We previewed the Wild! Science Fantasy Island kit in our article on the Top Science Kits from Toy Fair 2011. There were no shortage of science kits at Toy Fair, but a science kit that combined Betta fighting fish with ants – this was something Dad Does just had to see to believe!
Discovering Life on Fantasy Island
Wild! Science was nice enough to send us a Fantasy Island science kit so we could do a full product review. Fantasy Island is a habitat that allows you to study and learn about ants and Betta fighting fish (you need to supply the ants and Fighting Fish). The manual is very well done and really pushes the idea of doing experiments to learn more about your new “pets”.
Are your ants herbivores, omnivores or carnivores? Do an experiment by supplying different types of food and see what type of ants you have. Do Bettas change colors in the Rainbow Choice pool? Do an experiment and find out. The whole idea of Fantasy Island is to experiment, discover and learn.
Let’s take a look at a quick video that shows you Fantasy Island by Wild Science -
Betta Fish and Ants Never Had It So Good!
No offense to any Betta fish who may be reading this, but you guys, in captivity, have a pretty miserable life. Bettas fight, so they usually live alone in some tiny boring bowl. However, the lucky Betta who gets to live in the Wild Science Fantasy Island will feel like the Bill Gates of Betta fish. Yes, this lucky Betta can spend his mornings in the Rainbow Choice Pool, a lazy afternoon over in the Volcano pool and a relaxing evening in the Sky Pool.
The ants, don’t get me started on the ants. The ants who live in this thing have such a good life that I don’t think you can even call them ants anymore. Let’s just call them charmed little things. These guys get the Ant-O-Sphere, a food bar and a juice bar (top shelf stuff). They also get the Volcano garden where they can hang out and watch the Bill Gates of Bettas do laps.
Fantasy Island is Great for Ants and Fish, but what about Kids and Parents
Setup of Fantasy Island definitely requires a parents help. You need to cut some tubes and wedge things in – setup is a project for parent and child. Still, the manual is easy to follow and we were able to build Fantasy Island without any major problems.
Once you have Fantasy Island built, it really becomes more of a pet project than a toy. You will need to get a Betta (and food, cleaning supplies, etc), ants, plants, make food for the ants and do some cleanup each week. This is really no fault of Fantasy Island, but parents should understand that there is a good deal of ongoing maintenance to keep the habitats happy, fed and clean!
On the positive side, kids love Fantasy Island. We don’t have the ants in the island yet, but already the kids love watching the Betta fish and seeing which pool he likes to swim in the most. Fantasy Island really takes owning a Betta fish to a whole new level and this is a huge hit with the kids.
Fantasy Island: Sometimes Science Is Messy – But It Is Still Fun
The Betta is living happily right now on Fantasy Island. There will be some cleaning necessary and it will only get more involved once we have ants living on the island as well. With a fish bowl, you can just take the Betta out and then wash the whole fish bowl. Cleaning Fantasy Island will be more involved because the ants will be full time residents.
Even with the potential work of caring for Fantasy Island, it seems like a small price to pay when you watch how much fun your kids have with Fantasy Island. The manual is packed with very interesting information about ants and fish and my kids were eager to do some experiments and learn more.
We are holding off on giving a final recommendation on Fantasy Island until we can get some ants to move onto the island, but even without the ants the kids have really enjoyed it. I caught the kids telling their friends how ants wash their faces with their front legs – you have to love when your kids learn science while having fun!
Note: Look for our updated Review once we move the Ants onto Fantasy Island.
Wild! Science Fantasy Island by International Playthings is for children ages eight years and up and retails for $49.99
FULL DISCLOSURE: We received Wild! Science Fantasy Island to review. We received no money for doing this review and receive nothing if you do decide to buy Fantasy Island. If you do buy Fantasy Island and somehow your ants and Betta fish mate to form a super swimming ant creature that takes over your house, we are not responsible (but please take some video of the take over, sounds cool!). This is a real review, by a real Dad (and his kids)!
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