Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Best. Field. Trip. Ever.

One of the complaints my team had to deal with as we moved into fifth grade was that the parents really wanted an overnight trip, but in the past, they had been too long, expensive, and poorly planned. 

So, I wanted something that had real 'wow' factor but was reasonably priced and within a few hours' drive. Easy-peasy. Atlanta.

We did the CNN tour, visited the MLK, Jr. National Monument, and hit the World of Coke. Definitely a day loaded with learning and shenanigans, as you can see.

 The kids loved the CNN center and everyone was awed by the MLK visit. The best part of the trip, though, in everyone's opinion, was spending the night (yep, as in, with sleeping bags) at the Georgia Aquarium. We began our visit after it had closed to the public, had a behind-the-scenes tour that held more than a few surprises, played learning games, took conservation classes, and had pizza.

Having the aquarium to ourselves was magical. It was very quiet and dimly lit, and the effect of that and of the animals on the kids - the wonder of it all - was a thing of beauty to see. Kind of an 'Oh, yeah, this is why I teach.' moment:
This is Maris, a very, very pregnant Beluga whale. So much so that when she rolled over, we could watch the baby move. Poor girl; we moms felt for her.She was quite interested in the kids. She seemed to know that people didn't belong at that time.

A way-cool moment was watching one of the chaperones, who was quite enamored with Maris. She just couldn't pull herself away, long after the kids had gone on. Another chaperone and I left her, finally, saying, "When else in your life will you get to be all alone with her like that?"

Anyway, after a crazy-full but-nobody-minded evening, we bedded down for the night. Here.
One of the nice things about having better-than-average management skills is that I could have an epic pillow fight with 52 kids and know that it wouldn't get totally out of control. What's good's a sleepover with no pillow fight? Something that surprised me was that there was no fussing about who slept next to whom. Boys and girls, though in clumps, ended up next to each other, and I ended up with a kid I'd taught in kindergarten, but wasn't in my class now, next to me. 

Eventually, everyone got in for lights out. Here's the night's view. Yes, that would be a whale shark at the top of the tank. The Georgia Aquarium has four. 

There is something to be said for falling asleep watching whale sharks and manta rays. Seriously.

Anyway, the tank lights come on at 6:00, and as soon as they did, the kids were watching and whispering. I groaned at them to go back to sleep, like that might actually happen, but they were right. It was too awesome. 

We still had a full morning ahead, with more behind-the-scenes, now that more people were at work, and a dolphin show.

If you're anywhere within reasonable driving distance, I would strongly recommend the overnight experience. We'll definitely be going back!

No comments:

Post a Comment