Sunday, September 20, 2009

El Oceanográfico

The day started out a little strangely, I walked down to the street to walk to the aquarium and there were hundreds, probably thousands, of bicycles going up the street.  I couldn't find anywhere what kind of race or event it was, there were people in cycling specific clothes but there were also a lot of people in street clothes, and with baby seats, and lots of kids riding too.  That hindered my progress to the aquarium a little, but it was cool to watch.
I got to El Oceanográfico and I was very glad I had purchased my ticket last week, the line to buy tickets was 90 minutes long.  Instead, I went straight in. 
 I sprung for the audio tour (which turned out to be a waste of money, but oh well) and the girl said I should go to the Dolphin show which was about to start.  It was awesome.  They had 10 dolphins and 4 trainers.  Very cool.  

Can you see all the dolphins jumping?  They were very impressive

They have exhibits for all the oceans and regions and most of the aquariums and displays are underground, which I would imagine, makes it easier to maintain the temperature.  I saw walruses and beluga whales.  I love the Belugas. 

 Then onto the antarctic penguins.  They were very boring and just stood around (although I did learn all penguins live in the southern hemisphere).  

Being a good herd animal I got in a line outside the red sea auditorium, and I was  glad I did.  They had a short program with videos about the behind the scenes operations of the aquarium, how they filter the water (it all comes straight from the beach 4 km down the road), how they take care of the animals (they train the sea mammals to do things that assist in their medical exams, like opening their mouths and rolling over to expose their bellies), and how they prepare the food for them.  You can see the instructor in the tank teaching us things.
They have a wetlands display, which wasn't terribly impressive but the Mediterranean exhibits were pretty cool. Lots of starfish, and I love starfish.
 The Oceans exhibit has several different kinds of sharks and a tunnel where you can walk 'through' the huge shark tank.  How cool is it to take a photo from under the shark?  They have a summer program where kids can come and spend the night on the floor of the shark tunnel.

This guy is the coolest.  He's a Mola Mola or sunfish.  He's huge and crazy looking, so I had to take a picture.

The coolest part was probably the connected displays of the temperate zone seas and the tropical seas.  You start on one end with displays of the different sea life that lives there and then there's a 70 meter (229 foot) tunnel where you again walk 'through' the aquariums and it's supposed to demonstrate examples of what you'd see if you could walk across the bottom of the ocean from England to the caribbean.
 Very cool!  Then they have two huge coral reef habitats.  There were no sea turtles, unfortunately.  They have a sea turtle rehabilitation program, so they only have turtles when they're being rehabilitated and then they release them back into the wild, usually at the end of their summer school program.  It was a fun day, I love aquariums!


  1. That is the coolest aquarium I've ever seen. Looks like you're having fun ;)

  2. Ooh.. It's like Underwater World at the Mall of America! ; ) But much cooler, of course!