The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is still holding its summer camp amidst the coronavirus pandemic, giving kids a chance to do some in-person learning once again.
The annual summer camp is for all kids ages six all the way to 14. Campers get to experience a week in the life of a marine scientist while learning about real live reptiles, cooling off with water activities, and playing with the IMMS resident dolphins.
However, the camp looks a little different this year. All campers are required to wear masks while inside and they’re encouraged to socially distance whenever possible.
The changes have not hindered some campers’ experiences though. Camper Drew Derham said, “Me and my dad were on a trip here, we were on a trip in Gulfport and we saw this and my dad said we should go and then I liked it so we went again. And then last year I actually went to camp and then, well, I just got here and I’ve been having a great time ever since.”
Camper Mallory Bolian said, “They took us over to animal care to show us how they check the PH level for the animal tanks and they showed us how they prepped the meals for the sea lions and the dolphins. We got to dissect a shark, which is really interesting and we got to swim with stingrays and we had a sea lion and dolphin interaction, which is really fun.”
Senior educator and reptile keeper Jenna Bordages said, “There’s a lot of stress right now with everything going on and this is somewhere where they can come and still be with people their age, obviously getting out from their house, being around fellow students and getting to learn and still have fun in a safe environment.”
IMMS is open to everyone seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.