Francis and I talked about homeschooling on many road trips, years before Lilly was born. Our main reason, then and now, was travel and exploration, without being tied to a school schedule. Coral World Ocean Park, on the US Virgin Island of St Thomas, is exactly the kind of opportunity we had in mind! Coral World is a unique opportunity to get up close with ocean life, including dolphin, shark, and sea lion encounters, SNUBA and Sea Trek. I'm sometimes a bit nervous about cruise excursions involving animals, because profit is often prioritized over animal welfare, but Coral World is all about education, rehabilitation, and sustainability.
We are not fans of actually being IN the ocean, however. We love cruises, we love a beautiful view, we love to look at the ocean from a balcony or beach. Find us over the ocean, on the ocean, near the ocean, but not IN the ocean. One of the coolest things about Coral World for people like us is their Undersea Observatory Tower. It's 3 stories tall, and the lowest level takes you 15' underwater to look at the coral reef - a real coral reef and not an aquarium - up close! It's the only one of it's kind in the Caribbean, and an experience I'll never forget!
Back on land, they also have a Caribbean Reef Encounter, which is more like an aquarium, but the water comes straight in from the ocean (and sometimes brings new friends with it). Watching one of the keepers feed everyone in this area was a lot of fun, especially the stingray. Stingrays are like the puppies of the sea.
We only had a couple of hours here on our cruise excursion, but between the guided tour, the animal encounters, and the educational presentations throughout the day, this is definitely a full day experience if you choose! We look forward to visiting Coral World Ocean Park again on a future visit to St Thomas!