Memorable day out for 120 children

1/12/2012 — New Straits Times

It was a most memorable day for 120 underprivileged children from Pahang when they made their maiden visit to Petrosains and Aquaria KLCC recently.

The visit was organised by East Coast Economic Region’s (ECER) Development Council in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) to spread some cheer to less privileged children.

The children, aged between six and 12 years, were the pupils of SK Lepar, Pekan, Pahang and also participants of the Sinar ECER programme.

The programme is targeted at helping underprivileged children with academic excellence, personal development, soft skills, a positive mindset and character-building.

ECER’s general manager (social development division), Zulkifli Yaacob, said the educational excursion served to stimulate  the children’s interest in science and technology as well as in marine life.

“These kids are from hardcore poor families and that limits them from exposure to the outside world. We believe that they have  potential to excel in academics, and it is our desire to help them develop skills,” he said.

“We take them on such educational visits to inculcate knowledge that can benefit them in their studies. This is also an effort to help children from the ECER Agropolitan scheme.”

The ECER Agropolitan scheme is a socioeconomic project to accelerate rural economic growth through agriculture activities while providing sustainable income for its participants.

The children couldn’t hide their excitement when they were taken to Petrosains as they had a chance to play fun games and participate in interactive science-based activities.

They started their journey at Petrosains by taking a ride shaped as an oil drop called “The Dark Ride” and they were later brought to the various stations like Petrojaya, Geotime Diorama, Exploration, Sparkz, Oil Platform, Speed, Molecule and Music, and Arts and Science.

The main attractions at Petrosains were the singing Tyrannosaurus Rex at Geotime Diorama, the Formula One car at Speed and catchy music instruments at Music, Arts and Science. The children appeared to be dragging their feet as they reluctantly left each station.

Mohd Firdaus Mohd Saiful, 10, said he was delighted to be included on the field trip.

“I was so excited to see a giant dinosaur singing a welcome song… It was out of this world!” he said.

Sofia Sarah Mohd Taufiq, 9, said she had a great time at Petrosains.

“This is my first-ever visit to Petrosains. I love that it’s a place where one can play and learn at the same time,”  she said.

From Petrosains, the  children then made their way to Aquaria KLCC for their exciting ocean discovery.

They were visibly mesmerised by the numerous entrancing aquatic creatures from all parts of the world.

One of the most remarkable attractions in Aquaria is the Oceanarium, a 90-metre transparent underwater  tunnel with a moving walkway, where the children came face-to-face with marine fauna like sand tiger sharks, giant stingrays and turtles.

Nur Umirah Ismail, 10, was overwhelmed by the visit to the ocean discovery centre.

“I am thrilled to see the piranhas, water rats and stingrays,” she said.

All in all, the visit to the two places of fun and learning was time well-spent and a fulfilling day of enrichment for the delighted children.