GEAR UP eight grade students from Rattan recently visited the Oklahoma Aquarium. Students visited the maze of exhibits. Students enjoyed the touch tanks where they touched crawfish and sponges. They also liked the feeding tanks where they fed turtles. There are many exhibits for students to explore. They visited Aquatic Oklahoma, where students saw prehistoric paddlefish, alligators, and feed turtles.
They continued their tour with Extreme Amazon, where students viewed fish up close, crawled under exhibits, and viewed the animals from below the tanks.
Next, they saw the Marvels and Mysteries exhibits where students found jellyfish, tiny toxic frogs, electric eels, and archerfish. The Shark Adventures featured a walk-through shark tunnel that houses the United States’ most extensive collection of bull sharks.
Following their free time in the Aquarium, students went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Oklahoma Aquarium with Alyssa Rodriguez, Education Specialist. Students walked through the kitchen where food for the animals at the aquarium is prepared. Rodriguez led students on a quick tour through the Aquarium and pointed out some of the new areas such as the Sea Turtle exhibit. They walked behind the shark tanks where the water filtration units for the aquarium are located and above the shark tanks to look down into the shark tank.
“The students loved the behind the scenes tour of the Oklahoma Aquarium and getting to see the sharks up close,” said LaDonna Baldwin, GEAR UP Education Coordinator.
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant that serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools.