THIS time of year is not ideal for getting down to Warrnambool’s rockpools, so Fun4Kids has come up with a neat alternative.
Organisers have engaged locally based artists and marine biologists to create the Oceanarium – a zone dedicated to “recreating four marine biomes inspired by Warrnambool’s marine environment”, Fun4Kids marketing manager Ashlee Scott said.
“There are four different interactive, hands-on experiences for children and families can explore,” Ms Scott said.
“The original inspiration was that it’s so cold (visitors) don’t get a chance to get out and put a foot in the rock pools and the experience the marine life, so our aim is to replicate in this space (at Fun4Kids) and then they can come back in summer for the real thing.”
Deakin University marine biologist Julie Mondon was among the scientific team working with the local artists and said it had been an inspiring experience.
“The artists approached us and asked if it would be feasible to set up a series of marine environments (and) I said yes, your imagination will lead you where you need to go,” Dr Mondon said.
Five artists have created four zones – Becky Nevin Berger’s Rocky Shore Wonder Place, Karen Richards and Sue Ferrari’s Deep Ocean Other World, Deb Saunders’ Woven Forest Whale Sanctuary, and Colleen Hughson’s Open Ocean Video Sphere.
“We looked at examples of different environments and provided video footage to give some guidance,” Dr Mondon said.
“We gave advice on what you might find in the rocky shore, what conditions are like, what animals and plants are living there, how prolific the kelp forests are, and what exciting creatures you might find in the deep sea environment. The artists have been really creative. It’s been fun for us to work with artists with such enthusiasm and to pass on that wonder the drew me to work in the field.”
The Oceanarium can be enjoyed every day during the Fun4Kids Festival from June 26 until July 2.