The University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and the College of Marine Studies have planned numerous activities to interest and excite children of all ages at Coast Day on Sunday, October 1, at the Lewes campus.
A special exhibit, "Going to Extremes!," will be open all day in Room 104, Cannon Lab. The entire family will enjoying learning about the research that UD scientists are conducting in two of the most demanding and unusual environments on the planet: super-hot hydrothermal vents in the deep sea and the icy waters around Antarctica.
Posters, hands-on exhibits, and an actual 400-pound hydrothermal vent will highlight the 'hot' environment of the Extreme 2000 research expedition -- the first deep-sea expedition of the century. Visitors will be able to walk through a mockup of the submarine Alvin to see how research on the bottom of the ocean is conducted. Children will be fascinated and intrigued by the bizarre-looking 'creatures of the deep,' such as lipstick-like tubeworms. In addition, youngsters will see the high-tech tools that the scientists use to study the vents.
The 'cold' environment will showcase the Earth's frozen continent, Antarctica. Posters and exhibits will describe how the scientists work in the frigid temperatures. Children will be surprised at the number and variety of animals that live in the polar seas and how they have adapted for life in this seemingly uninhabitable environment.
In a variation of the popular television show, visitors will be asked questions about the ocean in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Oceanographer?" This fun and educational program will be held four times, in half-hour intervals, starting at 1:00 p.m. in the Schooner Room of the Virden Center.
The Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute will offer a number of activities in the Mallway Tent. Everybody can express their creativity by helping to paint a mural of marine mammals. It will be displayed in the Carmine Environmental Center at Camp Arrowhead, outside Lewes, after Coast Day. At 2:30 p.m., kids will learn how to fold a piece of paper into a whale during a demonstration of the ancient art of origami.
The whole family can enjoy the fun at 1, 2, 3, and 4:00 p.m. in the main parking lot, when children will team together to "Build a Blue Whale," the largest mammal in the world. Following a brief natural history lesson, the children will be assigned different body parts and will assemble in the appropriate positions along a 100-foot rope and mimic the movements of the blue whale.
The Great Crab Race will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. outside Cannon Lab. Test your favorite bait against the scientists' specially formulated bait to see whose bait will lure the crab to the finish line first. Chicken necks, salted eels, and good, old table scraps have been winning baits in the past. Following each race, a blue crab feeding will take place -- a good opportunity to learn about the appetite and feeding habits of this crustacean.
Tour the 47-foot Coast Guard motor life boat, the 56-foot NOAA survey ship Bay Hydrographer, the 166-foot DELRIVER oil skimmer, and New Jersey's tall ship, the A. J. Meerwald in the harbor. At 2:30 p.m. the Coast Guard will demonstrate an air/sea rescue. In conjunction with a boat show sponsored by the Delaware Marine Trades Association, children who sign a safe boating pledge will receive a free life jacket. This giveaway will occur near the Seafood Pavilion, while supplies last, and is designed to encourage boating safety.
Activities that will continue throughout the day include making fish prints to take home, observing and touching marine critters, digging for fossils, and seeing how waves transport sand along the shore. An "Ask the Oceanographer" booth will be located in the lobby of Cannon Lab to answer questions about marine science. Also in the lobby, and new this year, will be a display that will feature jellyfish from the Mid-Atlantic region.
Coast Day is Sunday, October 1, 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.