Monday, April 25, 2011

Age Of Aquarium

We wandered along Marine Esplanade, admiring the view – the wine-dark sea and all that – until we happened upon the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Naturally, we went in to take a look.

Unlike many aquaria, they don’t just stick to water creatures – they try to cram in as much as possible! There was an exhibition of New Zealand’s dinosaurs. It was previously thought that there was no possibility of finding dinosaur fossils in New Zealand as all the rocks are too new – yet recently there have been some finds. This was crowbarred into the aquarium on the basis that some of these were plesiosaurs, elasmosaurs and other aquatic types.

New Zealand does not have a vast array of wildlife, so whenever they have an opportunity to show them off, they do so; there is a tuatara and a kiwi enclosure – so we finally got to see both of these. The tuataras were just sitting around doing nothing, which is their main activity, but the kiwis in their darkened kiwi house were very active, moving about and looking for food, as well as interacting with each other in ways definitely not suitable for a family audience. There are photography restrictions throughout the aquarium, and especially inside the kiwi house, so no pictures.

Oh, and they had some fish…various tanks of different marine habitats containing all kinds of fish that live in rivers or in the sea around New Zealand, and including a perspex tunnel so that you could walk through the tank containing the sharks and rays.

The chap in the gift shop told us that it was feeding time for the sharks at 2pm, but we decided we didn’t want to hang around for an extra half hour, and that it was, in fact, feeding time for us too, as we’d had a hard day’s walking around and were feeling decidedly peckish. We walked back into the main centre of Napier and found ourselves a bistro for lunch.

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