An ocean of fun is waiting for children of all ages at Coast Day on Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies campus in Lewes. Come see marine animals up close, learn about marine transportation through fun hands-on activities, make marine crafts to take home, take a tour of Delaware’s tall ship — and experience first-hand some of the many wonders of our oceans and marine environment.
Perhaps the best way for children to see all that Coast Day has to offer is by participating in the annual Coast Day Treasure Hunt, which is a set of questions about marine science. Children, from ages 5 to 13, search for the answers to these questions in the many displays and exhibits. Prizes will be awarded to children who successfully answer all the questions. Treasure Hunt maps are free and are available at the information table located at the front of Cannon Lab.
Also at the information table are marine transportation “playing cards” illustrated with a ship that has visited the Delaware River and Bay. This activity is designed to showcase the importance of our waterways to the United States and our region. As the children “pilot” their ship to a special exhibit on marine transportation in Room 104, Cannon Lab, the entire family will learn about this valuable industry and the many ships that visit our region.
Another fun activity in Room 104 is designed to showcase the large variety of consumer goods — food, cars, and even toys — that are transported to our doorstep by ships. In this activity, children will guess the contents of several “Black Boxes,” each of which contain a different item that is shipped by sea.
Children also will enjoy watching Tako, the Octopus, who is the star of “Deep Fried, Live! Culinary Comic Relief” by 8Legged Entertainment. In these seven cartoons, Tako divulges the secret to baking the best chocolate chip cookies as well as how to make an edible version of meat loaf and other sure-fire tips to food preparation. The videos are approximately 10 minutes long and will play continuously from 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m in Cannon Lab, Room 203.
Numerous children’s activities and exhibits will be offered in the tents between Smith and Cannon Lab. In the Education Tent, for example, Janice Trainer, 2003 Governor’s Marine Science Teacher of the the Year, will teach children about marine science through several hands-on experiments and activities.
Also in the Education Tent, the MERR (Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation) Institute will host a fascinating display on marine mammals. The entire family can walk inside Lucy, the whale, a 56-foot inflatable whale and learn about these amazing creatures of the sea.
In the Mallway Tent, which is supported in part by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority and SPI Pharm, CMS graduate students will assist children in making a fish print that is suitable for framing. In the Coastal Tent, kids can become a “geologist” for a day as they sift sand in search of fossils. Their finds, which can be taken home, will be identified by geologists from the Delaware Geological Survey.
Always popular, the Great Crab Race will be held behind Cannon Lab at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Bring your favorite bait and test it against the scientists’ to see which one will be the favorite of Delaware’s most valuable crustacean, the blue crab. A feeding and lab tour will take place after each race — a great way to learn about the crab’s appetite and feeding habits.
The harbor also will be bustling with activity. Tour the 166-foot DELRIVER oil skimmer, the 56-foot NOAA survey ship Bay Hydrographer, and Delaware’s 105-foot tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel.
The marine critter touch tank, always a favorite with children, is located in the harbor area as well as a “children’s activity table,” where kids can make shell necklaces. In addition, children can learn how stranded marine animals are rescued by taking part in a simulated rescue drill sponsored by the National Aquarium of Baltimore.
At 2:30 p.m., the Coast Guard will demonstrate an air/sea rescue. And make sure you stop by the boat show sponsored by the Delaware Marine Trades Association, where children can sign a safe boating pledge and receive a free life jacket. This giveaway will occur near the Seafood Pavilion, while supplies last, and is designed to encourage boating safety.
A number of other businesses and industries are sponsoring special exhibits and events at Coast Day, including A Lasting Impression, Bank of Delmarva, Delaware Electric Cooperative, DuPont, and Maritrans Operating Company L.P.
Admission to this educational and fun-filled event is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the UD Marine Public Education Office at (302) 831-8083, or visit the Coast Day Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu/CoastDay. Be sure to check out the full program of events!