Field trips from schools across South Georgia are accounting for much of the success which they hope will carry over into the summer months. It's a welcome sight at the Flint RiverQuarium - dozens of people - mostly school kids are filing in the doors.
"Field trips have always been our bread and butter," said the RiverQuarium's Marketing Mgr. Wendy Bellacomo. "The last two weeks alone, we've had 2,000 kids come through on field trips. So the month of April has been fabulous."
Field trips like the one taken by these Dougherty County Head Start kids getting them up close and personal with nature. And these school groups are coming from near and far. Students from Valdosta and Tift County schools visited the downtown attraction Friday.
While this is good, it would be easy for optimism to remain low here. This year the RiverQuarium let go of its CEO amid a budget shortfall that led to a staff reduction. But the tanks here are more than half full and there is hope for a successful summer.
"We've got summer camps coming up. We've got canoe trips coming up. We have a lot of activities planned for the next few months. We've got new interactive touch screen technology that kids love. They can go and find out all the information about the animals here at the RiverQuarium by touching a screen and reading about it on the computer screen."
And fundraising efforts are also big. This weekend The RiverQuarium will get half the earnings from the Color the Grove 5k at Darton College. "We're doing everything we can do and right now we're on the upswing and we're really glad of that."
Staying afloat is the goal while keeping people of all ages educated about the wonders of South Georgia waters. The Flint RiverQuarium drastically cut its staff to save money.
And in December the city gave the attraction $150,000 to help keep it open.