Thursday, May 04, 2006

Exploris Aquarium

Yesterday, as planned, we went to the Aquarium in Portaferry after my x-ray appointment. It was a good drive to Strangford Lough, and then we drove the car onto the little ferry that crosses to the other side of the lough, where the aquarium is. Its quicker to do that than to drive to the other side of the peninsular. Luke was so excited about seeing the fish, and he especially wanted to see the sharks and starfish. Sam and Jude were still a little disappointed about the organic farm. But we had a great day at the aquarium.
Because it was a school day the place was pretty quiet. There were touch tanks with fish that the kids could touch - starfish, sea urchins, friendly sharks, and extremely frienly ray fish that loved to have their noses stroked! The kids like the touch tanks the best. This time there were 3 rescued seals and they were all out sunbathing on the rocks. They have changed the upstairs part of the exhibition to enclude a fantastic new play area. It kept our kids amused for hours. There were all sorts of costume to dress up in - Jude dressed up as a diver, Sam as a jellyfish and Luke as a crab! There was also a new beach hut which had an area for making sea-life puppet shows. Needless to say we had to watch a show performed by Sam about the hermit crab who was looking for a new home!

You can click on the photos to see them bigger.

After we had spent a few hours at the aquarium we drove home through Downpatrick. We had an hour to spare so we stopped at St Patricks grave. The kids were recently learning a little about St Patricks Day so we thought they might enjoy seeing the grave, and the Cathedral. There wasnt much to see really, just a large grave stone with an ancient graving sayin 'Patrick' on it, and a stone with a little info. But we also popped into the Down Museum, which was free. We love free stuff! We took a little tour of the gaol - the prison from many moons ago. The kids loved that. In the prison cells they had waxwork people dressed in old costume, and there was info telling about the people who were kept there and what their crimes were. Outside the prison we could see where the gallows pole used to hang across the street - this is where they would have publicly hanged the condemned. Kids love anything gorey like that! For some reason there was a huge outdoor chess set in the grounds, so we all had a play at that too.

Here is Sam, Luke, Steve and Jude at the gravestone of St Patrick, in Downpatrick.

Playing chess in the prison grounds.

Me, Sam and Jude looking gorgeous, in part of the new play area.


Tammy said...

What a great time you guys had! Makes you feel really fortunate to be homeschooling, on days like that, doesn't it?

emily said...

Hi Hazel!
It's such a great place ad I'm glad you all had fun.
We'll have to go again when it's not so busy. Our Easter week trip there was not a compete success!

Davy said...

Definitely caption of the week; 'Playing chess in the prison grounds' -- you get a much better class of inmate in the Mayger family!