Remember I promised part 2 of our Sea Life Aquarium visit? Well, here it is. A and I took the Behind the Scenes Discovery Tour.
We were able to get an inside look at the workings of the aquarium To see where the sick, injured, and new animals are kept and cared for, how the food is prepared, and how the aquarium takes in, cleans, and filters the millions of gallons of water needed to care for these animals.
Sea Life has 2 new sea turtle arrivals. Sea turtles are only kept in captivity if they are injured beyond the point of ever being able to survive in the wild. The one they already had in residence was injured by a boat. His shell was split open and when it grew back an air bubble was trapped inside keeping him buoyant and unable to dive or swim under the water. The solution for him at sea life is a white 30lb weight patch on his shell which allows him a free range of motion.
Here is our wonderful tour guide showing us the crates the sea turtles arrive in.
...And here are the two new sea turtles. They are currently quarantined as all new arrivals are in order to protect the other animals from bacterial contamination.
If you look closely, this little guy is missing one of his front flippers. A was thrilled to hear that Sea Life is working on getting a prosthetic flipper for him!
A also got to check out one of the diving packs the staff uses. She assumed it would sink because it is so heavy, but actually the air in the tank would cause the diver to float so the vest is actually weighted in order to allow the diver to dive.
Just like at the vet's office, animals must be weighed, even sea animals, and here is one of the scales the aquarium uses.
A hoped on to see what shark she was closest to in weight. In case you were wondering, she's a blacktip reef shark
We got a peak into the lab were the marine biologist does a lot of his work and even saw where they perform minor surgeries when needed.
Of course having so many animals mean they need to eat....a lot. Remember how I said we wondered why the sharks didn't eat the other fish they were in the tank with. Well the sharks are kept with full bellies. They are hand fed insuring each and everyone eats and is kept satisfied...therefor they have no need to snack on the little guys they share their tank with. Hand feeding also allows the staff to take a close up look at each shark and ensure they are healthy and doing well.
Did you know sharks and stingrays are cousins? Me either. They are actually pretty closely related and A got the chance to check out and compare both of their jaws.
We took a look at some common food items for different aquarium members...who would have known that sea turtles LOVE broccoli. Yep that's right. They love their green veggies. LOL.
That day though, it was approaching feeding time for the sting rays. A was able to watch them prepare the food.
Say bye little crab, you're about to be some sting ray's dinner.
We took a quick peek into the inner mechanical workings of the building, which A said reminded her of the filtration system of the pool back home that her swim teacher took her on a tour of once....just on a MUCH bigger scale.
We said goodbye to a few baby stingrays that had recently been born at Sea Life....
...and then headed back down to see A's favorite buddy.
Our last stop was to watch the sting rays eat that yummy meal we had witnessed being prepared.
It was a great time. I highly recommend visiting Sea Life in Dallas if you get a chance and definitely splurge for the tour, it's worth it. I am thankful for the priceless memories A and I get a chance to make every time we leave the island.