Monday, 29 July 2013

Melbourne trip - part Aquarium

Week two in Melbourne seemed to be all about best friends!  I got to catch up with three of my best friends from various periods of my life and it was fantastic!

My best friend from Grade 1 until we moved towns in Year 9 just happened to be in Melbourne at the same time as us, and just happened to have a day free, so we caught up on Monday.

I caught the train into the city with the Little Big Fella, who'd never been on a train (despite his Daddy's job) and really enjoyed it!  We met P at the stairs of Flinders St station and walked to the Burke St mall.  My sister had told me about a place in Myer that have amazing desserts so we wandered our way through to there (stopping at the costumes for the Little Big Fella, and taking our time to convince him he wasn't getting one).

Apparently this store within Myer, Brunetti's, is the smaller version, and there's a much larger one elsewhere in the city.  I'm so glad we didn't go to the bigger one!  It was really hard to choose from the "small" selection!!!!

Eventually I chose a chocolate tart and the Little Big Fella chose an ice-cream/gelato.  For the first time in his life, he couldn't finish an ice-cream!!!  It was pretty rich, but absolutely delicious!

Realising that the Little Big Fella wouldn't cope well with being dragged around shops, I suggested we go to either the Museum or the Aquarium.  We chose the Aquarium and I'm so glad we did because it was brilliant!  Yes, it was expensive (although, if I lived in Melbourne I'd seriously consider buying an annual pass and going in pretty regularly - especially the shark area), and yes, we had to line up for ages to get in (and guess who had to use the facilities right then!).  But it was great fun, really interesting, and definitely worth it!

Here's a few pics to give you an idea:

As soon as we'd paid, we walked through an area where we were told to pose for a picture.  We knew they'd try to sell us the photos, but didn't realise they'd come out so well, and that we'd have access to the digital copies too.  The photos (3) were put into a book about the aquarium and the various creatures in it.

The first creatures we saw when we came in were the seahorses.  Seahorses are definitely my favourite sea creatures - not only because they're so interesting-looking, but the whole male baby-carrying thing has always fascinated me!

There were heaps of them, and in so many different colours and shapes (if you want to include the sea dragons in the seahorse category, of course).  I loved how they wrapped their tails around the seaweed to hold on.

There were several of these bubble things, where kids (and parents when they get dragged along) could crawl under the tanks and look up into where the fish and other animals were.  It was pretty cool.

There was also a really big tank/pond with lots of archer fish in it.  When the Big Fella and I lived briefly in Darwin, the couple we stayed with had archer fish in their pond in the middle of their living room (with a spiral staircase going over the top of it, mind you).  At night, when the flying termites came out, they'd turn off all the lights except the one over the fish tank.  The termites would fly over there, then the archer fish would spit at them, making them fall onto the water where the fish would eat them.  They're really good shots!

We went downstairs to the shark tank.  This was at the top of the ramp:

The shark tank is really amazing.  You walk through a tunnel, but the tunnel is made of very thick acrylic, and the fish, rays and sharks swim over and around you.  It is such a great experience!

I think if I lived in Melbourne, and had an annual pass, I would come to the shark tank as often as possible and just sit and watch them all.  Especially when it's not school holidays :-)

Eventually we headed back upstairs and had lunch.  Just next to the cafeteria area was a coral reef tank.  It was here that the Little Big Fella made a friend:

He sat talking and singing to this Moray Eel for ages!  And the eel seemed to be responding to him.  It was watching him, and even looked like it was talking to him, and didn't go away until he did!

Eventually it was time to go.  We headed back to the train station (on the tram of course!) and said our goodbyes.  I was really grateful for the chance to catch up with my friend, and that the Little Big Fella was entertained enough that we actually got to talk quite a bit.  There's even a chance that we might keep in touch a bit more than we have of late (I'm so bad at long-distance friendships!).

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