Out and About

Jul 29, 2014 12:00 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out and About: Sea Explorer Camp in Avila Beach

Summer camp is usually a pretty fun experience for kids. But I'd argue those who are lucky enough to attend some of those offered on the central coast are extra fortunate. Tonight we get Out and About with the Sea Explorer camp offered by the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach and find out just how fun summer lessons can be.

There simply aren't a lot of summer camp environments that offer what the beaches of the central coast do. It's what makes camps like Sea Explorers in Avila Beach so special. "We caught something! We caught something" an 8-year-old camper squeals as the group pulls up a crab net.

Sea Explorers does more than keeps keep kids busy for week. It captures their full attention. "What's that black thing that looks like a banana?" a camper asks the camp leader as they sort through their catch. It also creates a curiosity about the marine treasures to be found in their own backyard.

"The goal is to teach them as much about the ocean, and the cool animals that live in it. And we really aim to make it as fun as possible, but teach 'em a ton." says Rob Schroeter, program director for the camps offered through the Central Coast Aquarium.

The folks who run the camp do just that. Campers get to go fishing and crabbing and explore the marine environment of the central coast and learn a ton in the process. By simply letting kids explore the wonders of what lives beyond and below the beaches and the breakers, you end up with a group of little central coast marine experts by weeks end.

"Can one of you talk about what isopods are?" an instructors asks. The answers come from all directions. "Isopods are the little things that live inside here." one camper says pointing to a batch of kelp.'

"They live in the kelp" explains another as he picks one up off the kelp. "And they kind of grab on to you a little bit so right now he's kind kind of giving me a hug on my finger. They're very interesting."

Whether it be about birds and bait balls, crabs and kelp creatures, campers become young experts eager to share their knowledge with you. "The parents say at the end of the day it's just amazing how much they spew out about the ocean." says Schroeter of his feedback from parents.

There are camps for kids from kindergarten through 9th grade.

All are a week long where they'll explore the tide pools, rocks, sandy beaches and open waters of Avila to discover the different marine life that lives within them all.

"We saw two seals today. We caught two sand dabs and I caught two jack smelts on really tiny hooks. We saw some dolphins out here. It was a pretty nice day." says 8-year-old camper Myles Keith of San Luis Obispo as he gives a rundown of the first part of their day.

It all creates a new appreciation of the ocean they'll likely carry with them now for the rest of their lives.

"Well I would just say I just love looking at the really cool creatures and catching crabs, especially the long armed ones." says Joe Larwood from Atascadero. (He's "9 and three-quarters-years old.") "Yeah, it's really cool out here. I bet kids would like this camp." Joe and his friends in this particular camp sure seemed to.

There are spaces available for August camps. They range in price from $150-$250 per week. For more information, click here.

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