August 14th, 2006

little review

Poem for Monday

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I am back from a really lovely day in Connecticut with my family and much of it with half_elf_lost and part of her family. We went to the Mystic Aquarium's Penguin Contact Program, which younger son desperately wanted to do in lieu of having a birthday party -- our original plan was to go with my sister and her two older daughters, but since the older one is still not completely well and they weren't sure if they would send her to camp on Monday, we decided getting together was just not meant to be this weekend and stayed in Connecticut all day without them. We got to pet two different penguins -- one which wandered around our circle in a classroom for half an hour while the caretaker talked about penguin diet, behavior, etc., and another which we took turns playing vet with, listening to its heartbeat, inspecting its beak and checking its wings. It was really wonderful to get so close to the birds and they were extremely amusing -- one was chasing a fly and tried to groom the legs of a couple of participants (there are only ten in each group), and one kept trying to jump over the benches we sat on to walk around the back of the room, so they were very close to us and curious and not at all aggressive while around the children. And adorable!

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After the penguin encounter we met up with half_elf_lost and walked through the outdoor penguin habitat and sea lion and seal exhibit, had lunch, saw the beluga whales and indoor aquariums (there is a ray touch tank, a small crustacean touch tank and a crawl-through cave for kids beneath one of the undersea exhibits), visited the Institute for Exploration which has many exhibits on underwater archaeology and marine science plus models of JFK's PT boat and various rooms from the Titanic as well as recreations of excavation equipment and computer simulations the kids can use, saw the sea lion show, then walked over to the shops of Old Mystic Village and went out to dinner at Old Saybrook's Pizza Works, which has great stuff like shrimp scampi pizza and Thai chicken pizza as well as several huge model train displays (photo from our last expedition here, with photos of our last trip to Mystic Aquarium here). The kids hit it off like they'd known each other for years and we had a fantastic time!

I could and later shall describe much more about the aquarium and Mystic overall, but now I must sleep, as we have many miles to drive tomorrow! *g*