The University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the College of Marine Studies have planned numerous activities to interest children of all ages at Coast Day on Sunday, October 3, at the Lewes campus. From meeting a dogfish shark at the marine critter tanks, to learning how waves transport sand along the shore in a hands-on demonstration, youngsters will find all kinds of activities to stimulate the intellect and delight the imagination. Many of the activities will be repeated at least once throughout the day, so youngsters can hit all of the attractions.
The Great Crab Race will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. in Cannon Lab. Be sure to bring your favorite bait, to test against the scientists' specially formulated bait, to see who can lure the crab to the finish line first. Chicken necks, salted eels, and good, old table scraps have been winning baits in the past. Or watch the blue crab feeding at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., and learn about the crustacean's appetite and feeding habits.
You'll be able to see a crab of a different kind at "Tooling Around the Ocean," a special exhibit in Room 104 Cannon Lab. Open all day, it will highlight some of the exciting tools that UD marine scientists are using to study the ocean, from deep-sea probes to satellites. In the deep-sea section, youngsters will be able to see live crabs that are able to withstand the extreme temperature, pressure, and toxic chemicals that abound near hydrothermal vent sites nearly 2 miles deep on the Pacific Ocean floor. A section of a black smoker chimney also will be on display.
Also in this exhibit, youngsters will find out how UD researchers are using underwater sound to learn more about the Delaware Bay. They will be able to hop on board the Zodiac, an inflatable boat used in Delaware Bay research, and imagine they are leading a scientific expedition.
Several special presentations are oriented to kids and their parents. At 11:30 a.m., and again at 2 p.m. in 202 Cannon Lab, the American Red Cross will present "Hurricane Awareness." In addition to talking about hurricanes, the speakers will present two videos, "Jason's and Robin's Awesome Hurricane Adventure" and "Disaster Dudes."
The JASON Project will be featured at 1 p.m. in 202 Cannon Lab. This award-winning, distance-learning program, created by famed explorer Robert Ballard, enables classroom students to take part in scientific expeditions.
Don't miss the film series from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in 203 Cannon Lab. Titles include "Into Deep Water," "Secrets of the Salt Marsh," "Ancient Sea Turtles Stranded in a Modern World," "The Crabs, the Birds, the Bay," "The Science of Whales," and "It's Eco-Logic."
A puppet show with Captain Croaker and other characters is sure to delight the younger set as they learn about boating safety. The show, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, will be presented at noon, and 1, 2, and 3 p.m. outside the Marine Operations Building near the harbor.
Tours of several vessels also will be held continuously in the harbor including a 47-foot Coast Guard motor life boat, the 166-foot DELRIVER oil skimmer, and Delaware's tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel. The Coast Guard will perform an air/sea rescue demonstration in the harbor at 2:30 p.m.
Be sure to visit the Delaware Marine Trades Association Boat Show near the Seafood Pavilion. Children who sign a safe boating pledge will receive a free life jacket while supplies last. The giveaway will begin at 11 a.m.
Have the kids try their hand at making a fish print on paper. This activity will continue throughout the day in a tent between Smith and Cannon labs. In Smith Lab, take the fish quiz and see live tautog and other local species. Budding geniuses also can try to stump the "Fish Guy" with questions.
The whole family will get a tickle out of a new activity: "Make the Marine Scene." Become a ship captain, a mermaid, or even a dancing lobster by putting a happy face on faceboards located around the campus.
Coast Day is Sunday, October 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the University of Delaware's Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. Admission is free; parking is $2. For more information, contact the Marine Communications Office at (302) 831-8083 or visit our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.