My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Visit to the Texas State Aquarium

I'm still visiting my friend, Winnie in Corpus Christi. Wednesday we invited several other retired friends for lunch.  Afterwards, one of our friends went to the Texas State Aquarium with us.  Winnie has a family annual pass so we got all the fun for free. 

We got there just as the diver started to feed the fish in the largest tank.  She is a little hard to see. Then we visited many other tanks.  I was surprised to find several exhibits of frogs. There was also a female tarantula with an egg case. 

Feeding time for the big fish

A pyranha hiding his teeth and looking kind of cute

Bird-eating tarantula

Tree frog

The place also puts on a show with animals that have been turned over to them or found wandering around. It includes an anteater that was found in a parking lot in Houston. We didn't get there in time to see that show.  We did go to the talk about the otters, one of whom posed as though he was trained to do so. The otter and turtle tanks have some glass inserts so you can watch them swim underwater. 

One of two river otters

Hawksbill turtle

We also went to the talk on rays and enjoyed watching the rays swim around. One ray did a great job of splashing a viewer standing right next to us. 

Rays in the outside tank

There were many educational exhibits as well.  The role of oil rigs were explained and an exhibit showed how life develops around a rig.  The invasive lionfish had it's own exhibit and viewers were exhorted to never release aquarium fish. 

Some of the fish found around oil rigs

The beautiful but invasive lionfish

One of the sea pipes on exhibit

Mesmerizing jellyfish

Corals and fish

There are a few birds at the aquarium, that can't be released, due to injuries. They live inside in a pond/island exhibit, or outside on flight cages. 

White-tailed hawk

A wild  and free ruddy turnstone on the rocks just in front of the aquarium

The aquarium is starting to build a new wing that will house creatures from the Caribbean. The wing will more than double the current space and will  have state-of the-art interactive exhibits. I'll have to come back in the fall of 2016 to see if it's finished. For more information on the aquarium click here.  We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours here and, if you have children and get to all the shows, you can spend more time. 

The aquarium is right next to the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier in service from 1943 to 1991.  I have yet to tour this boat but, if you are interested in old planes, carriers, and history, this should be an interesting tour.  

Part of the USS Lexington

On the personal front, I got to be a volunteer, something I'm missing doing.  I find myself telling other perfect strangers stuff they probably don't want to know. Winnie, my hostess is also a volunteer and told me she had to work last Wednesday.  She was helping put on the educational activities for a field trip with her Texas Master Naturalist group.  She told the manager that I planned to come hang out with her.  A few days ago, she got an e-mail with directions on what she would be doing. We noticed that "Winnie's friend" would be running a reptile interpretive talk and would have both live animals and preserved specimens to show to the kids. Winnie was supposed to show them birds through a telescope and talk about coastal birds and migration. Another woman was to take them on a short walk to look at plants growing on the beach and talk about them. Another leader was to take them to find things laying on the beach, including shells and trash.  And the most fun was to be letting the take seine nets out into the gulf. But high winds and cold temperatures forced us to run the program inside. So I was the most exciting part of what they did, since I had the only live animals.

Waiting, with Randy, for the kids to disperse into groups