The Seattle Aquarium was one of the first places I felt comfortable taking my twins to on rainy fall and winter days in their early years. Unlike more traditional kids’ play places, it seemed pretty clean and not as full of germs and we loved eating snack on the “bottom of the ocean floor’ under a glassy roof where the fish would swim above us. In the beginning the conversations were all me: look at the fish, what color is it? What do you think it eats? But now, the guys are driving our chats. Did you see that mom-what do you think that fish eats? Did you notice how brightly colored it is? Can it camouflage? And because of this, we’ve been members for a long time and this year we added an Oyster Catcher status to our membership to help the aquarium out a little more.
But in life I’ve noticed that so many times when you think you’re helping out a bit, somehow you get helped back ten-fold. Helping out the Seattle Aquarium is totally one of those places. I’ve talked about the member only weekend early openings before and we’ve had so many fabulous memories from these mornings. There are great classes and last year we took the puffin class-this year I noticed these fabulous classes are free for members too! And recently we were able to go on a behind the scenes tour that just totally amazed my kids.
They loved seeing where the waves in the giant front tank are made and they watched as one of their favorite scuba divers emerged onto land. The loved seeing where all the sick little fish were taken care of and all the buttons and gizmos that keep the aquarium functioning and how there is an actual roof on top of the glassy dome that we’ve been sitting under since they were very small.
They checked out the totally chilly freezer.
And helped feed some little anemone friends some seaweed. They touched starfish in a little bowl.
And we all had a lot of fun. This alone was a spectacular experience, but at home I see so many of our membership benefits everyday. The boys seem to care about nature and are curious about where the food they eat comes from and how things they do affect oceans and jungles and friends. And because I’m leaning more and more towards experience gifts rather than ‘stuff’ gifts (I think we’ve all been majorly affected by the Story of Stuff) I’m loving that places like the Seattle Aquarium have ways like this that kids can get involved in our communities and I’m very thankful that we chose to become Oyster Catcher members this year. I hope we can keep this one up.
(PS. some other great memberships that we subscribe too that would make fabulous Seattle gifts for families with young kids: the Woodland Park Zoo, the Science Center, Seattle Art Museum and the MOHAI. A lot of these places also have behind the scenes, special exhibits or extra tours. Sometimes these are fun ways families can experience places they may have seen many times before in a new and different way. I often look for things like this for experiences when we travel in other places too.)