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Come celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with us!

January 16 is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and this year, our team is looking forward to celebrating Dr. King’s legacy by spreading awareness to our friends and supporters of one of his lesser-known dreams: the Beloved Community.

Per The King Center, the concept of the “Beloved Community” was initially coined by philosopher and theologian Josiah Royce in the 20th century. Dr. King, who was a member of Royce’s Fellowship of Reconciliation, supported and popularized the term and believed it could be accomplished on a global level.

The Beloved Community, as a philosophy, does not tolerate human suffering through poverty, hunger, homelessness, racism or bigotry. Instead, it champions inclusivity, a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, and nonviolent resolution of disputes. For Dr. King, the end goal of the Beloved Community was to create “a truly brotherly society” that reconciles people in conflict and creates social change on both a local and global scale.

We believe that not only can we achieve the dream of the Beloved Community, but that conservation of the natural world supports its goals of peaceful activism and reconciliation of the community. Climate change and environmental degradation impact all people in a multitude of ways, such as through the disruption of food and resource supplies, as well as pollution of our soil and waterways.

Therefore, beginning on MLK Day and continuing through Thursday, January 19, we’ll be providing activities and events for guests that can help preserve and support local animals, habitats, and our environment. These events will also help teach our guests how to become stewards and advocates for the natural world!

MLK Week Activities (Available 10:00am Through 3:00pm)

January 16: MLK Day

Planting Seeds and Plotting the Garden Activities

Guest can help us begin plotting the land and sowing seeds for our community garden next to our scenic overlook deck. This community garden will affirm our belief in the value of learning and coming together. On this day we will be planting seeds in egg cartons to live inside until it warms up and they can be sown in the ground. In the meantime, we will also plan where in the garden we will putting these plants! Get your hands dirty and join us for some plant fun and community bonding! Guests who participate will be offered seed packets to take home to start their own gardens.

January 17

Soil Science and How to Compost

Did you know your living Beloved Community extends all the way into the ground? It's true: the soil is full of living microorganisms that ensure plants get all the nutrients they need to grow. We’ll be learning how important it is and what soil can tell you if you stop to look and listen. We expand on this by teaching folks how to grow and feed their soil through composting.

Family Night (6:00pm-8:30pm)

Join the VAQ team for a night of family fun and scientific wonder! Learn about the chemical and scientific processes that help our beloved community function. Come tour the Aquarium during this after-hours event filled with experiments and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

January 18

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Join us for a nature quest! Search through our grounds and then again when you are home for typically unnoticed aspects of nature. Discover the beloved community that quietly surrounds us, find hidden gems, and capture nature-based memories that will last a lifetime. Guests who participate can take the scavenger hunt home, and those who turn it in will receive a special reward!

Blood Drive (9:00am-3:00pm)

Not only are we celebrating MLK Day, it’s also National Blood Donor month! Support your beloved community by giving a potentially life-saving gift of blood. If you are signed up, you are welcomed to tour the Aquarium free of charge! AND, all those who donate in the month of January will be entered to win a trip to Superbowl LVII in Arizona!

January 19

Make a Bird Feeder and Insect IDing

The final day of our Beloved Community celebration highlights the unassuming critters who do a lot more for us than we may realize. The birds, the bees, the pollinators, even the flies! Join us and create a bird feeder and community bird houses to attract different birds that will keep our garden safe from bugs. Learn what bugs are good for a garden, and what natural methods we can utilize to keep harmful bugs away from our community garden. Guests will be welcomed to take their bird feeders home, or leave them with us to attract birds to the area.