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Monterey Bay Aquarium's Fun & Learning

Website review by
Ellen Dendy, Common Sense Media
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Fun & Learning Website Poster Image

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Oceans of learning and fun for young marine fans.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

Aquarium employees and volunteers educate the public about marine habitats and wildlife and the importance of getting involved to help save them; each year the aquarium features blogs by three young "Official Explorers" who help protect fragile marine habitats and wildlife.

Violence & Scariness

Nothing in kids' section, but the aquarium's main site mentions predators killing their prey and other wildlife survival behavior that may scare little ones.

Sexy Stuff

Nothing in kids' section, but mating habits of marine animals may crop up on the aquarium's main site.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Fun & Learning section of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's site is created specifically for kids. There's no unsavory language, violence, sexual stuff, or bad behavior. (Kids can easily access the aquarium's main site from the kids' section, but it's as squeaky clean as the kids' section.) Activities are varied and include creative art projects, memory games, and interactive learning. Many of the activities require a printer, and some require materials like scissors and paint. Younger kids might need some help navigating around.

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What's it about?

Dive into the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Fun & Learning site, where kids can learn about marine environments and animals from the aquarium's dedicated team of experts. The hands-on area offers 30 games and activities (for ages 4-18) and includes art projects (creating a shark mask), quizzes (bingo quiz about otters), and interactive learning areas ("Virtual Dive into Monterey Canyon"). The site also features blogs by three Official Explorers (selected each year), who range from 10-13 years old and promote the aquarium's conservation mission by writing about their activities, such as participating in World Ocean Day. Kids can also create and send marine-themed e-cards.

Is it any good?

Instructions are clear, but some activities require materials (like paint and scissors) while others require printing or opening other programs. (Note that most of the games and activities are geared to kids in elementary school.) The aquarium's main site is also kid-friendly and offers even more to learn including an extensive field guide with photos and descriptions of everything from abalone to zebra sharks.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important for us to protect marine environments. If an entire plant or animal species disappeared, would it affect that particular marine area and if so, how? What can kids do to help? Families can also discuss which games and activities they enjoyed the most. Did you learn anything about marine environments from the activities you did?

Website details

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