What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SeaWorldKids is a website created by the theme park featuring games, videos, and lots of information about our friends under the water. The best thing about SeaWorldKids? It highlights wild animal rescue operations by SeaWorld staff and others through a series of video resources. The second best thing? A new video feature called Generation Nature hosted by magnetic Aussie teen Bindi Irwin (daughter of the late Steve Irwin) that includes a tween-friendly social media site emphasizing the connection between saving resources and saving wild animals. Not so good: Games and accompanying apps are nothing to crow about.
What kids can learn
- life cycle
- global awareness
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- meeting challenges together
Responsibility & Ethics
- honoring the community
- learning from consequences
- making wise decisions
- respect for others
Engagement, Approach, Support
Games and apps aren't thrilling, but videos tell sea creatures' tales persuasively without preaching. The range of rescue efforts focuses on a few particularly appealing creatures.
Kids can explore the paired MyActions website and get empowered to channel concern for animals into concrete actions. Storybooks and read-along audio help kids absorb important information.
The site feels a bit bloated (it has almost too many sections!), but park-based learning extensions are stellar. Spanish and Portuguese versions also are available.
What's it about?
SEAWORLD KIDS offers a vast, interwoven web of resources to educate kids about the ocean's creatures, rescue efforts, and park-based entertainment. From the main page, kids can access videos, blogs, trailers, read-along audio storybooks, apps, games, and fact sheets, all focusing on endangered species such as sea turtles, manatees, and polar bears. Sub-sites include Generation Nature, hosted by Bindi Irwin, and MyActions, which allows kids to select and share their own conservation actions such as recycling, picking up litter, and biking to get around. Users 13 and older also can upload stills and videos via Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.
Is it any good?
SeaWorldKids balances entertainment and education as it showcases the perils faced by wild creatures across the world from polar bears to manatees, all with an eye on conservation. Videos -- especially those led by assistant park curator Chuck Cureau and webisodes featuring Bindi Irwin -- not only make sustainability fun but establish a clear connection between human activity and the dangers faced by wild animals. In one video, SeaWorld staff rescue and return a sea turtle found with a long-line fishing hook lodged in its esophagus. In another hosted by Polar Bears International, kids experience out-on-the-tundra realities where higher temperatures melt pack ice earlier in the season, causing anxious, hungry bears to pace on dry land, cut off from their prematurely watery hunting grounds.
The site's resources go pretty deep, but sometimes it takes a bit too much digging to get to the goodies, and it can be hard to re-find favorites. Games and apps also are pretty run of the mill. These quibbles aside, and despite (and perhaps in response to) the troubling documentary Blackfish, SeaWorld focuses a good deal of effort and resources on species research, habitat protection, animal rescue and rehabilitation, and conservation education.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about endangered species in their local area and how their actions impact these vanishing creatures. Could you cut back on plastic bags? What other small changes can you make to help the environment?
Read the Community blog together and find ways to take part in activities such as Endangered Species Day.