Three engaging ways of learning about … Whales!

Jumping Whale

Whales – the wonderful mysterious creatures of the oceans! Whales are immense mammals populating the oceans, fully adapted to life in the water. They have been living in the deep waters since times immemorial – let’s say around 50 million years ago.

Whales are very special creatures belonging to the Cetacea order and they come in various kinds and sizes, according to the sub-order they are part of. Therefore, we have the Mysticeti (or baleen whales), part of which are the blue whale, the minke whale, the bowhead whale and the humpback whale; and then we have the Odontoceti sub-order – meaning toothed whales – and these are the pilot whale, the beluga whale, the killer whale and the sperm whale or cachalot, which is actually from 16 to 20.5 meters long and the mammal with the largest brain living on Planet Earth.

There are various ways of learning about whales. One could easily do some research about these creatures and expand on the amount of information about whales. But one could also choose more entertaining and engaging ways of learning about these amazing mammals – some of the oldest on our planet – that could not only enlarge the amount of information, but could also increase the level of understanding of the information receives and also of awareness concerning this species.

Let me give you just a few examples:

Natural Science Museum or, why not, The Whale Museum

You can go and visit a natural science museum in your area. Natural science museums usually display information in a visitor-friendly manner, so that you can easily learn about our planet. Also, children love these types of museums, as they can sometimes see displayed skeletons of the creatures that they learn about. Paying a visit to a natural sciences museum is a great experience for children and parents alike to expand their knowledge and vision about Planet Earth. Or, why not, if you are indeed keen on learning all that can be learned about whales in a museum, then you can simply visit The Whale Museum located in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

Why not have dinner with a whale?

SeaWorld Florida, Whale Show

However, if you are not quite the museum type and you have never had the geek’s attitude, but rather that of a more active person, set on fun and adventure, there is another thrilling way to learn about whales along with all of your family. For sure the children will be exhilarated if you surprise them with some SeaWorld tickets from FloridaTix. There is that they could watch not only whales, but also penguins and dolphins. Plus, what you could so is dine with Shamu – the VIP killer whale of the SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Don’t worry – there will be a thick glass between you, not for you to somehow accidentally turn into Shamu’s dinner, after all. It would surely be a most amazing and unforgettable experience and maybe the closest you could have to a whale, given that special safety measures are taken by the park’s administration for you to enjoy what could be the most entertaining way of learning about whales without risking to become the bate.

Back to school!

Read Moby Dick and live a great adventure along with Captain Ahab and his crew!

If you have always been the introspective type then there would be a most enjoyable way for you to get a thorough understanding of what a whale is all about. There is a book that has become a classic and is one of the most appreciated treasures of literature that the American culture has ever given to humanity: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Ever since it has been first published in 1851 the book made an impact on the audience, especially because back in those days of the 19th century whalers were astutely hunting these wonderful creatures of the seas and waters for their oil and meat. You will get caught in the adventures of Captain Ahab and his obsession with Moby Dick and his revenge upon the whale that had left him crippled, but in many other aspects that accurately reflect both the spirit of an era and matters that lie deeply in the human nature. The whole book follows a hunt of a creature that seems bigger than life itself – a whale, the whale, The Moby Dick, which captain Ahab sees as a foe, attributing to it some rather human features that actually reflect his own human self, sometimes in the darkest corners of it.

One must understand, though, the perspective of the writer and the time when the novel has been written, as back then, in the 19th century, there were many incidents concerning whales; many have died trying, but some have also succeeded in killing whales – unfortunately! Because nowadays whales are considered to be vulnerable species (with some kinds of whales even being considered extinct species, such as the sperm whale or cachalot, Moby Dick being one of these also) and maybe you should always have this in mind throughout your educational quests, no matter which one you will go for.

Enjoy!

Explore the Marvel Universe: Movies, Theme Parks and More

Marvel Comics, Wolverine

As I was growing up, Marvel Comics was just a company publishing comic books for the fans of the “Ninth Art”, as comics came to be recognized today. In other words, it had a specific target group: the readers of graphic novels, which were quite often considered to be a bit geekish and into their own world. These days are long gone. The Marvel of today is a giant of entertainment and its fictional characters dominate the wildest dreams and imagination of kids and teenagers from all around the world. The movies played a huge role, no need to explain this. Ever since Marvel found its way to the big screen, it rapidly transformed, as much as it changed the way we want our super heroes to look like on screen. Ever since Iron-Man, it is true that super heroes look much more humane to our eyes, given the fact that Tony Stark is a guy just like one of us; he is a guy with many flaws that quite often doesn’t really want to learn from his… mistakes!

The Iron Man Giant

The days when Captain America (one of Marvel’s most classic characters) made its debut directly on video tapes back in 1990, missing the opportunity to hit the big screen, are long gone. Today, every single release of a movie based on Marvel characters is a world event for the entertainment industry.  Just take a look at the numbers, if you want further proof: $1,511,757,910 at the box office for last year’s The Avengers!

Iron Man Landing

What is more, Iron Man 3, which was released only last month, has already reached $1.08 billion worldwide, while its cost of production made for only one fifth of this amount; now, this is what I call a goldmine! Fortunately for us, there is more to come. In 2013 we expect the brand new The Wolverine and the return of both Thor and Captain America with the Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Additionally, Spiderman, X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers are expected to return on screen in the following two years. At the same time, we will also welcome the arrival of some new characters. I am personally looking forward to meet the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Ant-Man in 2015!

Captain America, Marvel Comics

If your love for Marvel characters is unlimited and the movies picturing them are simply not enough to satisfy your hunger, then you shouldn’t really worry about anything, because you can have more of them. Just pack your things and fly away to Florida! The Universal Orlando Resort awaits for you with its spectacular Universal Islands of Adventure.  Marvel’s super heroes have strong competition, as they have to compete with guys like Indiana Jones, boys like Harry Potter and his friends, or even prehistoric monsters such as the tyrannosaurus from Jurassic Park. All of the aforementioned have their place in Universal’s park.

Universal Islands of Adventure in Florida, Marvel Theme Park
Wolverine

Iceman

Fantastic Four

There are plenty of things to do in Orlando, I know! But for all of you Marvel enthusiasts things are quite simple: you only have to make sure that you will book early at the Florida Attractions available at Florida Tix and the rest will come smoothly.

I don’t know if you remember a hilarious scene in a Jim Jarmusch movie titled Down by Law, where Roberto Benigni along with his prison mates John Lurie and Tom Waits started shouting, strangely enough with absolutely no reason, in the middle of the night… “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream”…

Well, at the Marvel Super Hero Island you will be definitely screaming for more – at least for more of  the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man,which is actually a 3-D simulator ride around New York; I guess you will find it hard to forget!

There is also the Incredible Hulk Coaster, a tribute to Hel Storm from the X-Men, with the Storm Force Accelatron and, finally, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall inspired by The Fantastic Four.

While in the U.S. Universal holds all exclusive rights on Marvel characters (and this is the reason you can’t find your favorite super heroes in the Walt Disney World Resort), in the rest of the world things are different. Only a few months ago, it was revealed that Marvel characters will feature the Hong Kong Disneyland sometime in the near future. What is more, in the United Arab Emirates the Marvel Adventure mini theme park (part of the City of Arabia entertainment) is expected to open its gates in late 2013. Finally, the executives of Disneyland Paris have announced that a Marvel theme park is part of their long term future plans.

Apart from all these, one thing is for sure: goodbye, and thanks for the memories, Superman! Long live Iron-Man from now on!