We Came, We Saw, We Dived!!!
I ventured to the Atlantic City International Boat Show Saturday with a large group of 13 people, 7 of which were kids ranging from 7-16. I was afraid that with the age gaps someone might get bored or not be interested but boy was I wrong. We had a great time. With our list in hand of Where to Find the Kids’ Activities, we were off and running.
From the time we entered, the kids were just as welcomed as the adults. Our friends at Progressive made sure they each were given a tote bag to put all their goodies in. Vendors smiled at them, showed them different things on the boats, and got their gears turning and really getting interested in water activities.
Our first stop of the day was at the Progressive area.
- We were all able to scan a card and get a gift.
- We won sunscreen, water bottles, and straps to attach to our sunglasses.
- We saw the great Photo-Op with Flo on the Dock, not only was I able to take a picture but the staff also took a picture, which they then emailed to me.
- The kids had a great time checking out the Mariner’s lounge. The chairs were quite comfy and they loved looking through the port-holes.
Next, we wandered around a bit and checked out all the boats.
We were prepared and wore slip on shoes because many of the boats required you to take off your shoes. I was afraid that the sales people would not want the kids on their boats, however it was just the opposite. The kids were welcomed onto many of the boats and learned about what different boat terms meant, how a boat functions, and what the different types of boats were. Our favorites were the speed boats, followed closely by the pontoon boats. There was even one that was two stories tall and had a water slide!!
Moving down our list we came across PaddlePalooza.
Down Under Kayak’s taught us about the fine art of Paddle Sports. Paddle Sports are popping up in more and more areas and we were curious. This may look easy but it was quite challenging and a lot of fun. The friendly staff taught us about a few different paddle sports. We actually went back and did this a second time before leaving.
- Land Paddling – While like skateboarding, it is more challenging, uses different muscles, and is a ton of fun. You stand on a long board and take a large stick and paddle yourself down the street or in our case the carpet. This took some skill and patience but once the kids figured it out the kids zoomed up and down the carpet alley.
- Paddle Board Training – We used the SUP Fitness boards and balls. We were challenged to stand on the boards and move back and forth and try different moves. The boards are placed on top of a yoga ball and were also quite fun. Once we were well-balanced the challenge of using the paddle was added in. It was great fun and produced lots of smiles and laughs from the kids.
Continuing on our adventure we set out to find the Geico Powerboat and meet Miss Geico Racing Reese Lewis.
- We also were able to meet the throttleman of the racing boat, Scotty Begovich. Scotty explained there are two people who operate the boat and what their jobs were.
- We learned the boat has gone as high as 194 miles per hour during a race.
- Miss Geico Racing and Scotty Begovich posed for pictures and signed autographs.
- Kids also got yellow backpacks, posters, and temporary tattoos from Geico.
The highlight of the day was having the opportunity to get in the water.
- My younger kids had a great time navigating the lake in the paddle boats. They spent a good 20 minutes doing this. The staff was very helpful with putting the life vests on the kids and helping out if they got stuck. The water was about 2 feet deep and the boats can hold children up to 120 pound. Unlike powered paddle boats, these were powered with their arms. Their little arms got a workout paddling but it didn’t seem to bother them as they peddled and peddled some more.
- While the younger kids paddled away, I separated from our group and took the older kids over to the diving tank exhibit hosted by beAdiver.com.
- The Be A Diver pool is a DEMA heated, measuring 20 foot by 30 foot and filled with 15,000 gallons of water.
- You have to be 10 yrs or older to scuba dive and must have a parent or another Adult family member who is also going in the dive pool with you if you are under 18.
- A bathing suit is recommended, but not required.
- They offer a small changing area and provided the scuba gear and the wet suits.
- We had a group of 6 going in and the staff was very courteous in making sure they were are able to get into the pool together.
- We did have to sign a release form and I immediately was a little shaken to allow my 10 yr old to go in but after the dive team explained everything to me and showed me the equipment i was happy to let him go.
- In the pool each instructor took time to familiarize my kids with the equipment and make them feel safe. Kudos to our new diver friend, Stew, who made sure each of the kids felt completely comfortable, he answered any questions, and walked with them until they felt safe enough to swim away on their own. I thought for sure my youngest was going to bow out of this activity once he hit the water, but he jumped right in and had a great time. He was still talking about it before bedtime, asking if we would get him scuba diving lessons for his birthday. You can take as many pictures as you want of the family diving, be sure to check out the computer monitor on their table as there is an underwater camera set up in the pool. Families are invited to dive down to the camera and smile and wave at the camera, where you will then be able to take a picture of the screen.
We concluded our day by going to meet Abby Sunderland.
This was very exciting for us. Our family had followed Abby’s sailing excursion daily on her blog while she was making her attempt to sail around the world. We followed her victories, her triumphs, her fears, and the day the wave rolled over tearing apart her sailboat. I still remember the pit I had in my stomach reading that blog post. Abby is an inspiration to many and her faith and family is what got her through the ordeal. She was a pleasure to talk to and we thank her for taking the time to sign autographs and pose for photos with us. My 12-year-old wanted to know what it was like to try to sail around the world. Abby smiled at her and answered “that it was fun and challenging”. My 10-year-old following his pattern of the day wanted to know if it was scary, and with a nod of her head Abby replied “Yes, very!” She spoke to us about how cool she thought it was that we were such a large family, as she too came from a large family. Abby really ended the day on a great note for us. We look forward to going to back to the boat show year after year.
To view more of our pictures from the Atlantic City International Boat Show click over to our Facebook Gallery.
In full disclosure, children were admitted free to the Atlantic City International Boat Show. Jersey Family Fun writers received media passes to report on the show. We were also provided with tickets to giveaway as prizes. However, our opinions, as always, are honest and based on our own experiences with the show.