Travel Journal: Mote Marine Laboratory

While we were in Siesta Key, Florida, there is no way that I could miss going to the Mote Marine Laboratory. They are on the forefront of marine research and have one of the best aquariums I've every been to. They let you explore the local and continental marine life through touch pools, high-tech interactive exhibits and even lets you view working labs. I highly recommend going if you're ever in Sarasota County.

We saw plenty of amazing animals:

Sharks

Manatees

Lion Fish

Sea Turtles

When we arrived we made it just in time to see the shark feeding.

I've always had a huge fear of sharks, so I was prepared for the worst.

The second I saw the sharks circling the tanks, I had visions of my childhood fears - that they were in every ocean, lake, public swimming pool that I went to. Yes, it was irrational, but childhood fears are not usually filled with reason.


Then I realized that they weren't as big as I thought they were.

And it wasn't the "feeding frenzy" that I pictured at all. The trainers put in signs with "x"s on them and the sharks knew to swim to their corresponding "x". Then the trainers put food on an extendable arm and fed the fish directly it to each shark.

The swam around and around until they each made it to their proper marker.

Some of the them, like this nurse shark, knew right away where to go to get their meal ticket.

dun dun...... dun dun....... dun dun dun dun dun

I have to admit that as contained as they are in the tank, I still go the heebie jeebies.

There were plenty of other fish in the aquarium too.

Even a few stingrays were in there.

Every once in awhile they would come to the top and "wave" their fins, splashing people on the sides.

To let people get up and close with the sting rays and skates, there was an touch station.

As they circled around the tank, you could reach in and give them a gentle touch.

Some of them blended into the sand so well that I could hardly see them.

I really liked that they did this and made it easier to kids to see what they are like.



There were many more touch stations with various small marine life, including one of my favorites:

star fish!

As we moved farther into the aquarium we saw these incredible jelly fish displays. Their graceful movements are almost haunting. I could watch them for ages as they carefully float up and down with the quietest of movements.

There was a great lab set up with baby seahorses that were being monitored by the staff. I've always found these to be such a fascinating animal and I can see why they were in mythology so frequently.

I loved seeing all the schools of fish living together in the tanks. Watching their behaviour and how they interacted with other animals was really interesting.

They were actually in the same tank ad a group of young hammerhead sharks.

One of my favorite exhibits was these lion fish. They are so beautiful, but very poisonous to humans.

This little guy was friendly and kept coming up to the front of the tank.

Just look at that beautiful display of shapes and colours. Nature truly is amazing.

Can you spot Nemo?

I think that every little kid (and big kid too) immediately looked at this clown fish and said "Nemo!"

There was a "Dory" there too.

One of the big attractions at the facility is their Dolphin and Whale Hospital. This is where injured animals can come for rehabilitation and let the researchers learn more about these incredible species.

We were lucky enough to get their in time to see them doing some training with a couple of dolphins.

It was really impressive seeing them doing different tasks, like matching coloured balls and going to a specific person.





Next up was the slow and sleepy manatees.

Something about these guys just looks so cuddly...although I am sure that they are not.

This little guy was drifting off asleep in the tank and wasn't really watching where he was going...

...which led to a little collision with the wall. Don't worry, he bounced back okay and continued his slumber. I just couldn't help taking a picture, it was just too funny.

In the same tank were these beautiful sea turtles.

The staff was in the middle of feeding these guys with lettuce and it was fun watching them dart around the tank. I can only imagine how much lettuce that Mote has to order every week!

The best part of the day was getting to share it with these two clowns. My sister almost worked there last summer, researching animal behavior, so it was great to share this with her and learn more about it as we walked through the exhibits together.

For more recaps of my trip to Siesta Key, look at what we did at the beach. Next up, is one of my favorite weekend activity: a Farmers Market!

Travel Journal: Mote Marine Laboratory Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Surur Syifaus

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