Friday, December 27, 2013

Wandering through an Undersea Wonderland

   I love going to the aquarium on rainy, windy days. It's so comfy to step in from the cold to the warm buzz of the aquarium. But there is also something nice about going back into the cold after spending a couple of hours wandering the aquarium. A stormy day spent at the aquarium really distinguishes how odd and other worldly the landscape and animals of the sea are. It is like spending a couple of hours in a daydream. When I go out into the rain, it just makes the daydream all that much sweeter.
   The day that Ces and I went to the aquarium, there was a thunderstorm raging above us by the time we stepped outside again. All the people around us dashed toward awnings and other dry spots. But Ces and I are seasoned Seattlites by now and we nonchalantly continued on our way as the rain plopped around us.
   I went to the Seattle Aquarium probably only a week or so after going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was a dangerous thing to do. With both aquariums so fresh in my mind, it would be impossible not to compare the two aquariums. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world renowned, so most other aquariums are going to seem shabby in comparison. I knew this when I decided to go to my local aquarium, but I was eager to see more sea animals. I knew I might be disappointed because a similar circumstance happened several years ago when David and I were in D.C. We went to the National Mall and wandered around all of the amazing, free museums. It was so much fun! The Natural History Museum was one of my favorites. I especially love the prehistoric mammals! It is fun to try and imagine what it would be like if some of these animals still existed in modern days. Instead of going to the forest with the hope of seeing a bear (from a safe distance) I would go to the forest in hopes of seeing a bear AND a giant sloth! Or instead of reading about dire wolves in 'Game of Thrones', people might actually have real pet dire wolves. After visiting the museum, I was in a Natural History mood so David and I went to our local Natural History Museum when we got back to Seattle. Boy, was it a disappointment! Not to rag on our museum, it is a very good museum, but it is hard to beat the Natural History Museum in D.C.
   So, with all this in mind, I went to the Seattle Aquarium, trying not to get my hopes too high. But, the opposite happened. I was pleasantly surprised about how good the Seattle Aquarium is and how it really holds it's own even when being compared to the Monterey Bay aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a much better jellyfish exhibit, and their 1,200,000 gallon tank is outstanding but the Seattle Aquarium surpassed Monterey in a couple of areas. First of all, the otters! Seattle has sea and river otters! Otters are pretty much the most adorable animals in the world, so it is hard to get to much of them. Also, the seals! I didn't even see a seal exhibit in Monterey. Our seal exhibit is full of adorable harbor seals! The seals have cute names too. One of the seals name is Barney. Barney the Seal! Some one needs to write a children's adventure book about him! Also, our octopus exhibit. The octopus exhibit in Monterey was really dark so it is hard to really appreciate the octopus. Other then that, Monterey probably would win. But my recent visit made me re-appreciate the aquarium in my own city.
   I also learned something interesting. All the otters around Seattle, whether seen in fresh or salt water are river otters. I thought if I saw an otter in the sound that it was a sea otter since the sound connects with the sea. But they are actually river otters!


Marieken Hoefnagel said...

It sure does look like a wonderland!

Amber said...

It really felt like a wonderland!