The Florida Aquarium in Tampa celebrated it’s first annual Carnaval del Mar this past weekend and I received complimentary tickets to attend the festivities as part of a press trip.This is part of of my series of articles: Tampa With Kids.
We had visited the Florida Aquarium a couple of times in the past and love the exhibits and the awesome outdoor water park but this time our visit was special because we had the opportunity to be part of the Carnaval del Mar, a celebration that brought together our love for nature, the ocean and aquatic creatures and our Latino heritage.
We got there early in the morning and where handed the clues to embark on an exciting scavenger hunt. Each clue contained descriptions related to different aquatic animals in English and all of the answers where words in Spanish. My little guy was eager to explore every corner of the aquarium in search for the Spanish words and phrases and was so excited every time he spotted one. I thought this activity was wonderful because not only did the kids learn fun facts about the ocean and it’s inhabitants but they also practiced their Spanish.
After completing the bilingual scavenger hunt we headed outside were a DJ was spinning Latino music. Kids and adults, at least some of the adults including me, where getting free face painting with carnaval and sea creature themes. Stilt walkers and hula hoop performers gave this Latino infused ocean celebration a real festive and fun vibe.
As part of the Festival Del Mar the restaurant served some Latino inspired dishes including Cuban Sandwich, Mofongo and Mojo Pulled pork and the Verizon Fios, the sponsor, was giving away free tropical flavored ice including my favorite: tamarind ice!
The highlight of this undersea extravaganza included a group of samba and capoeira dancers who’s bright colored costumes and dance moves had everyone moving their tail feathers to the rhythm of the drums. Young and old joined the dancers for a Carnaval parade.
The Carnaval del Mar combined elements of Latin American and Brazilian culture, from the music and dances to the the language and the food and brought them all together for a common purpose: to celebrate the ocean and aquatic life and it’s natural beauty.
The Carnaval del Mar was sponsored by Verizon Fios and participation was included in the price of admission. This was a fun event and we are looking forward to attending next year.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend the Carnaval del Mar at the Florida Aquarium on May 19th.
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