Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shark Bait

After tromping through a rain forest to view dinosaurs, and then hiking up and down hills through the redwoods to explore the Trees of Mystery, you’d think we would have just continued on down the highway to a nice, comfy hotel, and let our worn out kids have something of a break.


As we approached Crescent City, California, we started seeing signs for Ocean World. Of course we had to stop.

First, we went surfing:
Then we went in to explore the aquarium, which is actually a boat. Apparently, way back when, someone decided they wanted to buy a glass-bottomed boat to take people on tours of the local coastline, however, the water was too murky. People couldn’t see a foot past the windows! Not exactly a successful venture. So, it was permanently docked, and an aquarium was built around the boat and its large glass windows! The nice thing about this place is that visitors are divided into groups, and sent around with a very knowledgeable guide. It made for a very interesting tour.
First stop was the tidal pool. Our guide identified the various animals in the pool, and explained how to safely touch or handle them.
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Inside the boat, we were able to check out the aquariums. They had a number of very pretty sharks on display.
We also enjoyed the tank with rays. Again, the guide was very helpful about identifying the animals and answering all of our questions. Kids have a lot of questions.
The thing the kids were most excited about was the chance to pet a shark.
Not that one! Real ones.
This little tank held four sharks. Two larger ones, about 3 and 4 feet in length, and two very tiny babies. Brian was the bravest of our bunch.
Honor needed a little help from her Dad.
One of the babies was quite attracted to Honor. Maybe it saw her bright blue sweatshirt? It kept swimming to the edge of the pool next to her and poking its nose out of the water, like it was trying to reach her. I couldn’t get a clear photo. The light was very dim and my camera was having ‘flash or no flash’ confusion and other focus issues.
The babies were off-limits for petting as they were only a few days old and very fragile. I wasn’t able to get a clear photo of them either. They were moving all over the place and diving up and down. My camera wasn’t up to the chase.
Their tiny little fins were so small and thin - they were almost translucent. Very pretty!
Outside of the aquarium, was a pool housing a couple of seals and a very young sea lion. This wasn’t really a performance attraction, but they did a couple of little tricks for us. This little guy was a rascal!
And this one… very pretty, and very sweet. Definitely my favorite.
Now, to be honest, if you are expecting a GRAND aquarium experience like what you’d find in Baltimore or Monterey Bay.. this isn’t it. This is a much smaller site. They have the tidal pool, three large tanks in the boat, the shark pool, and the seal pool. But for it’s small size, they really do a good job. The guides definitely make the tour very special, and we got a lot out of our visit.

And after this stop, we finally called it a night!


Emily said...

I love the surfing pictures!
I think small aquariums are wonderful, it keeps everyones attention and usually the interactive experiences are not as crowded. What a fun adventure.

Rebecca said...

I love traveling like this. We did it with our kids when they were younger. It's such a blast.

That baby shark is adorable! I never ever thought I'd say such a thing, LOL!

Connie said...

Emily - Surfing on the sidewalk was definitely the way to go... the Pacific is cold! ;) The personal attention and up close experience really made it a special visit!

Rebecca - I feel like this is a perfect age to do this sort of thing... young enough to be amazed by it all, old enough to participate in everything. And yes, those babies were cute! I am very disappointed that I couldn't get a clear photo!

Veronica said...

Wow! I have a break from the internet for a month and you have a magnificent adventure (not that your locale is not that too!) in one of my favourite places. Very dear friends in that part of the world, and now you have made me stir crazy to just go ...
Ah well; it was lovely to see some scenes that look familiar ... Thanks!

Jill said...

I'm laughing ... aquariums must be THE thing this week.


Connie said...

Veronica - Then Go!! :D (When life let's you :) !) In the meantime, I'm happy I could share with you! I love that our kids get to explore the world as expats, but I like to get them home to see what America is like too.

Jill - Aquariums are wonderful. The sealife is simply fascinating, and it's educational.. can't beat that combination! When we were talking about R&R, visiting the Monterey Bay aquarium is one site they specifically asked for. Ocean World was a lot of fun too.