Monday, June 30, 2008

Do ants sleep?

Hobby Lobby has 80% selected home accents. Avery found a small metal ant and, since her initials are A.N.T., we bought it. On the way home she asked me if ants sleep. My answer, "I don't know. I've never really thought about it!" So we came home and looked it up on the Internet. It seems that ants at least go into a rest phase, if not real sleep...some for up to 7 hours a day. Isn't it great that we can just type in "do ants sleep" and get instant results???

We have been working on re-doing Avery's room.
This is our inspiration room, and I'll take pictures of Avery's room once I'm finished! Her room will have some touches of pink as well, but we're pretty much sticking to the lime, black, and white color scheme. I bought an ugly clock at Hobby Lobby and some black/white scrapbook paper. I colored in some of the white with a lime marker then decoupaged the clock.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day Three and Day Four!!

Day Three:
We started in Dolphin Cove. We fed the dolphins with our left hands and we're able to pet them with our right hands. Avery was leery of the teeth and didn't reach out to pet any of the dolphins. Then, she cried for thirty minutes afterward because she didn't get to pet a dolphin!!!
We walked over to the Sharks/The Coral Reef building. We learned about the sharks first. The kids were all fascinated with them! We had shark dress-up time and snack before going to the coral reef section. The kids picked their favorite fish from the exhibit and then tried to draw them. Avery chose a yellow and blue striped fish...and did a very good job of drawing it. Then the kids had a salt-water fish dress-up. A boy and girl both had sparkly outfits!!
Then we went to the clydesdales. They are so big and beautiful. We got to pet a male named Andy, and took pictures as a group.
Ater camp was over Avery and I went back to the dolphin tank. We stayed there until Avery worked up the courage to pet one. The amazement on her face was worth the tears and the waiting!!
We went to the Believe show and each time I see the orcas perform, it is amazing! Avery wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel so we did, twice. Then she wanted to ride the Orca roller coaster. We got in line and a little girl behind us was looking for a partner to ride with. So, I got out of line while the two girls rode together!

Day Four:
We spent the day behind the scences at the Zoological research facilities. We observed a bull shark and two nurse sharks. The kids were all very good at following the rules! Then we were able to play with the (de-barbed) sting rays and brown manta rays. They would swim right up to our hands and wriggle their bodies as we pet them. Avery would only pet the small ones, but we both had a great time! Then we learned about the transport boxes and I'm afraid I would be claustophobic if I had to ride in one very long. We pet a Bamboo shark. I think Avery would have jumped right into the shark tank if we would have let her, she really was mesmerized by them. We met a Monk seal that was hoping we had food, and saw some more bottlenosed dolphins. On our way back into the park we passed by some flamingos, scarlet ibis, and spoonbills. There is also a lemur back there!
Then we got to go behind the scenes at the Shamu theatre. Shamu is a generic name they use for any of the adult orcas. There are currently four orcas in San Antonio: Kyuquot, Keet, Unna, and Tuar. Then the kids made shamu costumes out of paper bags. They were so cute. Lea gave us a cirtificate saying we had completed camp, complete with our group picture from the day before.
We stayed in the Shamu theatre and watched the Believe show. Cameron and her uncle Matt had to leave, but Sophie and her Nana stayed. We had lunch/snack with them and then let the girls hang out together. They rode the orca roller coaster twice, the ferris wheel twice, and the paint can ride once. They played in the Water works, Then we went to Lost Lagoon where the girls swam in the kiddie pool.
Avery bought four stuffed animals, one for each day of camp. We now have Sarah the seal, Emily the beluga, Candy the orca, and Cindy the dolphin. I purchased some education material that we will use this year in school. We had such a fun time, Avery is already asking if she can go to camp again next summer!!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shaky Start

We were late to camp today because Avery got sick last night and threw up again this morning, actually both kids threw up! Luckily it was just a bug or something and they appear to be better.
Today was a lot of fun. We started by comparing the length and weight of dolphins, beluga whales, and orcas. Orcas grow from 18-22 feet and weigh 12,000-16,000 pounds. Beluga whales get up to 12 feet and about 3,000 pounds. The Pacific White Sided Dolphin is 6-8 feet long and weighs 300-400 pounds.
We went and looked at the beluga whales, we were only a few feet away from where they surfaced! Then we had a question and answer session with one of the dolphin trainers. The kids were asking basic questions like how cold is the water (67 degrees), how many dolphins do you have (7), do the animals prefer one trainer over another (sometimes), and other relatively simple things. Avery raised her hand and waited several minutes to be called on. When it was her turn she simply asked, "Where is the Daddy dolphin?" The trainer said that was a very good question. The dad, Jump-Jump, is on loan to an aquarium in Chicago. Zoos, aquariums, and parks around the world work together and trade semen samples to keep gene pools varied. He said that sending sample through Fed-Ex is much simpler than trying to transfer the animals across the country or around the planet!!! Have you ever tried to explain artificial insemination to a bunch of 4-5 year olds? Obviously the trainer hasn't either! It was pretty funny!!!
We had some time to spend before the Viva! show. It was the perfect time for snack. Then, we made some construction paper tadpoles. I didn't realize that Sea World had a frog exhibit, but we got to see it today. Most of the frogs appeared to be wax figures, you had to look very closely to observe them breathing.
After the frogs, we went back over to the Viva! stadium and Anthony got to dress up as a beluga whale. He had blubber, fins, a tail, and a humped head. The kids offered explanations for why a beluga has the hump on his for when he bumps the glass, stores water like a camels hump, or helps them float. The real reason is for echolocation.
All of the Small Wonders campers got to see the Viva! show together. This is an acrobatic show with Beluga whales, dolphins, synchronized swimmers, and high-jumping divers. It is simply amazing how high out of the water the dophins can jump!!! They don't just jump, they also twist and flip and spin!!!! WOW! Avery was impressed with the beluga whales pushing the trainers around the pools. After the show one of the Beluga trainers came over. He said the animals started out nopt wanting to cooperate, but the show was successful in the end. The kids wanted to know if it hurt the whalews for him to stand on their noses. He told them no! Whales are much bigger and stronger than humans and they just feel pressure when the trainers are on their noses!!
I'm really enjoying Sea World camp!!!
After camp, Avery and I went to Lost Lagoon with Cameron, her uncle, Sophie, and her Nana. They floated a while in the Castaway River. All appeared to have a good time, and I enjoyed relaxing by myself! The others stayed in Lost Lagoon to have lunch while Avery and I went over the Shamu's Harbor. There we rode the Orca roller coaster. Avery really enjoyed it, even going on it again by herself!!!! She is growing up too quickly!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Campers

Today was our first day of Sea World Small Wonders Camp. Avery's group is called the Killer Whales. There are 10-12 kids in each group and only three girls in the Killer Whale group: Avery, Cameron, and Sophie. The girls quickly sought each other out, and by the end of the week I'm predicting they will be great friends!
We started at the Penguin Encounters. We looked at the Penguins then had a question and answer session. We learned that the penguins must have fresh snow shoveled into the exhibit several times a day or the penguins can get a disease in their feet! Then we looked at the Puffins. We compared and contrasted the Penguins and Puffins. While they do look very similar a major difference is Puffins can fly.
Each day of camp the one child a day will get to dress up as a sea animal. Today Avery was chosen to dress up as the penguin. They discussed the adaptations of a penguin as they dressed her. Blubber is for warmth. The black and white coloration is camouflage for protection. Flippers and webbed feet are for swimming. Today's story time was also about a Penguin's adaptations.
We had a snack of animal crackers before going to feed the seals and sea lions. We saw some American otters on the way to the Seal and Sea Lion tank. Once there, an educator told us the differences between Seals and Sea Lions. Each camper received a small container of fish that we threw to the animals. The seals just sat still and hoped you threw the fish directly to them, the sea lions were pushing each other, barking loudly, in order to compete for the fish. We did a seal craft before getting to meet the sea lion trainer. We met the trainer and Dylan, a sea lion. He, the trainer...not Dylan, told us that it takes about 5 years for a sea lion to learn all the tricks and cues for the performance, The Cannery Row Caper.
The last activity of the day was to walk to Alligator Alley. Over at the alligator pond, we met Remi...a baby American Alligator. All the kids had the opportunity to pet Remi!!!

Avery and I stuck around for a while. We wandered through the Clydesdale Barn, strolled over to the Dolphin Cove, and saw Believe. Then, we went to McDonald's for a chicken nugget lunch. Avery slept all the way to Lakehills. I think it was a great first day!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dinner Story

We are so lucky that my Mom doesn't have to work this summer. She came to Houston to visit us for a few days. Avery brought over a Diet Dr.Pepper for my Mom to drink. My mom told her no thanks, she didn't want a hot soda. Avery took it to the kitchen then came back with another Dr. Pepper. She told us, "I'm just going to have a cold one."