they cruise slyly by, or graceful and gorgeous turtles slowly making their way towards you for a closer look - the boys were in awe.  They were in their element and genuinely interested and intrigued by the sea creatures surrounding them - and, of course, a little rambunctious and excitable, but then again they're little boys and this is their "thing", they "get it". When inside time became too much, we headed out to "Marmion Marine Park" where the kids could handle live sea animals - sea urchins, starfish, coral - in a Touch Pool (they loved, loved, loved this) and then wandered across to a quiet lagoon called "Stingray Bay" where an abundance of rays and fish swim, and almost nibble, at your feet. It's a very chilled area and is perfect for taking-5 with the kids, especially in great weather. 
AQWA is a very cool place for both kids and adults and taking our little birthday group there was a lot of fun, and educational too - it also saved me from becoming a stressed-out weirdo over having to put on a birthday "production".  I tend to get a bit crazy (and grumpy) if I've got something big to organise ... I'm more of an "intimate" kinda girl!
As a type of "favour", I sent the boys home with a dried thorny starfish each which I bought from a lovely site called "Simply Shells".  I'm not particularly into shells myself but the site really does have a beautiful variety of shells, sea urchins and starfish, and the quality is so much nicer than the mixed bags of shells you sometimes see in Spotlight and Cost Plus - plus they are sustainably sourced and only prolific breeding shells are stocked, which made me feel okay about my purchase.
All in all, this little "underwater adventure" was a success and from all accounts the boys (and one little sister) really did have a "whale" of a time.  Hehehehe.  Had to get that in!

Oh, and we did have cake - the day before at our family lunch, and in keeping with the theme I tried my hand at chocolate cupcakes with black fondant shark fins.  Yay, they worked ... always a gamble when it involves me and cupcakes!  I did actually slip with the bicarb soda but the kids were none the wiser!  Phew.

Have you been on any birthday adventures lately? 

1 comment:

  1. Your ideas and the way you've put this together are just gorgeous, Nikki. I love those jelly fish!!! x