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updated: 12/4/2010 9:07 AM

Waukegan Library opens nautical-themed children's exhibit

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  • Francisco Martinez, left, and Chuck Rizzio work closely on a coral reef display that is part of the "Under the Sea" exhibit at the Waukegan Public Library.

      Francisco Martinez, left, and Chuck Rizzio work closely on a coral reef display that is part of the "Under the Sea" exhibit at the Waukegan Public Library.
    Waukegan Public Library

  • Children's librarian Sandy Sherwood arranges sea-related books as part of the new interactive "Under the Sea" exhibit at the Waukegan Public Library, which is holding a grand-opening celebration on Sunday.

      Children's librarian Sandy Sherwood arranges sea-related books as part of the new interactive "Under the Sea" exhibit at the Waukegan Public Library, which is holding a grand-opening celebration on Sunday.
    Waukegan Public Library

  • Jessica Mitchell, left, and Emma Mitchiner from Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake rinse bottles for an oil-and-water demonstration, which is part of their eighth-grade class project on water pollution that they designed for the new exhibit.

      Jessica Mitchell, left, and Emma Mitchiner from Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake rinse bottles for an oil-and-water demonstration, which is part of their eighth-grade class project on water pollution that they designed for the new exhibit.
    Waukegan Public Library

  • Linda Gfesser hangs a hammerhead shark in Waukegan Public Library's new "Under the Sea" exhibit in the children's area.

      Linda Gfesser hangs a hammerhead shark in Waukegan Public Library's new "Under the Sea" exhibit in the children's area.
    Waukegan Public Library

 
Daily Herald report

"Rainbow Fish" and "The Little Mermaid" will soon enjoy a more natural habitat. These storybooks are getting a nautical new home as the Waukegan Public Library launches "Under the Sea," an expansive interactive exhibit in its children's department.

Replacing "Dig the Dinosaurs," the exhibit will feature life-size models of ships and sea creatures, maritime crafts and hands-on, bilingual displays about life undersea. The library will host an "Under the Sea" grand opening from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, with live performances and free refreshments.

"Under the Sea" murals and displays will teach visitors about the marine food chain, from plankton to mammals, and how to identify whales by their songs. In the Early Learning Center, children can try on pirate costumes, board a pirate ship and even learn how to talk like a pirate. For the preteen crowd, workers are building a replica of a Lake Michigan shipwreck with a built-in video documentary about other wrecks in the Great Lakes.

Two students from Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, Emma Mitchiner and Jessica Mitchell, also designed a display on water pollution for their eighth-grade class project.

"It all started when we heard about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," Emma said. "We were concerned about the effect of water pollution on our earth, and we wanted to raise awareness about the issue."

During the exhibit grand opening, Kidworks Touring Theatre Company will conduct two live performances of "Sea Creature and Me" at 2 and 3 p.m. These interactive workshops feature audience volunteers as actors, allowing children to practice their improv skills while learning about sea life.

The library is inviting kids to dress up as their favorite sea character and compete for best-costume prizes at the opening. Families can also take part in free crafts and face painting, enjoy complimentary refreshments, and get their pictures taken with SpongeBob and other sea creatures. As an incentive to come early, the first 100 visitors to the exhibit will take home a free water bottle.

For details, call (847) 623-2041 or see waukeganpl.org/.

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