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Ripley’s Aquarium: The Slime Exhibit

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Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has always done an excellent job of shaking things up. They’re always building new exhibits, changing the temporary exhibits, and going out of their way to include new things that are sure to excite young learners—and the current slime exhibit is no exception. What better appeal to a child than ooey, gooey, slimy things to touch, manipulate, or explore?

Electronic appeal.
Electronic appeal. Emily L. Goodman

Electronic appeal.

In a building chock full of things to look at, touch, and explore, what is it that constantly draws kids to the electronics?  Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t going away any time soon, but Ripley’s capitalizes on this appeal.

Plenty of things to manipulate.
Plenty of things to manipulate. Emily L. Goodman

Plenty of things to manipulate.

Many of the exhibits have buttons, knobs, or slides to adjust.  They make fun noises, have bright lights, and give the kids plenty to look at.  These manipulative exhibits are much more likely to stick with kids than simply reading the information on a poster.

A game to play.
A game to play. Emily L. Goodman

A game to play.

Squirting the lobsters with water was a great, fun game for all of the kids to play—appropriate for all ages with a reasonable amount of assistance.  This one definitely engaged the senses--and it was one of the hardest to get the toddler back away from.

A place to touch the animals.
A place to touch the animals. Emily L. Goodman

A place to touch the animals.

.  Ripley’s has always included plenty of opportunities to touch various animals—sting rays, for example—but now, they’ve added jellyfish to their exhibit.  Manned by an aquarium employee at all times to ensure safety for both the animals and the kids, this exhibit enables kids to get up close to some smaller jellyfish.  It’s a little intimidating to those who might be afraid of a sting, and definitely not a good idea for young children, who might not know to be gentle; but it’s a great added experience for older kids.

Lots of critters to look at.
Lots of critters to look at. Emily L. Goodman

Lots of critters to look at.

What animals could be more fun for a kid than the ones that are slimy—and the more, the better?  There are plenty of exhibits to check out in this new room.  Of course, they'll appeal to boys more than girls--but even girls may go back for a second look.

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