Heather Murray and her son Bryce are huge animal lovers. They use every chance they get to interact with the South Carolina Aquarium outreach table at all the different events we attend. A few weeks ago, at the Lowcountry Kids Expo, they were the lucky winners of our drawing for two free tickets to the Aquarium. Their visit had such an impact on Bryce that Heather wrote us to express her gratitude and tell us about Bryce’s total transformation during his visit.
When Bryce arrived at the Aquarium, he was thrilled! His mother Heather wrote, “Bryce really let go and came out of his comfort zone. He touched animals, talked to the fish, high-fived the diver during a show – it was just amazing!” At first he was afraid of darker areas of the aquarium, but he directed all of his focus and attention to the animals and was able to push aside his fears. “Being able to enjoy the animals makes him more confident. He loves to ‘teach’ people around him what he’s learned about the animals which gives him the courage to talk to people when normally he’d be overwhelmed by strangers.” Interacting with the animals gave Bryce the confidence to stand out and teach others about the interesting facts he learned while visiting.
Here at the South Carolina Aquarium, our goal is to connect people with water, wildlife and wild places. Bryce’s experience at the aquarium represents the empowering affect this connection can have. During further conversation, Heather expressed how amazing it was to witness him being bold and interactive during his visit. She said at first he was hesitant to approach the great ocean tank, but after the dive show, he ran up and gave the diver a huge high five! He conquered his fear and stepped up to the glass. Bryce also experienced our touch tanks, including sea stars, whelks and even the sting rays! He interacted with a bunch of different educators on the floor who provided new interactions, from animal encounters to informational shows about Alabaster our albino alligator.
Heather wrote in her email to us: “I just wanted to share with you the impact you, the aquarium and your fellow staff have had on me and my son.” So we wanted to write back to Heather and say thank you for sharing this story about the positive affect our aquarium has on Bryce. Everyone at the aquarium works together in hopes to create stories like these. Heather Murray closed her email with: “You’ve made a very special little boy very happy, and filled his mom’s heart!”
Thank you Heather and Bryce for letting us hear your story and allowing us to share it with our aquarium family!