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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is celebrating Aquafest this weekend, where visitors, ages 10 and older, can try out scuba diving in a traveling training pool.
“Big Wave Dave” Reidenbach, the ambassador for Go Dive Now, takes the four-foot deep pool around the country.
“My goal is to get more people certified. Why we bring this pool here is, it’s not intimidating,” said Reidenbach.
They provide beginners with special masks equipped with a microphone and headphones.
“This mask is similar to the type they were using in Thailand to rescue all the boys, so they wouldn’t have to worry about keeping anything in their mouth,” Reidenbach said. “They have special ear pieces and a waterproof mic inside.”
It’s also safe and simple.
This weekend, local scuba instructors will be in the water to teach. They especially hope to hook them young.
“I get to learn stuff that I haven’t already known about scuba diving,” said 11-year-old Greer Gaspard. “I wanna be like my dad when I grow up, so this is early training.
Her dad is Dr. Joe Gaspard, who scuba dives for a living. As director of Scientific Conservation at the zoo’s PPG Aquarium, he works to repopulate coral. His whole family is having fun in the pool.
“We dive as much as can, but right now we’re getting our kids excited about diving,” Dr. Gaspard said.
As if scuba diving weren’t exciting enough, the ski-bot they have on hand really ramps it up, propelling you through the water like a rocket booster.
But all the inspiration you need to dive is right inside the PPG Aquarium next to the pool, a whole different world, fully explorable only by scuba diving and swimming with the fish.
“The earth is 70 percent water, so we’re only enjoying 30 percent of it; so learning to scuba, you can enjoy the other 70 percent,” Reidenbach said.
For more information, visit the Pittsburgh Zoo’s website here.