Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Melbourne Aquarium

A visit to the Melbourne Aquarium was reminiscent of the visit to the zoo. Wall highlights within a visit to what seemed to be a construction zone with all of the noise, dust, impact on circulation and trip hazards one would associate with a building site. Again, signage apologising for the inconvenience and a full entry price of $35 did little to appease. Ok, enough complaining! The highlights were worth the angst and they included seeing both Gentoo and King Penguins. These birds are incredible in real life and so much better than viewing them on tv. Sorry Sir David! The colours were incredible and so intense up close. Watching them walk was amazing with their momentum and gait unlike anything you can imagine. they really do waddle - until they hit the water where they come into their own. As for the Gentoos, how cute are they. Their trick is to build a pebble nest to impress their partner. Security is tight with pebble theft rife as males fighting to attract their own females, thieve pebbles from adjacent nests. The seahorses and leafy sea dragons were amazing to watch with their movement dependant upon the current. Sea horses use their tails to hang on to coral to stabilise themselves. Then on a whim, they release their tail and float off until they reattach onto another convenient branch. The octopus was a true character as only an octopus can be and I spent some time watching him. His ability to manoeuvre and shape shift is inspiring. The tank with tropical fish was good, but not as large or lavish as you would expect with the access to corals, anemones and fish we have in Australia. It was a little disappointing. There were some smaller tanks that were interesting. I loved the Thread Tailled Travelly and also enjoyed watching the Scorpion Fish. Seeing Travelly on the menu at dinner tonight I abstained and went for the pasta! As for the rainforest area, how it fits under the definition of an "aquarium" beats me. We saw our fill of snakes, bugs and spiders at the zoo so I really struggled to get the connection. The shark tank was ok, but was mostly an in the round set up with only two small sections where the sharks, fish and rays could pass overhead. That said, seeing the rays glide over with their "faces" so close to your head was an amazing experience. I think if you lived in Melbourne you would buy an annual pass to the zoo and aquarium and then when you visited and the construction meant you couldn't see what you wanted you could return another time and pick up what you had missed. Perhaps that's the way to do it. Certainly with both of them so close to the city centre there is no excuse not to visit. 21.8.2013

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