(I know the picture above looks kind of weird, but it’s a shipwreck!)
This week is March Break, and that means being able to go to Kingston to see my sister and her family for more than an afternoon!!!! While Kingston is amazing and very relaxing, we decided to take advantage of our extended stay by going to nearby Brockville to check out its cool new museum, Aquatarium.
First things first – the museum is very pretty to look at and the exhibits are all quite colourful and fun! There were several replicas of boats, as well as models that you could explore in. The clay mural in the picture below was created by students at Thousand Islands Secondary School in town, which gives the museum a nice community feel to it!
There were also several hands-on activities, which was very fun! There were some sandboxes as well as little pools for kids to touch tiny crabs or sea snails. I touched the spider crab in the photo below.
There was even a whole section on the use of water in the area; we did the classic activity of moving a boat from one end of a “river” to the other by changing water currents and opening and closing locks. It was kind of a struggle, and my sister and I were both unsuccessful.
Some other cool activities were making a sailboat move in the wind, and putting together a giant puzzle made of cubes! There were also a couple of green screen activities. One was a news report-type thing where you act as the weather reporter for Canada AM, and another was taking a picture beside a giant plastic fish. (You can then fill in your email address to receive the “newspaper report” with your picture on the front page!)
Something that is pretty unconventional about Aquatarium is that it offers a ropes course in the museum! Not many people can say they’ve walked between several museum exhibits while suspended from the ceiling! It costs a bit extra, but that’s no surprise. And if you’re a proud parent/sibling/family member/friend who is afraid of heights but wants to get in on the action, there is a fake boat deck which you can ascend, allowing you to take cool action shots of your more courageous and daring friends while still having your feet planted firmly on the ground!
Overall, Aquatarium was a fun place to visit but I didn’t really learn too much there. In the puzzle room, the walls were covered in information about the War of 1812 and the role of the St. Lawrence River in said war, which I appreciated, but I think most of the educational content came from little stand-up screens. I am someone who enjoys perusing through museum exhibits and reading whatever panel pops out at me, so I didn’t put in much effort to touch the little screens, and as a result, did not learn a lot. (If I come back again, I will definitely spend more time reading.) There were also QR Codes all over the museum, and I did scan a few to see what cool tidbits there were. That part was pretty fun, but all the visual and kinesthetic stimulation in real life ultimately made me put my phone away. Aquatarium was a nice and easy start, but I’ve still got an itch to learn more about the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 Islands!
Aquatarium / 6 Broad Street, Brockville, Ontario / website