Aquarium adventure

Check out the cute seahorse detail on the aquarium’s door handles.

My recent vacation included a family outing to The Living Planet Aquarium. It’s technically in Sandy, Utah, though we never seemed to leave Salt Lake City. I suppose it’s like going from Glendale to Phoenix, or Indianapolis to Carmel — a distinction only to those who live there.

Wherever the aquarium was, it was fun — and educational. We saw all kinds of sea life, including fish that spit water to knock their food out of trees and fish whose fins have evolved to work just like legs. (These were both in the “Animal Superheroes” exhibit, but I don’t remember their names.)

One fun fact I managed to retain: It’s actually the male seahorse that has babies.

A river otter

We also had a chance to check out the otter exhibit, which just arrived in January.

The things I didn’t know about otters could fill a book, but here are some of the highlights:

  • There are two basic types of otter: the sea otter and river otter.
  • The largest of the 13 species of otter is the giant otter, reaching a length of up to 1.8 m and known as the river wolf in Peru. The smallest is the Asian small-clawed otter, less than a meter long.
  • North American river otters can dive to a depth of 60 feet.

— Source: National Zoo page on the North American River Otter

My nephew, Alex, watched the penguins almost as intently as I did.

I could have watched the penguins for hours. It was cool to see them swimming around — and I was surprised at how easily they pop out of the water onto land.

Some facts about penguins, courtesy of Penguin Facts:

  • The name is derived from Welsh terms ‘pen’, meaning head and ‘gwyn’, meaning white.
  • The penguin is an unofficial symbol of the United States Libertarian Party.
  • Most can swim about 15 miles per hour.
  • There may be as many as 100 million penguins in the world, but they can be endangered by oil spills, water pollution, and over harvesting.

Penguins were also in the news this week, thanks to a report that scientists in New Zealand have reconstructed the skeleton of a giant, extinct species bigger than the Emperor penguin. Pretty cool, eh?

I’d never seen glow-in-the-dark jellyfish before.

The jellyfish were a sight to behold, especially the ones that glow in the dark. Positively ethereal, they were. (And now I sound like Yoda. Good.)

I’ve since learned the glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, called “moon jellies,” are the most commonly kept jellyfish species. Who knew?

{edited to remove link to jellyfish facts after receiving a “link removal request.” I don’t know what they found so “questionable quality” about my blog post … but there you have it. Rest assured I won’t be mentioning — or visiting — that site again.}

The aquarium was definitely an adventure. Alex had a bit of a meltdown when it was time to go, but I don’t blame him. There was so much to see that I could have stayed longer, too.

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