My daughter will be 5 years old in a couple of weeks and she has a knack for asking questions until she get the answer she was looking for. At the beginning of summer she starting nagging me to take her to Marineland, apparently many of her friends had gone and told her about the fun they had and of course there are the never ending commercials complete with the "everyone loves Marineland" tag. Lil' L being five takes things at face value, so when I told her that I really didn't like Marineland, she was quite surprised. She wanted to know why, and I told her that the owner did not treat the animals very nicely. Of course that wasn't a good enough answer for her she wanted to know more, so I explained that some of the animals were separated from their friends and family and that made them sad ( I stayed away from the more graphic content as I didn't want to go there) and that I thought the owners were a bit like bullies. I told her that we could go there once and then she could decide if she liked it or not.
The next week we were driving in the car and the familiar Marineland jingle came on and Lil' L said "why don't they say 'some people like Marineland', because you don't like Marineland mommy." I told her that it was advertising and that when people advertise something they tell you the best things about it, This was met with silence followed by a question about what advertising is. I tried to explain it to her in terms I thought she might understand by asking her if someone told her about a toy and said it was kind of fun and some people like it but some people didn't would she want to get it. Then I asked her if someone said a toy was so fun and everyone wanted it would she want that toy more - the answer, yes. That's what advertising is. I connected to Marineland using the same example and I think she understood.
With the recent accusations regarding Marineland, I had made the decision that I would not be spending my money to support an attraction that quite clearly has no regard for the welfare of their animals. The good news is,she hasn't asked to go to Marineland lately and even after seeing a television ad today she was quiet so I hope that some where in her mind she has made the decision that she doesn't want to go. Because quite honestly, I don't want to have to tell her about what happens behind closed doors at the place that "everyone loves". She is incredibly compassionate and I think it would make her sad in a much deeper way and my job is to stop that, so for now we've dodged a bullet but I think it's time to read up on discussing issues like these with young children before the next questions come (and they will)