Coex Aquarium Field Trip!

September 20, 2008 at 4:27 pm (Uncategorized)

On Friday Dave and I got to experience our first Kids Club field trip – we were so ridiculously excited, I think we were looking forward to it more than the kids!  The plan was to visit the Coex aquarium (http://www.coexaqua.co.kr/english/e_main.html), which is located inside Coex – a huge mega mall just south of the Han River (http://www.coexmall.com/language/en/).  We’d been to Coex once before when we saw “Dark Knight” back in August, but we didn’t even realize they had an aquarium and were very excited to see what they had to offer. 

We set off just after 9:30 in two buses – the teachers had been divided based on the kindergarten classes (Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars & Earth), and we were each responsible for a group of students.  This was definitely a task we took too lightly.  I was assigned to half of the Venus class, which only comprises four students total.  I initially thought “Four kids, and I only have to take care of two?!?  No problem!”  Well, two five year olds who want to see different exhibits at the same time is definitely a problem! Once we arrived (about a 40 minute bus ride), we marched the kiddies down to the entrance and awaited clearance to enter the aquarium.  There were several other schools who were visiting the aquarium at the same time, so we had to wait our turn.  

Once we entered the aquarium all hell broke loose – the kids ran around looking at different glass cases at the same time, and instead of enjoying the aquarium Dave and I soon found ourselves trying desperately to herd a bunch of pre-schoolers.  I have a new appreciation for the term “herding cats”, because that’s exactly what it’s like to keep about 35 kindergarteners in one place at one time. 

The two five year olds I was hanging on to (Cindy and Andy) both wanted to visit different areas at the same time, and were constantly trying to pull me in two opposite directions.  At one point Cindy was holding my digital camera so I could hold both Cindy and Andy’s hands when Cindy pulled away and ran off.  I tracked her down and found that her hands were empty.  Where was the digital camera?!?!  I asked “Cindy, where is the camera?” several times, and she ran over to a display where she had set it down against the wall.  Whew – what a close call. 

After a while we fell way behind the group and eventually one of the other teachers took Cindy so my focus was just to keep track of Andy.  I love Andy.  He is probably one of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen.  He wants nothing more than to give hugs and to sit on my lap, and he is by far all the teachers’ favourite in Venus class.  We wandered around from exhibit to exhibit, but he quickly lost interest in all of the fish and sharks, and instead wanted to jump up and down the stairs that connected different levels of the aquarium.  He had more fun counting the steps from one to twenty than he did looking at anything else in the aquarium.  There was a moment where I was showing Andy a sleeping beaver where Dave got that look in his eye and said “You’re going to be a great Mom” which made me a little teary eyed. 

We stopped at a play area around 11am where the kids were allowed to run wild and the teachers were able to catch their breath.  I was so sweaty and tired, and I couldn’t believe we’d only been at the aquarium for an hour.  I definitely have a new found respect for kindergarten teachers!  Field trips are not a cake walk by any means.  It’s actually harder work to visit the outside world than having the kiddies in a class room.  I was so relieved because I thought the aquarium visit was done, but the play room was only the half way point.  Oh my god. 

Next were a few exhibits with monkeys and other exotic animals, then the overhead aquarium full of sharks and giant turtles that swim right above your head.  I thought it was amazing, but Andy was more interested in the moving floor that slowly propelled us through the exhibit.  Oh, to be five again.  How amazing such simple things are!

After this we moved into a large common room where the kids sat down and ate snacks their parents had sent with them.  Many of them came over to the teachers and shared what they had brought, which was yet another moment of unbridled cuteness.  The kids would bring over handfuls of chips or cookies, hold them out to one of us and shyly say “Teacher…..” which meant that they wanted us to enjoy their snack with them.  There was a permanent smile on both Dave’s and my face as we experienced such innocence and generosity. 

Although we were only at the aquarium for about two hours it felt like a full day’s workout.  We were sweaty and exhausted when we returned to school, and we still had a full afternoon of elementary classes to face!  This was definitely a time for games and tests, if there ever was one.  As much as I loved this field trip, it was by far one of the most exhausting two-hour experiences of my life!

As always, we have pictures and videos of the aquarium visit, but we’re still not able to upload them to this blog.  We found out on Friday that Sarah is able to move the files from our cameras to her laptop, so with any luck we’ll be able to burn a disc with all our files and start posting all of this fun stuff like mad.

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