[I’ve been meaning to write this post for literally one week, but just have not had the time thanks to school]
So I like animals, or naminals, or friends, whichever you prefer. This means I often go out of my way to see them.
In fact, just today [the day I write this post, 9/13] I actually got to pretend I was a chicken, of all things. There was a virtual reality thing at the law school where you go to be chicken, it was kind of neat. Of course it was put on by PETA so you got slaughtered at the end, but I still had fun. I think it was my first time ever doing virtual reality.
Anyways, I like naminals.
Here in Boston we have an aquarium, the New England Aquarium. While they get absolutely no points for originality of name, the aquarium itself was pretty boss.
However, its also very expensive. I’m talking, 25$ a person expensive. There is a small student discount, which brings the price down to 23$, but still, 46$ is just not something SB and I can really afford, even for friends. As such, we had pretty much written the aquarium off.
That is until my law school orientation came around. As part of orientation they were offering all sorts of little fun trips, all on the school’s dollar. These included things such as art museums, tours of Fenway park, trolley tours and most importantly, the aquarium. Heck, they even paid for your subway travel to and from the aquarium.
That is when Taco got an idea.
You see, orientation itself was four days long, and the trips were held on 2 of those four days, many of which were held on both days. So, I got a little sneaky. I went on the first day and got an aquarium ticket and a subway ticket. And then, you guessed it, didn’t go. After that.. you guessed it again, I came back the next day and did the exact same thing. This left me with 50$ worth of aquarium tickets, and 2 (there and back) trips into downtown Boston via the subway. A total value of about 60.60$ It might seem like I was being dastardly, but they never actually said you couldn’t go to a location more than once, nor did they say you actually had to go once you took the ticket. And since the tickets didn’t expire for over a year I figured SB and I could visit the aquarium when we had a chance. Lo’ and behold we went our very first Saturday.
(This was my first time using my new phone, which was my first ever smartphone, so some of the pictures aren’t all that great)
The building itself, which is rather odd looking, is located right down in Boston Harbor. In fact a lot of the water that the animals swim in (such as the penguins) is just filtered water straight out of the harbor, definitely efficient. Since we had special cool people tickets, SB and I got to avoid the MASSIVE line which was directly in the sweltering sun (it was about 90 degrees and humid that day). That was amazing, though I don’t think the people who watched us blow them by thought so.
Once you get inside you are pretty much immediately met with penguin friends (African Penguins).
The way the aquarium is laid out is actually pretty cool. The whole place is build around this large central column which is actually a huge tank. The penguins (all three varieties of them) surround the base of the big pillar. Pretty nifty.
Every once in awhile they turn on a sprinkler system for the penguins. I’m not sure if its just to keep the cool, wet, or to wash away the poop, but that guy above he was all about dat’ sprinkler.
They also had little itty bitty blue penguins (Little Blue Penguins), which I believe at the smallest kind of penguin (about 1/3 the size of an Emperor penguin).
SB was pretty much infatuated with them.
But so was I, so I can’t say much.
We also found Nemo.
And this guy…
..who was most definitely not Nemo, but I think he was awesome. I actually have no idea what kind of fish he was either, I couldn’t find him on the informational display.
This is one of the many angles you could look into that large central tank.
It was actually really pretty, especially since the top of the tank was open which allowed for some nice light rays to shine down through. There was also a diver in there cleaning things, but I didn’t get a good shot of him.
On the opposite side of the pillar was some crested (Rockhopper) penguins.
As we started to make our way up the spiral we encountered a gargantuan, straight out of hell lobster beast thing.
You can’t really tell it, but that thing was freaking huge.
As was this guy…
..because he was all up in my camera stealing my photo-space.
In the same tank was really cool polka-dot ray, I had never seen one of these before, not even on TV.
Near that tank were some sea dragons, which were really pretty and kind of like sea horses that have been mutated into super heroes/villains.
As we progressed higher we encountered an Eel.
He seemed buttmad about something, but the next person we saw:
Seemed very content with the world. I guess that happens when you are 120 years old.
Around this point we also encountered a dark room with some glowing jellyfish. I’ve always thought jellyfish were cool to look at, though I was horrified of being stung by them when I was younger.
Next up were some piranha buddies, who looked like they would have been more than happy to eat my face off for me.
Immediately adjacent to the piranhas were some jungle frogs, I actually played with one of them. Sadly I couldn’t touch them, but maybe they would have poisoned me and condemned me to a horrific death, so it might have been a good thing. But we played through the glass, he liked my finger.
Near the frogs was an electric Eel.
That sucker was huge. His tank was pretty cool. It had a meter hooked up to it that was measuring the voltage he was putting off and it changed from “Green” which was when he was just chilling and watching TV to “Red” where he was killing something. You could also put your hands on the panel and compare your output to his (Protip: You will lose).
Next up was the first of the “OMG YOU CAN TOUCH STUFF” rooms. Which allowed us to touch Star Fish, Urchins, a Flounder, and a small Horseshoe Crab.
They were all pretty nifty, (The Flounder was ultra slimy) but the urchins were weird. As soon as you got close to them they would grab your finger. They were sticky and poisonous. However, for whatever reason their poison doesn’t effect us at all. At least that is what the employee said. If I suddenly die, you know why. But yeah, they would grab you, since that is how they hunt fish. SB freaked out and scared a little kid next to her when she got grabbed, it was actually really funny.
We worked our way to the very top of the big central tank, which afforded us some good views looking down, including some sharks.
Of course by the time we made our way to the top, which took far far longer than it would for most people, it was time to go see the penguins get fed.
Of course the little blue penguins got fed as well, they were persnickety eaters though.
After that we headed outside for the Fur Seal, Sea Lion, and Harbor Seal training show.
By the time we got there it was really packed and we had a pretty distant seat. However the trainers made up for that by letting us get very up close and personal with the trainees.
Isac was a humongous guy (Northern Fur Seal).
The picture really doesn’t showcase how massive he was. I seriously thought it was a walrus at first, I am not joking. It was hilarious watching him waddle.
After the show everyone started getting a little sleepy.
Apparently this particular Sea Lion (I can’t remember her name, sadly) is known for sticking her tongue out when its nap-nap time.
As we made our way back inside for a snack (it was past lunchtime) we noticed one of the Rockhopper penguins had made himself King of the Hill, literally.
As we were eating lunch, we noticed a show being put on by the Harbor Seals. You can’t really tell it from this photo but they were painting pictures. I’m sure some rich animal activist in New York probably pays 20,000$ for them too. My phantom image hovers over the photo.
The last area of the aquarium was the larger “OMG YOU CAN TOUCH THINGS” area. It included rays and a few various kinds of sharks. Yep, sharks. There were even signs up warning you that you could get bitten, it was kind of funny. Of course I doubt people get bitten, at least not often. Naminals are more chill than most people realize if you go about existing with them in the proper ways.
As you can see from the photo above, it was pretty crowded. However SB and I were patient and managed to work our way up into a very good spot at the front of the line. You see what would happen is that the animals would start to swim towards you, then some kid (or adult) would start relentlessly thrashing and scare all of them away. So the key was to get in front of the plebs (as Tristen would say) so you could touch them before they got scared off.
That is me about to touch a ray.
And that is SB about to touch a little shark.
There were actually much bigger things in the tank, such as a massive whip-tail leopard ray which was just ginormous. There was also nurse sharks, full sized nurse sharks. We touched both things, but I didn’t get good pictures of them, so just believe me.
The rays felt like jelly blobs and the sharks felt like sand paper, it was pretty neat.
Under touchy room number two was another jellyfish exhibit. Some of them were really awesome, I got some cool pictures of them too.
And then some florescent ones:
And then some more glowing ones that were getting fed while we were watching them (all those particles are food):
They seemed very happy to get noms.
After that we had traversed the hole gamut. Like most of my posts I’ve left out several things, but it keeps the posts relatively short and also leaves some surprises should you ever go there yourself. (It also helps me go to bed earlier, since its about 1am as a I type this, haha.)
On our way back home it was still hot, which meant the subway stations were still hot, but overall I think it was actually a little better than it had been on the way down. In all, it was a really fun day, made even more so by the fact that my school had paid for literally everything except for lunch. I always love getting to see animals, especially when they are free (which is why I miss Columbian Park Zoo so much). On a similar note, MIL in FIL bought SB and I tickets to the Boston zoo, so you can expect a post on that sometime after we get a chance to go visit that bunch of friends. 🙂
Until next time,