The first exhibit showcased colorful tropical fish of the sort that kids would know from their books and movies like Finding Nemo.
(and a baby starfish?)
Another pool, infinitely cooler, had sharks and rays.
But then Mom and Uncle Jason started getting our hands wet . . .
|Petting the bat ray|
In the heady rush of having touched a creature as dynamic and dangerous as a rock -- without losing a single finger! -- the kids decided they were ready for larger prey. Back to the shark and ray tank!
Some of us, with shorter arms, resorted to baiting the leviathan with small dead fish (which, alarmingly, reminded me of a certain meal I had a couple of years ago in Croatia...).
Unfortunately, no quantity of baitfish would compensate for the length of three-year-old arms. So Shae stuck to shallower waters and their immobile mollusks.
From there, we moved down the hall to see the lion fish and, after much waiting, the feeding of the eels. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the feeding. The caretaker (whom I'll call Rapunzel) let her unruly tresses dangle in front of the tank in a manner that obscured all interesting munching.
The kids had a blast and talked about their aquatic adventures for the rest of the day. My view is that the aquarium was off to a nice start but still had a ways to go. Much of the facility was still under construction (we passed signs indicating where the otter and seal exhibits would be, and workmen were laying carpet around the clam boat), and the operation generally felt understaffed -- so my sense is they'll need another six months to get things fully up and running. But still, a fun activity for a rainy January morning.