Jo Worgan column: Day out at the aquarium went swimmingly for whole family

Guardian columnist Jo Worgan
Guardian columnist Jo Worgan
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Last week I wrote about my son Stephen drawing a visual timetable for his brother Tom as we were heading to the Aquarium of the Lakes.

I just want to share what a delightful day we had. The boys travelled with Granny and Grandpa and I with Andrew.

It was very strange not having the boys with us. Anyway all was going well until we got to Bowness where the ferry was due to depart, we only had ten minutes to park the car and board the ferry and sadly time was not on our side and so we decided to head straight for the aquarium.

At this point we had stopped to discuss plans and I swapped cars so as to sit beside Tom, thinking that he would have a major meltdown as we were not getting on the ferry (this was after all on his timetable!) Well, to my surprise he just merely grumbled when I explained that we would ‘do aquarium then big boat.’

The boys loved it; for Tom there was lots of sensory information to process but he seemed to enjoy this, he zoomed around the aquarium but took everything in. Every time we went past the capuchin monkeys he pointed and said, ‘hello capatan’, I have no idea how he knew what it was called.

He really does surprise me at times. Both boys especially enjoyed the walk through the ‘under water’ tunnel where they both pretended to swim. What I found fascinating when walking through the tunnel with Tom was that he was really interested in the speakers dotted along the walls which allowed us to hear the sounds happening in the water.

He kept stopping to place his ear on them. What did make me smile most though was Tom’s request to be thrown in the big tank so that he could swim with the fish, ‘can you throw me in there and I swim?’ he asked with a big smile on his face. ‘Sadly not Tom’, I replied, though who wouldn’t want to swim with the fish? We did in the end make it onto the ferry and enjoyed a restful sailing. The water really seemed to mesmerise and calm Tom. However we did not let go of Tom’s hand while sat on the deck of the boat, you just never know with Tom. He might have decided to go for a swim.