Thursday, June 4, 2009
Behind the scenes at Underwater Adventures
We have enjoyed going to the Underwater Adventures. I hadn't really planned on going again this summer, but an opportunity to go behind the scenes with some kids we know from a homeschool group prompted us to plan another trip. It was really nice to have a guided tour--people can learn a lot of interesting facts they may not know if they just do a self guided walk through the aquarium. We got to visit the lab where they care for the smaller animals and do water quality testing. We also saw the kitchen where they prepare the food for the animals. Under Minnesota law, the food given to animals cannot be garbage. If you have ever eaten at Red Lobster, you have eaten food from the same source as the animals there. It was funny to see the kids scrunch their noses up and comment about the smell and their "need to clean it." Our tour guide explained that they have the cleanest kitchen in the entire Mall of America. I've heard that on the news...it really is the cleanest kitchen in the Mega Mall. Fish heads anyone? Hmmmmm, yummy.
The kids got to hold a dried egg pouch. The pouches are nicknamed the mermaid's purse because the egg pouch has a handle that allows it to hang from rocks in the ocean. The aquarium has live ones hanging from hooks in the tanks that will eventually hatch. Well, some of them will. The aquarium will then use them for other zoos and aquariums.
Many of their animals are rescued animals. The areas of fish are more noticeably divided than they appear in the tube. We went through the exhibit after the tour. It was a different experience. Since tours were still being held when we were in, it was the first time we had seen the water completely lit up. It has been darker when we have gone before--you would not think it would be that noticeable, but it was. Near the end of the tube, we saw some of the fish getting fed what had been being prepared. We saw several stingrays eating. I always thought the face of the stingray reminded me of Face from the Nickelodeon network.
The aquarium changed the exhibit at the end and has opened a touch tank for crabs. The kids played with the crabs, careful to not get their fingers near the pinchers. We ended the trip with some iced coffee and chocolate from the mall.