Rattan seventh-grade GEAR UP students recently visited the Oklahoma Aquarium. Students walked through the maze of exhibits on a self-guided tour. The Oklahoma Aquarium is divided into several areas that feature water life from around the world as well as here at home in Oklahoma.
The most popular displays were the touch tanks that are the home to fish and sponges and the feeding tanks where students fed turtles and stingrays.
Exhibits visited included Aquatic Oklahoma, where students saw prehistoric paddlefish, alligators, and turtles. They continued on their tour with Extreme Amazon, where they viewed fish up close, crawled under exhibits, and viewed the animals from below the tanks.
Next was 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. One of the students’ favorite attractions was the Ozark Stream that featured raccoons and a river otter.
Following the free time touring the Oklahoma Aquarium, students were invited to a short class to learn about sharks. Alyssa Rodriguez, Education Specialist, taught students about the habitat, breeding habits, and biology of various sharks found around the world. Students had a question and answer session and were given shark teeth for correct answers.
“The students loved the touch tanks because they were able to touch and feed the animals,” 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.