Aquarium Cafés—Diving In!

Kristin Evans

Kristin Evans, Texas State Aquarium

As the Coordinator for the newly initiated Texas State Aquarium Teen Science Café program, I may be doing a cannonball rather than a graceful swan dive. Nervous you ask? A little bit. Excited? You bet I am!

Starting a café is no small endeavor, but I feel like I am in good company. The TSC Network is full of resources- from people to processes- to help every café (new or seasoned) succeed and grow. With all this support, I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t drown.

As my Aquarium prepares for our first café, we find ourselves in an unexpected position- we are known for all things aquatic, but do we want to limit our café experiences to only those linked to an ocean or aquatic topic? What about all the other relevant and interesting topics that aren’t our normal aquatic forte? While we may take our time to answer this question, we don’t feel like we will be answering it alone. Being an aquarium-based café isn’t unique anymore, there a number of us scattered across all three coastlines and we are all tackling this question, and many others, to find our niche in the Teen Science Café landscape.

For us at Texas State Aquarium, we do plan to dive in and get started with what we know best- the ocean. We also plan to follow the advice of our Teen Leaders. Luckily, we know they love the ocean as much as we do, yet we expect them to expand our horizons too (at least a little bit)!image001

One question I have for the Café Network- aquarium or land-loving- is if any of you host both Teen Cafés and Teen Summits? We are in this unique situation and would love to blend these two programs to complement and support each other, yet still maintain their distinct experiences. I happily welcome advice from those with more experience, or the company of those diving in for the first time too!

Chat with the Kristin and other Members about Kristin’s question and other ocean science topics at TSCN’s All Things Ocean Forum (you must create a log in/be logged in to post).