GODAC - Global Oceanographic Data Center
Have you ever wondered what it takes to get to the bottom of the ocean and how on earth people find those sea creatures that don't need any light to survive? If you've been reading along on here I'm sure it's no surprise to you that we enjoy all types of ocean documentaries. We have always been intrigued with the deep ocean, so it's safe to say our visit to GODAC to learn more was way overdue!
We have driven past this unassuming building here in Northern Okinawa more times than I can count. We finally decided to stop one day this summer. It was not only a great way to get out of the summer heat, but it was also an educational experience.
One of the biggest surprises is that GODAC doesn't have an admission fee. It's totally free and you can go as many times as you would like. The staff were kind and helpful (as always here in Okinawa!) They even have free tours of the facility and are happy to host school groups.
GODAC is full of hands-on displays for kids and adults to explore. As long as you don't mind utilizing Google Translate on your phone it's also fairly easy to read the displays and understand what you see.
One of the kids' favorite parts of GODAC was kinetic sand that you can mold and sculpt. They loved creating mountains and valleys and watching the colors change as the elevation went up or down.
We also got to use virtual reality headsets to experience what it is like to go from tide pools to the deeper ocean and scuba dive. It was incredible to be able to see underwater wonders with a headset! It was also hilarious to watch the kids swirl around using the headsets so I would really recommend being ready with your camera for this part!
GODAC has a whole room set up just for crafts. You can choose from at least half a dozen crafts to do with your kids or crafts to let them do on their own. You can make small scale models of the underwater submersibles or the vessel named JAMSTEC that is based out of Yokosuka, Japan. You can also do sand art or scratch paper pictures of the vessels. This was one of the highlights of the trip!
We thoroughly enjoyed the full library of books. There is a little bit of everything on ocean topics. There are plenty of books in English to keep the kids busy with reading material! We enjoyed just looking at the beautiful pictures of sea creatures, too.
As we were walking around we were asked if we would like to watch an experiment on hydraulic water pressure. We're never ones to turn down new learning experiences so we said yes and we were surprised to see that we had the whole experiment to ourselves! The staff members used a hydraulic water chamber that showed what happens 1,000 meters under the ocean.
The kids got to use the hydraulic water chamber to see what would happen to a styrofoam cup 1,000 meters down. The staff were awesome at explaining the experiment and asking questions to engage us. I couldn't believe that we were getting a hands-on STEM experiment along with learning more about the oceans all in one trip to GODAC!
If you're interested in GODAC but can't visit here in Okinawa, or if you'd like to research this organization more for yourself, they have an incredible website. They have a full database to catalogue the deep sea images and information on marine organisms. You can check it out here and choose the English option for the website if you need that! It's also easy to sign-up online to have your school group hosted.
After our visit, we all had a better understanding of the deep sea and what it takes to explore them. It was a dream to be able to see the inside some of the submersibles and to see some of the creatures that have been found in the deep oceans. I would 100% recommend a visit to GODAC if you're here in Okinawa!