Thronateeska, RiverQuarium weather field trip ban -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thronateeska, RiverQuarium weather field trip ban

March 10, 2006

Albany -- Last October, many schools stopped field trips to educational exhibits like the Flint RiverQuarium or Thronateeska Heritage Museum, because of high gas prices and a feared shortage.

Those exhibits worried their budgets would suffer because of the lack of students. But now the field trip moratorium is over, and students are again filling Albany's attractions.

The Flint Riverquarium is filled with excited children. Dozens of first graders, teachers, and parents from Len Lastinger Elementary in Tifton are touring. Last October this happened very rarely, as schools stopped field trips.

Flint Riverquarium C.E.O. Doug Nobles said, "The good news are the schools groups are booking and starting to come back."

The Riverquarium feared their budget would suffer, because students are one of their main stays for business. Nobles said, "During the school year, on the week days, school children are our bread and butter. So we're very excited."

At Thronateeska's Wetherbee Planetarium, Deerfield Windsor's second graders check out the science discovery center. Thronateeska also saw a big reduction in visiting school groups last fall, but now students are pouring in. Thronateeska Curator Christopher Pike said, "If things keep on the same track, we should be right where we need to be by the end of the year."

The Parks at Chehaw Education Center also saw a decrease in school groups last fall, but now their numbers are back to projections.

All three Albany attractions say their end of the year budgets should balance out, despite the fall shortages, because of a strong spring rebound of school field trips.

Thronateeska and the Riverquarium get no money from the city or county for operations. The museum says that three-fourths of admissions revenues comes from school attendance.