Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium

Ok,I had to delete the post I'd originally scheduled for today to interrupt my predesignated posting. Anyway, I have computer access but no ability today to add a picture, so pictures will have to wait.

What I wanted to do, though, was tell you how cool I found the Mote facilities. We took a guided boat tour around Sarasota Bay and had a blast. I would love to go back and try one of the more "intense" tours, but that'll have to wait. We took the basic tour and got to see dolphins in the bay, a large (but dead) tarpon, nesting sites for egrets, pelicans and herons. The tour guides also trawled and showed us a burr fish, pin fish, hermit crabs, a lizard fish (ugly fellow) and more. Definitely a great opportunity there.

The Aquarium itself isn't as big as the one here in Atlanta, but that's hardly surprising. What they don't have in size, they make up for in displays and different fish. They even had a giant squid in preservatives that you can see (named Molly). For once, my kids actually touched critters in the touch pools (they seem to avoid them here). My daughter was quite adamant that she be given a chance to touch a ray (she almost went swimming with them). They have a couple of webcams into their exhibits that you can check out on

Then of course, they have the rescue and rehabilitation center. In the center they had loggerhead turtles, manatee and dolphins that you can see and visit. Behind the scenes they had cameras that you could see some of the more critical patients currently there.

Much to my husband's amusment when we went, I wore my Georgia Aquarium t-shirt. It's a good thing I did. After talking to another of their volunteers, I got to go behind the scenes briefly and see some baby loggerhead turtles that they'd just gotten in (just out of the shell) that they were going to release somewhere else.

My husband had told me when we were on our way that this "side trip" should be worth the extra couple of hours drive. In the end, everyone agreed that it was. :)

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