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Contact: Gary Bremen, 305.230.1144 x007
The 15th season of Biscayne National Park's multi-award winning Family Fun Fest kicks off on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center. The events are free and take place from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month from December through April. Family Fun Fest Junior includes specially-designed activities for toddlers to ensure that the entire family gets to participate, and free transportation from downtown Homestead (and by extension, anywhere served by public transportation) is available aboard the Homestead National Parks Trolley, courtesy of the City of Homestead!
This year's overarching theme is "REAL Science," and organizers have partnered with National Park Service researchers, local universities, and even international research organizations to help make families aware of some of the many projects happening in the park every day. "By exposing kids to real science and real researchers, we hope to plant the seed that any kid can aspire to be a scientist, too," said Gary Bremen, the event's coordinator.
Each Family Fun Fest event focuses on a particular theme highlighting some aspect of the park's diverse resources. Every month, participants receive a passport which they get punched as they complete each of five activities. Activities include games, science experiments, presentations and craft projects. After collecting all five punches, kids earn a specially designed button to remember the lessons learned.
The 2014-2015 schedule is:
- Shark in the Park –December 14, 2014 –1 - 4 p.m. Discover the ocean's greatest predators! Inspired by last summer's visit of Katharine, the first documented great white shark in the park's history, our season kickoff will feature a hands-on encounter with shark fossils, a chance to experience sharks' more sensual sides, and an opportunity to talk to REAL great white shark scientists from OCEARCH!
- Biscayne Bowl –January 11, 2015 –1 - 4 p.m. Are you ready for some football? How do you keep track of dolphins on (and in) the field? What plant has the greatest defense? What can you learn from a "quarter back?" Come get the answers to these questions and more when Family Fun Fest gets down on the gridiron!
- Oodles of Ologies! –February 8, 2015 –1 - 4 p.m. Paleontology, geology, climatology, hydrology…scientists study all kinds of cool stuff!Get the dirt on what Biscayne's wildlife was like 10,000 years ago, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the park's water lab, and learn how anglers can help preserve marlins, swordfish and other amazing fish.
- Inside Edition: SpongeBob –March 8, 2015 –1 - 4 p.m. Biscayne National Park is home to lots of sponges, but most of them don't wear pants, sing or dance! We salute another kids TV and movie classic while designing plankton, attending the Bikini Bottom Job Fair, and getting the inside scoop on Bob and all his buddies.
- Quinceañera: Fifteen Years of FFF –April 12, 2015 –1 - 4 p.m. It's a fact of life. Everybody grows up…even Family Fun Fest. Match park animals with their baby pictures, discover some of the park's most coordinated dancers, check out some FAB-ulous outfits, and witness the most spectacular finale ever as we wrap up FFF Season 15!
Participants who earn all five buttons in a season are declared "Family Fun Fest Fanatics" and earn a special award in April.
In addition to 5 activity stations at each event, there will also be one activity station focusing on theme-related creative play for parents with toddlers. "The little guys will earn a button just like their older brothers and sisters, but with activities geared to their skill level," said the program's creator Yelitza Sepulveda. "After a very successful first season last year, we know that Family Fun Fest Junior fills an important niche for parents looking for innovative educational opportunities for their children."
Family Fun Fest is made possible through visitor donations and the Bobby Duryea Fund at the South Florida National Parks Trust, with additional support from the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves, a variety of other local agencies and businesses, and a host of dedicated volunteers.
The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, nine miles east of Homestead, Florida. Call 305-230-7275, extension 0, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc or follow the park on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biscaynenps or Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.