giving back

Aquarium Adopt-an-Animal Programs: How Field Trips Help Raise Giving Children

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Raising Giving Children—Last week, my 10-year-old son's Scout group asked me if I would accompany them to our local Living Planet Aquarium where they were taking a field trip. A field trip is the same as a playdate to me, but better, because I didn't have to plan it, we got a discount, and the boys got badges, which made them super happy! What's not to love?

With any teaching opportunity, try and find ways for your children to give back. Coupling learning with service can be powerfully memorable for them.


We met with experts who answered all of our questions about the ocean, checked out all of the exhibits, and saw the variety of animals living in fresh and salt water.

Not very long into our field trip, I noticed a sign to adopt an animal. Upon further research into the aquarium's Adopt-an-Animal program, I learned that you can adopt an animal for as low as $25 and no more than $249, which gets you, among other things, passes to the aquarium, your name on the website, and a picture of the animal.

My boys were so excited about the Adopt-an-Animal program that they forgot their fear of spiders and started figuring out what box they would keep it in. I laughed and then explained that adopting an animal means the animal stays at the aquarium, but that your donation helps the aquarium to feed and care for the animal for one year.

Upon learning that, my 10-year-old son immediately asked: "Then we can adopt that humongous snake we saw?" I guess so!

The adopt-an-animal program at this aquarium is only one way to help. Other ways to make a difference, which are similar at many local attractions, include:

  • Volunteer.
  • Adopt an animal.
  • Make a donation.
  • Sponsor an exhibit.
  • Visit the aquarium.
  • Shop at the gift shop.
  • Eat at the cafe.

When you support your local attractions in these ways, take a moment to explain to your children how your donation of time and/or money helps provide for the animals. Explaining why and the ways in which you support your aquarium will help your children gain a better appreciation for what it takes to help the animals and helps you to raise giving children.

How can your playdates and field trips help you to raise giving children? What opportunities do your local attractions like aquariums and museums have for children to give back/volunteer?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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