I have done a post about the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) as well as one of their penguin releases before, but after visiting the centre with the Kidz recently I decided to show how an awesome family friendly attraction we have right here in Port Elizabeth. The first interesting feature you encounter is right by the entrance. A mouse hole in the wall with a pillow in front of it to kneel down on.
The inside of the hole comes as a surprised. A mouse house right from the pages of a children's book. The thought behind the mouse house is for it to act as a memorial to all mice that gave up their homes for the centre to be constructed in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. The fun part about the mouse house is that everybody wants to look, so you can quite easily come in the door and find a middle aged lady on her knees with her cheek to the ground peeking inside.
The next room is an interactive room or as they refer to it, the "Please Touch" room. Here kids have the opportunity to touch various bird, marine, mammal and even snake specimens to feel what they feel like. I think Drama Princess enjoyed this part the most, but she still had to ask what something was and if it was alive before touching it.
There were also various bottled specimens that tickled their attention. The room was so interesting that Chaos Boy actually asked if he could just stay there while we continued and although I dragged him on, he did return there afterwards.
In the treatment room a SAMREC staff member explained how they treat injured and oiled penguins and gannets after they have been brought to the centre. The kids on the tour was even showed the penguin ICU, although you aren't allowed in there when there are penguin patients being cared for. In the next room they also demonstrate how the birds are tube fed during treatment.
Once outside the Kidz got to see the penguins that are going through rehabilitation and treatment or that are awaiting release. A rock pool, which was being cleaned on our visit, makes it possible for visitors to see how penguins swim and interact in water.
SAMREC does an awesome job both on the rehabilitation side, but also educating kids as well as as adults about penguins and other marine life. The centre also has a coffee shop for adults to sit and have a refreshment after the tour while the Kidz head back to the "please touch" room to explore some more.