Saturday, January 23, 2016

Unexpected Nuggets of Fun in Rockport

Our camping spot at Goose Island State Park is about ten miles north of the little towns of Rockport and Fulton.  Denisa had a list of free things to do in town, so we left our beautiful state park and headed for town.  Free things to see would include the sculpture garden outside the Rockport Center for the Arts.

There was also a stop at the Bay Education Center, another free attraction in Rockport.  No pictures, but we were educated on the area including the most famous visitors--the endangered whooping cranes.  But our favorite free stop was the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor.  It included some really ugly fish--like this one that came into a local bait shop along with the shrimp.  Instead of selling him for bait, he was donated to this community aquarium. He shares the aquarium with another ugly fish in the background--a Bighead Searobin.

They also had clown fish.  These funny-looking fish are not indigenous to the Gulf, but are an invasive species.  If lucky enough to catch one of these trespassers, they do taste like lobster.

We were entertained by the Rock hind fish, who change colors based on their surroundings.  The fish in the foreground has been on the white sand, while the fish approaching from the background has been hiding in a darker area of the aquarium. Amazing chameleon fish!

The star of the small-town aquarium is Marley the Eel, the five-foot leopard moray eel.  Both Mark and Moray are smiling for the camera.

We had to include a close-up of Marley's head to show his beautiful markings. When he opened his mouth, we could see that he has the same markings inside as well.  After seeing some close-ups of very unusual fish, we have to agree that God has quite a sense of humor when he created them.

When we entered the aquarium, one of the locals told us about a contest that was taking place that afternoon.  She invited us to taste and then help judge the different savory fish soups that the contestants had made.  We were happy to help with the judging, and enjoyed the seven soups served by seven local queens.

We had already spent more time in Rockport than we intended, but then we heard about a concert on the beach at Fulton.  Of course, we had to stop for the music, which had been moved inside because there were chances of rain today. We didn't get any rain, but we were glad to be inside because it's easier to two-step on the hardwood floor rather than the sand on the beach.

In between bands, the Fulton Volunteer Firemen put on a display for the crowd.  They approached the burning ball of flames from behind a shield of water.  Who knew that practicing fire-fighting was a spectator sport?

So we left the motor home around noon today, expecting to be back in a couple hours.  But we just kept finding new nuggets of fun that we couldn't pass up.  Little towns can be big fun, and all of it was free!

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