The first thing we did was head straight for the seafood display.
The 5 year old does it out of pure instinct. No one has ever told him that in Sicily this is how you begin your seafood feast, by selecting the still moving shrimps, scampi, lobsters, fish, or squid you would like to have cooked up special for your lunch.
No, the boy wouldn't dream of eating the animals. He is more interested in identifying which creatures he knows by name. Which ones are the biggest. Which he hasn't fished yet and which he hopes to catch someday. He wants to feel the creatures with his pokey little fingers and he has been known to sneak in a poke or two at the eyes, a pinch of the fin, an opening and closing of the claws. I half-heartedly remind him we cannot touch the fish. You see, even though it's not polite, part of me loves that he is so un-squimish, curious, tactile. He wants to know by experience. I want him to get away with it if he can.
Living by the sea means not only do you get to eat deliciously fresh seafood, but that your child's natural fascination for all living creatures will have a laboratory on hand to spark his imagination in the most mundane, yet unexpected moments.