By: Tim Studebaker

MYSTIC, CONN. (WLNE) – Just over the state line, a few minutes into Connecticut, the Mystic Aquarium is ready to welcome in all those Rhode Island students about to head out on April vacation.  They're especially excited to share three particular educational experiences with you.

First, get up close and personal with a beluga whale.

Mystic Aquarium Director of Education and Conservation MaryEllen Mateleska says, "Juno, one of our beluga whales, loves to interact with people at the front window."

If that's not close enough for you, they do offer programs to bring you face to face.

Mateleska says, "We can interact with that whale, learn a little bit more about our mission and how it's integrated into everything we do including our animal care."

Next, head up north in their new augmented reality exhibit, Wild Arctic.

Mateleska says, "You have ice caps and snow on one side, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, you start to hear a polar bear.  And this polar bear comes right in front of you and is interacting with you."

Finally, you'll have the chance to discover the detrimental impacts of plastic in the world's oceans and what you can do to help.

Mateleska says, "They can understand the difference between macro– and micro–plastics, and then some of the things we have industry doing to try to understand more about the problem and then finally what we all can do.  You'll notice a lot of it is single–use plastics.  So the single–use plastics we use every day, we can stop them from entering into our water system just by stopping to use them."

To learn more about the Mystic Aquarium visit http://www.mysticaquarium.org/

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