Parents, looking for something to shake up your routine? These field trips -- in-person or virtual! -- are exactly what you need

SeaQuest offers perfect mix of education, fun

SeaQuest officials say they host people of all ages -- no matter how young or old. (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone -- especially parents and caregivers.

For months, much of the region was shut down, including businesses and hotspots where moms and dads would typically take their children.

If you’re a parent and you’re still stumped on where to take your kids, keep in mind that SeaQuest remains open. If your children might be up for an exciting journey around the planet, SeaQuest brings the wonders of our world, ranging from rainforests and deserts to exotic marine life, right to Lynchburg.

Two friendly faces you might expect to see at SeaQuest. (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

SeaQuest, if you’re not familiar, is an aquarium, but it’s also so much more. Guests are encouraged to connect with animals and learn about their ecosystems through various hands-on activities that include hand-feeding sharks, stingrays, birds and exotic animals. Adventurers in search of a more daring experience can enjoy walk-in aviaries, behind-the-scenes tours, snorkeling with reef sharks, stingrays and hundreds of tropical fish. It’s a petting zoo/aquarium feeding experience.

Marine Tanks are open for feeding, but petting and other animal interactions remain unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, there are a number of educational opportunities still up for grabs -- including field trips, which can be taken in-person or virtually, if you’re still feeling safer at home.

The capybara is a giant rodent native to South America. (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

Here are some options:

  • SeaQuest can take in-person groups of up to 20 people for a guided tour. On one tour, called “Quest,” visitors will work with a team member to see and feed animals, and learn about the five continents where they came from.
  • A science lab: Within this option, there are three stations, and the groups -- made up of 30 or fewer people -- focus on three things:
  1. Dissection: Which is a hands-on experience with the Marine Team.
  2. Water Chemistry: Also led by the Marine Team.
  3. A Food Prep and Feeding Station: This is a hands-on way to prepare food and feed marine life in the Pacu Fish Tank, the Salt Water Shark and Stingray Tank, and the Salt Water Tang and Angel Fish Tank.
  • As mentioned, SeaQuest can host virtual field trips, as well. It’s just like the guided field trip, but it’s all online. SeaQuest officials can help you figure out exactly how to get everything set up.

Although these options listed above would certainly present themselves as fun opportunities for children, SeaQuest is truly for people of all ages.

SeaQuest hosts trips for pre-schoolers, elementary school kids and teenagers -- all the way up through adult day care centers.

The aquarium’s field trip adventures are enhanced, age-specific, and led by a team of educators.

SeaQuest hosts birthday parties, as well as field trips. (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

Keeping with the theme of “fun and educational,” above, we mentioned the “Quest” tour, where visitors learn about the five continents where specific animals came from. The world’s continents are a fascinating case study in the diversity of cultures, topography and history.

We thought we’d ask: How much do you know about our continents?

Test your knowledge below with this quiz.

And for more information about how to visit or what you might experience at SeaQuest, check out the aquarium’s website. Here are some details as well about social distancing and how policies and procedures have changed due to COVID-19. Happy exploring!