Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pier Aquarium

Hi Sea Fans!

The seasons are changing and some of us are gearing up for those of you back home, we've had the cold so it's your turn now!  : )

Anyway, seeing as I haven't written in a while, I'd better get to it...

Pier Aquarium.  I was here a while ago, but I was battling to get my photos off the camera for some strange reason.  The Pier Aquarium has been going since 1988 and they've had nearly 4 million visitors walk through their doors.  Needless to say, they were looking for a way to expand and the answer has been "The Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Centre and Aquarium" (SSMECA) which only opened in November last year.   I was lucky enough to be invited to visit.  I packed my camera and hopped on a plane.  Here are some pics:
Me helping Chrissy, one of the aquarists at the Touch Tank.
 I find that touch tanks are one of the best ways to give the visitor an experience they won't easily forget.  That's one of our missions as aquarists, we need to make visits to the aquarium memorable (not easily forgotten).  This makes sure that people feel an attachment to the sea and it's animals so that they feel like they want to do something to help conserve (save) and protect (defend/guard/keep) our marine biodiversity (the variety of marine life - plants and animals).  A lot of people say that you can't beat a first-hand experience like a contact session with animals.  Many aquariums give you the opportunity to touch penguins, dolphins, beluga whales, walruses and seals, but these usually cost a little extra.  Touch tanks are there for everyone who enters the aquarium to touch things like sea stars, anemones, sea weed, algae, horse shoe crabs, and hermit crabs.

Similar tanks are often put into mobile aquariums which are taken around to the local neighbourhood and surrounding areas to teach the public more about these animals.  I know that the two biggest aquariums back home, in South Africa, send a mobile aquarium out into the disadvantaged areas so that the kids there can also get the opportunity to see what lives underneath the waves.  You should see there faces light up with interest when they learn that the spiky round thing, called an urchin, is in fact an animal!

Another reason why I love working at an aquarium.
Helping feed the seahorse nursery.
 Okay, back to my adventures at Pier Aquarium.  Seahorses!  I love these guys.  I mean who doesn't, right?!!  And what's even better is BABY seahorses!  I've been lucky enough to (by accident), see a male seahorse giving birth to it's babies.  It's almost like he spits them out of his tummy!  Amazing little guys!!
Helping with a school group tour.
 In this photo above, I was showing the kids where we were in relation to the rest of the world.  School group tours start like this so that they can discuss what types of waters are here and what lives in the different water systems.
It's always a nice feeling seeing your country on a map.  I got to show the kids where I come from.  The first reaction was "Wow!" and "Gee, you're far from home!".  Yes, I am, but all of our countries are connected by the sea and so we all can make a difference to each others' lives.  (Even if you just do one thing like not throwing your trash/litter/rubbish on the floor).
Helping feed the Coral Catsharks.
 I ended my visit with a quick hello and a few pieces of food for the catsharks.  Cute lttle guys!

If you're in the Florida area, why not pop in and see the aquarium for yourself.  (Plan your visit by checking out

Thanks to all the Pier Aquarium staff, especially Chrissy and Brooke for hosting me and organising my stay.

Have a great end of the week Sea Fans!
Chat soon.

}( *)8

No comments:

Post a Comment