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Aquarium’s first-year ‘mini-camps’ allowed for mix of fun, science

While Spring Break is often seen by students as a break from school, the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center showed local children it’s OK — and fun — to continue learning while on break.

The aquarium hosted Spring Break “mini camps” this week, condensed versions of the camps they held last summer. The goal of the camps is to give students a hands-on learning experience that went beyond what they could learn just by visiting the aquarium. Education Director Colleen Edwards said the positive response from the community was immediate and “overwhelming,” with Edwards actually having to set a cap for the number of students they could accept for the week at around 15.

“We had to turn people away, which I wasn’t expecting,” Edwards said. “Next year, we’ll open up more sections and hopefully be able to have more people.”

The students got to do more than just learn about the animals in the science center, they were allowed to feed them, hold them and learn how the animals’ cages get cleaned.

Each of the camps had a different theme. The outdoor explorer camp exposed the kids to Oklahoma botany and wildlife. Wednesday’s “Biologists 2.0” camp, which was for high-school-aged students, allowed students to “really get their hands dirty and do what our biologists do,” Edwards said. For the most part, the camps were geared toward students aged 8-14, with the exception of the biology camp.

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