Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Virginia Aquarium: Not on a Rainy Day

On a rainy day in tourist season, the best place to take your out of town guests is... NOT the aquarium. Try the beach.

When you have guests staying at your house, and some of them are little children, and these little children like fish and sharks and stuff, and it's raining and you can't play outside or go to the zoo or beach, you might find yourself thinking, "The Marine Science Museum might be nice." Then, you might correct yourself by saying, "I mean, of course, that the Virginia Aqauarium would be nice."

Allow me to help: It wouldn't be nice. It would be crowded. Remember, this is tourist season. And where do tourists go when they can't go to the beach? To the aquarium. And they all want to step on you, occlude your view of your children, and make flashes go off in your face.

Now that we've established I'm completely unaware of where I live and what time of year it is, let's go further to point out that I have no understanding of the laws of physics: I brought the stroller.

The Virginia Aquarium is a real joy, on school days when the kiddies are all packed up in the classrooms, and the homeschoolers can roam freely through its hallowed halls, taking lots of time at the sea turtle tank, playing endlessly with the "what floats" experiment, coaxing the rays, picking up oysters with the little wooden stick thingies, and pretending to go underwater in the shark exploring submarine.

That is not how it is on rainy summer days. On rainy summer days, even the giant lobster is annoyed. By the time we reached the Chesapeake Bay aquarium, I was giving my guests helpful info like "That's a fish. That's a fish. That's a fish. Okay let's go!" When we finally hit the shark tank I remember saying to my friend, "I have no idea where Benny is. My only hope is that he hasn't been eaten by a barracuda or someone from Ohio."

It's not that I don't love tourists -- I do. It's just that all year long, those of us who homeschool enjoy such quiet comfort in these attractions -- the zoo, the aquarium, the children's museum, and all the rest of it. It's sad, a little bit, that summer is here and we have to share with the rest of the world. If I'm being honest, as Simon Cowell would say, I wish public school went year round! *evil homeschool cackle* Just kidding! Welcome to the daylight hours, rest of the world. We'll make some space at the jellyfish tank for you.

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