High Energy Fun: Birthday Parties at Our Aquarium

Today’s blogger is Wyatt Miller, public educator at Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

People often ask me how I get the energy to run kids’ birthday parties every weekend. I usually answer, “With three cups of coffee.” But in all honesty, it’s because kids are hilarious!

I get a front row seat to the best comedy club in town. Their reactions and comments just crack me up. I’ve had a two-year-old do the robot, a little boy tell me his dad breathes through his butt and it stinks, and a little girl tell me she was going to put her Aquarium sea star crown in her toy box because that is where she stores all her treasured memories. You just can’t write better material than that.  Of course I do get the occasional temper tantrum, but at the end of the day, I am very lucky to get to work in what I love. 

In addition to the kids, I also get a lot of my energy from the crowd, as these festive occasions are great gatherings for friends and family. I recently led a party for a family who hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that reunion? The genuine joy and happiness that filled the room was infectious, and I’m not just saying that because I was on my second slice of cake. Frankly, I really wish I didn’t like birthday cake so much. Being in a self-induced cake coma twice a week isn’t exactly good for one’s health, and just in case my doctor is reading this, I counter the adverse affects of sugary goodness with two hours of cardio. Believe me wrangling 25 six-year-olds full of whipped vanilla sugar on top of a sponge infused with chocolate and more sugar is a complete workout.

Every party at the Aquarium is different and full of surprises. And at each one, I satisfy my insatiable urge to be the center of attention. Week after week I belt out my favorite ocean creature tunes, maybe you have heard some of them, like “Sea Cucumbers Breathe Through Their Butts” or “Kissing a Sea Cucumber Earns Seven Years of Good Luck?” Believe me they are a hit with the three to seven-year-old crowd. The best part is while I’m acting goofy and hamming it up, I’m teaching our party guests about some of the fun marine creatures that live off our coast.  Unbeknownst to the kids, they are actually in a class learning about ecosystems, adaptations, and becoming better marine stewards, all under the guise of gifts, food and merriment. 

As I wave goodbye to the final birthday partygoer a warm feeling comes over me, I know it will be at least two more hours before the kids crash from their Aquarium birthday high, and all the while I’ll be taking a much-needed power nap.

To learn more about our birthday programs or to book an event, click here.