Polar expedition line Hurtigruten is taking extra steps to welcome families with young children onboard its ships travelling in Antarctica, introducing a new educational program to help kids learn about the destination in a fun and hands-on way.
The ‘Young Explorers Program’ will be available on the company’s Antarctica Discovery Voyages to the frozen continent from November this year until March 2017, onboard Hurtigruten’s vessel MS Midnatsol. The kids program is included in the normal price of fares and has been designed to suit children aged seven and older.
On embarkation, kids are greeted by specially trained program staff and presented with a field notebook featuring chapters focusing on polar history, science, photography and nautical studies. There will be opportunities for the young explorers to work with the main expedition team, assisting with their work duties including navigation and meeting the Captain. A dedicated science centre will host lessons for kids and adults where studies into the biology and geology of the Southern Ocean will include real examples. In addition, kids will learn the ‘EcoChains’ card game which aims to teach about the polar environment.
Off-ship activities will also be available, with kids invited to help the staff set up landing sites before the rest of the passengers go ashore. These activities include digging snow steps, placing flags and cones for making a pathway, carrying emergency equipment and standing guard near a colony of penguins. Kids are accompanied by crew members at all times.
Professional photographers will be onboard the voyage and on hand to help kids hone their photo skills to best capture their expedition. Fun recreations of historic polar journeys will take place, with each family activity completed earning children a stamp in their workbooks. As stamps are collected, kids work their way towards an official explorers certificate.
The polar cruising season runs during the summer months in the southern hemisphere, usually between late October / early November and ending in most cases in late March.