Each little area had its own distinct environment, and everyone seemed right at home. The open areas under a big glass dome made it feel as if you were in another place altogether. It was exciting when you would come across one of the animals dwelling there.
|The 'Mangrove Forest' was pretty spectacular|
This Mangrove set-up at the Florida Aquarium was cool because you could see the fish swimming around through the glass basin. I loved this because usually you only get an above water view. It was nice to be able to see some of the underwater action going on as well.
Of course the colorful view of underwater life is always on display in an aquarium, and there was no exception here. Pinks, yellows, greens, browns and the beautiful blue of the water made for many lovely displays.
The lobsters looked healthy and happy. Far better to see them here versus the tank I usually see them in (the grocery store). I can't be the only one who thinks it's awful that they are bound and ready to eat at the store, lol, and don't even get me started on the restaurants that have lobster tanks. You might be saying, 'yum, yum' but I'm definitely thinking, 'eek!' I'm getting off track though, I know. Let's keep moving. :)
Of course catching sight of any shark is amazing. My oldest son went swimming with the sharks not long ago. Better him than me. I'll watch from the outside of the glass, thank you very much. :)
Nemo was there...and so was his cousin. ;)
There was a place upstairs where you could see down to the 1st floor. We looked down to see a penguin. Cute little guy, right?
A small crowd started to gather to hear the informational going on about him.
That presentation was being held right outside of the research station. I wonder if he was being housed inside. We weren't close enough to hear what was going on, and wouldn't have been able to get down there in time to listen (the aquarium is huge!). I bet it was interesting though. I always love to learn new facts about things we've seen forever and a day but may not know all that much about (like penguins).
This large area here was a hit with my son and daughter, to your left in the photo above. They were actively there for quite some time, looking for a real shark's tooth. If you found one, you got to take it home (just one).
They each found one. :) Here is my son holding up some of the debris so you can see what they were sifting through. I'm not sure why it was so fun to both of them, but I love when they both are totally into something at the same time. Always makes me delighted to see that sibling thing going on. Maybe I'm getting sappier as I get older (a fact I embrace, lol), but these little moments are truly the ones that leave my heart full of happy. I'm very blessed and fortunate that they happen often in our family.
When you visit the Florida Aquarium, there are optional Experiences you can pay to do. One allows you to dive with the sharks, stingrays, eels, turtles, etc.,
|I mildly wanted to take a cruise...and then I saw them docked|
behind The Florida Aquarium. Now I have cruise ship fever and can't wait for us to book a trip of our own!
Another Experience you can book is the Wild Dolphin Cruise. That's the one we opted to do, and I
will be writing about our experience with that soon blogged about that in a post you can read here. In the waiting area to board there is a kid zone. The play area had wet (splash pad) and dry elements, and a sandbox too. There is a hut to order something to drink. There is also outdoor seating if you want to pick up something from the full-service cafe and bring it out (you can sit inside too). We did order and eat there. The food was good and the prices were very reasonable. It was the docked cruise ships that were the marvel for me though!! I've never seen one up close and personal and I was hooked the second I did. I'd love to get on board and explore. Just look at it (it looks like a building there in the background)!! It's a real beauty!!
|Journey to Madagascar!|
The ring tailed lemurs were cute, and definitely fun to watch. This was my favorite exhibit in this area. I saw online where you could crawl through a tree of hissing cockroaches here if you wanted. Do they fly like Palmetto bugs? I don't know (I don't think they do), but there was no way that was anywhere on the agenda. I run in terror if I even hear the word 'cockroach.' Add the word 'hissing,' and I'm the one that's doing the flying.
I took pictures while we were up high of some of the exhibits we had already seen. They really did a great job of reproducing natural-looking habitats here. I'm sure a lot of time, money and research went into doing so.
When it was time to go, we decided to go back the way we came in so we could see the otters again (really, they were so energetic and fun!).
And so I could say goodbye to my 'friend.'
If you get a chance to visit The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida, I hope you will take full advantage. It was definitely a destination to remember.