“What we’re doing is trying to educate people into being more aware of what’s going on and to teach them how to save and protect the ocean and their environment,” she said.
Some visitors, including Oakland Park residents Sandra Gonzalez, 48, specifically attended the museum to partake in World Ocean's Day with her son Marcus, 7, who said his favorite activity was creating shark tooth necklaces.
“We live here in South Florida and we’re surrounded by ocean so we have to learn how to take care of it so we can enjoy it for many years to come," Gonzalez said.
The South Florida Pirates – a performing troupe in pirate garb - manned the scavenger hunt booth.
Marie Di Vincenzo, who portrayed the seafaring nun “Sister Sledge,” said World Oceans Day specifically catered to young audiences.
“You always have to be ready to interact with everybody,” she said. “We get into this mostly because we enjoy it, and we enjoy interacting with children. This is a great venue for kids.”
Tristan Hart, 14, came to the event from Douglasville, Ga.“I learned a lot,” he said. “Looking through this exhibits I noticed that there is a lot of pollution in the ocean and that we’re terrible people. We’re really messing up the world and we better fix it up. The exhibits were all pretty interesting.”
Ibanez said the inspiration for the event stemmed from the museum's excursions to sea turtle nests and the required research and collaboration.
“Some of the educators did research about how long it takes trash to disintegrate in the ocean, and we put it all together,” she said. “Especially after seeing these sea turtles and watching them hatch, we want to educate others about it. It mean a lot to us.”