DH flew into Tampa on Friday to join us on our Florida family reunion. Tampa is about an hour west of Orlando, where we were staying. We took advantage of his late-morning flight arrival to get in a visit to the Florida Aquarium.
It turned out to be a perfect day to be inside. Rain had moved into the area and made for a rather gloomy (and chilly) afternoon, so it wasn’t like we were “wasting” any of the sunshine we rarely see in Ohio this time of year!
The Florida Aquarium is full of great exhibits that showcase the abundant marine life in the Tampa bay area. We started off with a walk into the Wetlands.
I loved the entrance, which has you walk UNDER a clear tank so you can see turtles and small fish from below.
The Wetlands exhibit, along with alligators and river otters, has an amazing number of birds. Although we don’t think of birds as marine life, there are a large number that rely on coastal and sea resources for their survival.
But while the birds were beautiful and fun to watch, they weren’t nearly as compelling as the alligators.
We also enjoyed a special show put on by the River Otters. The pictures don’t show it well, but three of the otters “performed” for the girls by doing a neverending series of backflips. They were mesmerised by it.
Past the Wetlands exhibit, there was a nice exhibit on Florida coastal areas. We got to see one of several stingray exhibits.
More birds, too:
Next we visited an exhibit on aquarium design. They had some really interesting examples of styles of aquariums and the kinds of fish one might choose to put in each style. We liked the glass ones best.
They also had some adorable vintage aquarium bubblers. This led to a discussion about how oxygen was important for fish, even though they don’t breathe air through lungs like we do.
Finally, we came to the girls’ favorite: sharks.
The aquarium also had a few touch tanks, where patrons could actually feel some of the sea creatures. This one is full of sea stars and anemonae.
We saw many wonderful exhibits full of colorful fish. The further away from shore, the more colorful the creatures seemed to be.
We all still loved the sharks best, though.
This was a really informative trip.
I liked that there was lots to see, but that the exhibits were very intimate and kid-friendly.
Even the sharks.