The day was chilly and rainy. We caught the 8:15 ferry and drove out to Atlantic Beach -- I love the drive to the beach. It reminds me of happy times last summer. The aquarium had few visitors, mostly mommies with little children. We could easily wander and participate in all the exhibits, over and over. Very nice. This facility is new, beautiful, exciting, and well-staffed. Adult tickets are $8. Next time I'll contact them ahead of time and use my once-a-year school pass to get us in for free.
|Out front -- a fish school sculpture|
They even attempted some fake rhododendron.
Anyway, twice each day they have a "live dive" in this gargantuan tank. Two divers are in the tank and one attendant stood with us outside, looking in through a wall-sized window. He had a microphone, and we could talk with and hear a female diver in the tank. She's on the left, below.
|These fish are huge -- it's hard to tell in the photo -- probably 3 feet long each?|
So: do we teach children lies about animals, to keep them from being afraid? The aquarium wants 2 year olds to see and experience tiger sharks. Very well. They want the kids to see divers at work. They want to push the edge of reality, for the learning experience of the little humans, so they love nature. However, there's no excuse for this misinformation. I told Julia the truth: sharks are dangerous. The man was there to protect the woman (and himself). Sharks are usually non-violent with humans, but they're unpredictable. Go watch Youtube if you doubt this.
Mary Lee, a 16-foot great white shark who calls our Atlantic coast her home. She travels from Massachusetts to Florida, and has spent some time in the Pamlico Sound. You can track her travels online.