The Perfect Family Vacation - Page 2

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Spending a week of learning about marine animals big and small would never be possible without all the fun and games provided by the teachers and counselors. During the week, I always seem to have a little shadow. One I will never forget is my little buddy Oci, age 4, who came wherever I went and always helped get snacks and get the other kids' attention. He was always by my side, and his grandfather told me he would only go to camp with me, holding my hand the whole way into the classroom. At the end of the week, his mother and grandfather came up to thank me for such a great week. At that moment, Oci appeared, carrying his little dolphin from Dolphin Academy, and informed me that his little dolphin was named Katie, after me. Words cannot express the feeling of joy that little gesture gave me as a teacher – it's something I will never forget.

What do the kids do all day? Do they spend the whole day in the water? Not quite. Education programs in the classroom at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium are not your typical setting, but just wait until the kids experience it. This is definitely far from boring, with games and activities to teach about the marine environment. Have you ever been a coral polyp before and tried to eat? How about eating little fish, like a nurse shark does? Ever wonder what it would be like to be a dolphin and know what the trainer is asking? Why do sea lions growl, and how do they talk to each other? All these questions are answered, but you have to become the animal to really answer them. Nobody could forget the best part of the aquarium: the touch tank! Who is daring enough to pick up a sea urchin or hold a conch? So much fun and games, who knows where mom and dad are hanging out?

When asking 7-year-old Jennifer what her favorite thing at camp was, she said, "Sucking up the gummy worms and fish!" I'll bet you're wondering the same thing parents ask their kids at the end of day: "What are you talking about?" Learning to be a nurse shark and eat like one can be sloppy business, with water splashing and gummy fish flying. It seems that so much fun really can't involve learning, but you would be surprised how much more kids remember from one week of camp than they do from a whole year of science in school.

While the kids are swimming with stingrays, sharks and turtles, it's time for the parents to enjoy their guilt-free vacation of diving, snorkeling or just lying on the beach with a good book. Ocean Encounters and their staff take care of the divers and make sure that mom and dad are having just as much fun as the kids. Adults can dive the beautiful Curaçao coral reefs or any number of wrecks, including the famous Superior Producer, which lies at 100 feet. There's something for everyone.

Kids Sea Camp Curaçao will entice the entire family, from divers who just want to casually linger over a beautiful shallow reef teeming with fish in 80-degree water to those who want satisfy an experienced diving palate on a shipwreck like the Superior Producer. Curaçao does not just satisfy the diver, though; it keeps nondiving family members busy with snorkeling, kayaking, beachcombing, an island tour and the sights of the Hato Caves. There are museums, casinos and spas awaiting those who prefer topside entertainment. There's also a bonfire, a treasure hunt and tons of giveaways, such as SCUBAPRO gear and a Sea Life Reef Master underwater camera. At Kids Sea Camp, there's never a dull moment.

So what do the kids who got certified last year do this year? What will experienced junior open-water divers do for a whole week? They can dive with sea lions and jump in at Animal Encounters to dive with stingrays, feed turtles, see sharks and pet our goliath grouper, Herby. They can become underwater photographers and collect research data on the Sea Aquarium reef with marine biologists. Don't forget, they can even spend time with the dolphins. How does that sound to you? This is all included in our NEW Ocean Discovery Specialty diver program for PADI-certified kids. During this week, mom and dad will be wishing they were kids again.

For more information on all Kids Sea Camp programs, call 800-934-3483 or visit

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