Fort Fisher Aquarium

Today, we split off from the large group and headed to the aquarium with just our immediate family plus my cousin. She and my daughter have been joined at the hip for days, so we thought they would enjoy it together.

Not much has changed since the last time we went (2 years ago). It was still a neat place to visit and I am glad we made the extra effort to get out there again.

We started off in the swamp area checking out the turtles and alligators.
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This guy is an albino alligator which is rare because when the young alligators can’t blend in with their surroundings, they get eaten more easily.

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One of these cute, little guys got flipped on his back, but as we watched, he was able to flip himself back over.

Next, we checked out the touch tank.
The touch tank was great! We got to touch hermit crabs, anemones, sea stars, urchins, and horseshoe crabs. We also learned that the horseshoe crab, beyond living for almost the past half a billion years, has blue blood due to the copper in its blood instead of iron like ours. My son thought that was pretty cool as he had just been telling me the same fact about octopus, squid, and cuttlefish blood. Horseshoe crab blood is important to us as it is used in medical testing to make sure that samples are not contaminated with bacteria (link).

Underside of a horseshoe crab:
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Big hermit crab:
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We moved on and spent lots of time staring at the big tank and watching the ray, sharks, eels, and other animals.

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We sat through the diver talk this time and the kids came up with some good questions for him. My son learned that it wasn’t a baby hammerhead shark in the tank (as hammerheads are dangerous), but instead a full grown bonnethead shark.

*Now that I am home and able to look it up, it appears that the bonnethead is of the same genus as all hammerhead sharks. It is one of the nine species with that shape of head.

After the large tank, we checked out some of the non-living samples like baleen and part of a spinal chord from a whale.

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Then came more interesting animals like the octopus and the jellyfish. Some of the jellies changed colors as time went by, going through the color spectrum.

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We finished up our trip with a visit to the gift store to buy new stuffties and then took a lap around the outside exhibits where we saw some birds and turtles.

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Here are the kids posing with their new stuffties…they are named Vanilla (the seal), Chocolate (the otter), and Orea (the snake).

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