Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
From the tourist information centre in Plaza Ayuntamiento I bought combined tickets for the aquarium (Oceanográfic) and the science centre of Valencia (Museu de les Cienciés de la Valéncia). We caught bus 18 from behind the bullfighting ring to the 2nd round about once we crossed the river park and then we walked into the park and marveled at the architecture while we walked to the aquarium.
We have had magnificent weather all week and it was in the mid 20s as we walked to the aquarium. We are not used to sunshine or warmth because we live in Trondheim, Norway so it was challenging for our children but we managed and thankfully many of the exhibits at the aquarium are below ground.
Apparently it’s the biggest aquarium in Europe and it certainly is a large complex with Arctic, Antarctic, temperate and tropical enclosures and includes some reptiles, amphibians and birds, as well as the usual aquatic animals. Some of it felt more like a zoo than an aquarium and reminded us of why we don’t visit zoos. However the enclosures seem fine, the animals are protected from the human visitors and it’s fine as far as zoos go. Our 8 year old son dashed from exhibit to exhibit observing, learning, commentating, and moving on, drinking it all in. Ultimately he became very interested in the Streets Calippo slushy drinks though and he enjoyed 500ml of that while our 10 year old daughter had 2 scoops of Gelato and we had decaffeinated capuccinos.
We missed a show at the delfinarium and when I chatted with an attendant he said that the dolphin show is the highlight of the aquarium so we arrived half an hour early for the next show. It was fantastic. The show is in Spanish. I understood some, our children didn’t understand anything but it didn’t matter because the magnificent dolphins are so entertaining and eager to please and receive treats and applause. The dolphins didn’t seem to suffer for living in captivity because they do a lot of exercise in the show and seem to have good bonds with their handlers.
We walked home through the park, into the old town and tried to jolly our children along with their tired legs.
On Good Friday we walked back to the park, this time to play at Gulliver’s play ground but after half an hour our children were not enjoying it because of the crowding, the heat (it wasn’t hot by Mediterranean standards), and boredom because they had climbed and slid the bits that interested them.
So we kept walking and visited the science museum (Museu de les Cienciés de la Valéncia). The science centre was quite good but less than what I expected considering the building that hosts it is so innovative. We’ve taken our children to science centres in Australia, Malaysia, Poland, Indonesia and Norway and this one is similar to those in terms of experiences for children 6-10. The highlights were the exploratorio with its hands-on exhibits, the ‘behind the electric wall socket’ exhibition and the play section at the space exhibit. Fortunately our 8 year old son received a science kit for his birthday so he and his 10 year old sister have started learning about electricity, so this added more to their enjoyment at the Valencia science centre.