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Tourism in Antarctica: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Antarctica is a unique destination for many tourists and the number of visitors to the continent grows each year. This lesson will explore why tourists go to Antarctica, how they get there, and the dangers of too much tourism on the continent.

An Icy Continent

Next stop: Antarctica! Would you want to visit the coldest place on Earth that is covered in ice over a mile thick? How about a place where the permanent population is zero (unless you count penguins)? If so, Antarctica is for you!

For centuries, only the bravest and toughest dared to visit the continent of Antarctica, the southernmost continent located on the bottom of the Earth - and many of them never made it home. But today, tourism (traveling for fun) is actually quite popular in this icy kingdom. Yes, Antarctica is cold and pretty empty, but it's features are stunning and beautiful, so it's no wonder that tourists are coming to Antarctica more and more each year.

Tourists come to Antarctica for the beautiful scenery
penguins

Visiting Antarctica

Tourists traveling by boat can visit the coast of Antarctica during the summer which, in the southern hemisphere, is during the months of November through February. People travel there for many reasons, but mostly for the animal and marine life as well as the beautiful scenery. Millions of penguins inhabit the continent along with whales and seals. Scenic flights have also flown over Antarctica so that visitors can view it from the air.

There are many people on the continent of Antarctica, especially in the summer months. They are mostly researchers and scientists, and none of them live there permanently. Up to 35,000 tourists can visit Antarctica each year. Most of them come by boats sailing from either from New Zealand, Chile, or Argentina. Cruise ships drive by the icy coast so that visitors can see the beautiful landscapes, and some smaller boats even make landings so people can get off and really say they were in Antarctica.

Most tourists come to Antarctica by boat
boat

Extreme Tourism

When coming by boat, most tourists only spend a few hours on the land because there are no hotels, restaurants, or other attractions in Antarctica. Some people may visit one of the research stations, but then it's back to the boat!

Lately, some people have been going to Antarctica for adventure: skiing, camping, hiking, and even paragliding and skydiving! As exciting as it sounds, this type of tourism can be dangerous. Some visitors in smaller groups attempt to explore the continent without the proper equipment. When they get into trouble, they have to ask for help from the research stations or offshore, which may not be available.

Antarctica can be a very difficult place to get to
ice boat

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