Category Archives: The Florida Aquarium

Now it’s time to say goodbye…

… to all my family. We’re leaving! They are going to the airport and home to frozen Long Island. I am going to a hotel for the night so I can attend some meetings in our Tampa offices tomorrow. I’m sad! But I shall see them again in New York at Christmas time.

It’s bigger than it looks

Yes Dale, you would love this, but I think it’s a bit bigger than the picture implies. Picture a toddler straddling it; I had to wait for one to move before taking the photo!

Outdoor balcony

On the upper level, there is a nice outdoor balcony; here’s the view. The balcony features benches sprinkled among lush container gardens, and a raven in a cage who was making quick work of a flash-frozen chick. Um, also ashtrays!

Explore A Shore

Entrance sculpture to the outdoor play area (with water features – Nieceling got soaked, which greatly displeased her parents) was donated by Publix, as witnessed by the white plaque with the black “P” on it.

Gift shop find

This is done in bronze. There were some turtle sculptures that seemed to be done in polished copper – they were just stunning, but I could not get a clear pic of them because they were TOO well lit, and they just came out as this big gleam. Wish they had the sea horse in the polished copper; I would have bought that in a heartbeat.

This was done on ceramic

All along the passageways of the aquarium there is art work, art work, and more art work. I liked this one because it seemed to be painted on ceramic and then glazed over. I’ve provided a pic of the placard with the artist’s details, below.

It turned out to be…

Sea horses! Yes, believe it or not, that thing in the pic above is a sea horse that disguises itself as kelp. There were signs everywhere that said not to use the flash (camera phone doesn’t have one any way) because it scares them.

Enjoy the view

Every now and then, you find a spot in front of a tank that has some rockers and/or benches set up. Can you imagine if you could have a huge tank as one of the walls in your living room? You would not need TV for entertainment; just plop down and listen to the tank and watch the coral waving and the fishes doing their fishly things… ahhhh!

American Victory

A battle ship is parked outside the aquarium. The name on the side is American Victory, and there was a sign advertising tours. I will post a bigger pic of it later, on my website.

Horse conch

The Florida state shell, it had its operculum in place. However, the rest of this display was sort of suspect; a lot of the species on display didn’t look like they come from Florida.

Starfish

There was a huge tank in the “rotundda” full of all different varieties of starfish. It was a touch tank, and Nieceling got herself good and fishy (she’s 11 but still loves this stuff). The color makes it look fake, doesn’t it?

I c shells

Out of order again. These were actually the first shells I spied in the tanks. And no, I did NOT reach in to collect them; I have have a whole cookie jar full of whelks on my kitchen counter that are in MUCH better condition than these!

Dinner!

It looks like a grouper, but if it is, the pics are out of order again…. I LOVE grouper! I think he was at least 4.5 ft long, if not 5 ft. He was swimming in a huge tank with rocking chairs and benches set up in front of it.

Otter !

He was SO fast! Between his speed, and the damned plexi-glass, it was really impossible to get a good shot of this guy. Y’all know how much I LOVE the otters! We went back after lunch to see a demonstration of his training. He’s really quite clever. He cannot be returned to the wild; he’d been raised by someone who thought it would be cool to own a river otter, and then decided it wasn’t so cool. So he’s probably got to live at the Aquarium for the rest of his life. The reason he is trained is because he is so quick, the veterinarians cannot examine him properly. So they train him to do tricks like run and jump and swim/dive and hold still for as long as they want him to. In this manner, they can observe if he is functioning normally, and maybe treat a wound here and there. They reward him with little fishes (dead).

I plead plexi-glass

As it was yesterday at Busch Gardens, most of the animals in the Aquarium are behind plexi-glass, and therefore the photos have all these weird ghostly images superimposed upon them. These are the reflections off the glass of people standing around, including me. Anyhow, this little smiley-faced guy was only about two feet long; they didn’t have any super-sized gators at this exhibit.

We started in the Wetlands

I see some of the pics arrived out of order. Anyhow, we started in the Wetlands section, and saw those cool Florida soft-shell turtles, which are the ones that hang out in the lake out back of my house (formerly known as The Tinkness Monster).

Well, FINALLY

Yes, we’re getting here at noon-ish. It’s funny. My brother used to be the one getting up at some gawd-awful, commando time of the morning on vacation, waking my ass up by either phoning me or sending the Nieceling to pound down my hotel door. Now it’s the other way around. I’m the one waking up spontaneously at 6:00 or 7:00 am, and he’s the one taking his sweet-ass time getting a move on in the mornings. Go figure! So anyway, here we are, finally arriving at the Florida Aquarium.