Tag Archives: holiday programs

Shoreline Show Stoppers

Every winter, anyone along the East Coast of Australia gets a front row seat for one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

The stars are humpback whales – massive marine mammals that like to steal the limelight.  These traveller performers drop by on their 25,000 kilometre round trip between Antarctica and their breeding grounds in the tropics.

These acrobatic animals are definite crowd pleasers – playing to an appreciative audience….

Just the sight of a spout is enough to cause a commotion…and little wonder.  After holding their breath for twenty minutes, humpbacks can exhale several metres into the air…..

But it’s really just the warm up – the opening act can be pectoral fin slaps…. When their five metre long appendages slam onto the ocean surface – a wakeup call for anyone close by.

Tail slaps are another great way to grab attention. One is never enough.  It’s an opportunity to show off their personal fluke pattern – the best way to identify a humpback….

If they sense they’re losing their audience, the whales can opt for a spy hop – raising their head out of the water to assess the world around them….

But the absolute shop stopper is the full body breach – when up to 30 tonnes of mammal is launched into the air and slams back down.  The impact is phenomenal – seen and heard from kilometres away.

There’s lots of different theories as to why whales perform this manoeuvre – some feel it’s a way to communicate with other humpbacks close by; others believe it’s like a giant stretch after a long rest – a signal they’re about to get active again.

Either way its unforgettable – and can only be topped if there’s an understudy in tow.  Young calves accompany their mothers on the trip back south, eager to try out their performance skills as well.

At just five metres long, they’re only a fraction of their Mum’s size but still capable of making their presence felt.  Drinking 400 litres of milk a day, these youngsters grow quickly and by this time next year will be ready to go solo.

In a final bow to the crowd, the whales lift their tails and disappear from stage – diving deep and leaving the audience wanting more, with no indication where and when their next performance will be.

Even if you miss the show, you can learn more about these magnificent animals in one of Ocean Life Education’s Marine Mammal presentations.  Click here for more details.

A Shout out to Sharks

They are the most feared, yet the most misunderstood, of all marine animals – apex predators that pre-date the dinosaurs by an estimated 200 million years.

Of the almost 500 species of sharks swimming in our oceans, only a handful are the complex killers we hear about on the news – the majority have a far more sensitive side.

The reality is sharks don’t have a mean bone in their body… in fact they have no bones at all! Their skeletons are comprised of cartilage which is flexible and lightweight – allowing some to reach speeds of close to 100 kilometres an hour.

But while their sleek, race car bodies have helped them to survive for so long, ironically, it is also contributing to their downfall. Shark cartilage is used in beauty treatments and alternate medicines – a part of the reason 100 million of them are killed every year by humans.

It seems we have a love/hate relationship with these fish – while movies like Jaws are enough to keep some of us high and dry on the sand during a trip to the beach, others go to great lengths to absorb nutrients from sharks, adopting an eat or be eaten approach.

Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Asia and demand for the prestige product has led to the decimation of some species including the scalloped hammerhead. The process of removing the dorsal fin from a live animal is illegal in Australian waters, but the practise is difficult to police.

But what many of us miss in our obsession with sharks, is some of their truly extraordinary abilities. Unlike humans, they breathe through gills, so their nostrils are purely dedicated to smelling. Their sense is so refined, they can detect one drop of blood in 100 litres of water. Even more astounding is they can identify which of their two nostrils picked up the scent to determine the direction to swim to track their prey.

But it’s not just smell they’re tuned into – their ability to pick up on electrical impulse and vibrations is so acute, they can sense a Double A battery from 3 kilometres away. And while these skills are designed to help them locate food, some species can survive for up to 3 months between meals – the ultimate fasting regime!

Apart from their unparalleled skill in sensing their next feast, sharks are also well equipped to chow down their catch. They are known for their multiple rows of razor sharp teeth – and it appears they have an endless supply. While humans have one set of large teeth to last a lifetime, many species of sharks can grow tens of thousands, quickly replacing any that have gone blunt and fallen out.

And while this may seem terrifying to us, the reality is we are not on their menu. Attacks on humans are generally a case of mistaken identity – surfers are the most common target, mimicking the shape of a seal on the surface. While it may be of little comfort, statistically, you are more likely to be killed by a falling coconut or a flying champagne cork than to be taken by a shark.

Ocean Life Education runs a Shark Discovery program that helps to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the most feared fish in the sea. It is one of our most popular presentations as we explore all the fascinating features that make these apex predators such effective hunters yet strangely vulnerable at the same time.

When all the hype and hysteria is removed, it is easy to see how sharks play a vital role in maintaining balance in the marine eco-system. Deep down, (and also on the surface of their snout!), they really are quite sensitive.

Marine Biologist for a Day – 10 April

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Become a Marine Biologist for a Day and be immersed in a full day of marine science!

Our new full day program for school aged kids is perfect for those passionate about marine animals and ocean conservation.

In Marine Biologist for a Day, our aim is to educate kids with the right information based on science to create informed, future custodians of the ocean and all its wonderful creatures within it.

What you can expect:

  • Get up close and touch live marine creatures
  • Find out why animals look and feel the way they do, how they function and what their role is in the marine environment
  • Learn what problems humans create for them and why we need to look after them.
  • Learn about Sharks and the important role they play in the marine ecosystem
  • Understand why sharks sometimes attack humans
  • Touch real shark jaws

Marine Biologist for a Day will be an experience they will never forget!

Who this program is for

Marine Biologist for a Day is suitable for students in Grades 2-5. The program is limited to 25 students so they can get the best learning experience.

Parents are invited to arrive half an hour before the conclusion so they may be educated by their children, giving the kids a chance to show off the wealth of new information they have acquired. Parents will be amazed just how much their kids remember.

BOOKINGS OPEN

Monday 10th April, school holidays – 9am – 2.30pm

BOOK YOUR SPACE NOW

Join the Event on our Facebook page or contact us by email or phone 07 5443 8545

Location: Alexandra Headlands, Sunshine Coast Cost: $85 per child

Spaces are limited, bookings essential!

Weird & Wonderful vacation care program

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We’re introducing a new school holiday program for the upcoming September school holidays.

The Weird & Wonderful Creatures of the Sea program is an opportunity for students to discover amazing facts about extraordinary sea creatures.

This interactive program will intrigue students while teaching the important message of caring for our environment. Get up close and touch live marine creatures and explore artefacts and games.

In this program, students will discover:weird and wonderful puffer fish

  • Crocodile fish, Zebra fish, Lion fish & Elephant fish
  • Nudibranchs aren’t Rude!
  • Stargazers don’t just look at stars
  • Why Razor fish don’t cut they hide
  • Puffers & Poisons
  • Miraculous Mudskippers & Anglerfish Antics

Students will be surprised at the diversity of bizarre looking creatures in the ocean!

Contact us to book a Weird & Wonderful Creatures of the Sea program for your September school holiday calendar.