They are advertising the aquarium heavily on television, as a new expansion and update has just been completed. The all new "Caribbean Journey" includes a three-story rain forest exhibit that lets visitors get up-close to their birds. This pink flamingo thinks he is a goose, because right after this picture was taken, he goosed Denisa. Mark was very sad that he missed her surprised reaction.
Because we were some of the first visitors of the day, we got a close-up of this roseate spoonbill in the new exhibit. Shortly after this picture was taken, we watched as he flew to the top of the trees. He then spent the rest of the day safely located three stories above the crowds.
Ducks were floating in the river going through the Caribbean, and they didn't mind swimming close to the visitors.
This white pelican is a brand new resident, brought here after an injury ended his ability to survive in the wild. He hasn't gotten used to being fed, and he kept looking longingly at the fish swimming by.
After all these bird pictures, it looks like we were visiting an aviary instead of an aquarium. But there were water features throughout, and many of them encouraged interaction with the sea creatures. There are both indoor and outdoor tanks for touching the sting rays. On this rainy day we preferred the indoor option. The sting rays often glide by to allow us to feel their velvety smooth backs with two fingers.
Throughout the aquarium, tanks full of other sea creatures can be enjoyed. Some of them look like normal fish, while others look like something that Dr. Seuss invented.
Some of the aquariums have domes, that allow you to view the tank from a 360-degree perspective. Another strange looking creature appeared in the picture below. (That's describing the skinny fish swimming by--not Mark.)
You know that we have a creative God that created so many unusual creatures. These worm-like fish would stand up straight from the bottom of the tank, then retreat back into the sand if startled.
One of the new displays is this giant tank filled with large schools of fish and sharks. An 8-inch-thick piece of curved acrylic is separating us from those vicious-looking sharks.
We watched while the divers were cleaning the tank. The well-fed sharks glide right past them, and completely ignore the other fish.
We saw evidence of sharks of a larger size in another part of the aquarium. It looks like Mark would just be a nibble to this big guy.
Besides the displays, there are shows that run throughout the day. We had the schedule in hand, and made it to each one. We started with the animal encounter, where we could touch the baby alligator.
Then we headed outside for the sea otter show. It was hard to get a clear picture, as she is moving so quickly.
The trainer had left bits of food around the enclosure. We watched as the otter was playing a version of easter-egg-hunting to find them all.
There was a bird show, where different animals were paraded in front of the audience. This military macaw was named for his startling green feathers that look like he is in uniform.
But our favorite was this guy, who picked up that plastic snake and "killed" him by beating him against that rock over and over. That's a handy bird to have around.
When we needed some time to rest our legs, we found the 4-D movie theater. The other good part of this experience is the fashionable glasses we got to wear as the Shark movie played.
But our favorite show had to be the dolphins.
They would leap out of the water on cue. . .
and do amazing tricks like catching a ball.
They were very good ball-handlers, as they could also balance balls on the tip of their noses.
It was still raining a little outside, so we had our rain gear ready during the show. We found out that wouldn't be enough, as the people sitting next to us were soaked from one of the dolphin splashes. It seems we were sitting in the splash zone.
After the show, we could see the two dolphins underwater as they would glide right behind this handsome silhouette.
Dolphins always seem to be smiling.
The morning rain showers subsided so we could see the outdoor displays before we left. The aquarium was built right on the water, and we could see the ships passing by.
The ship in the background of the picture above is the U.S. Lexington--a military air-craft carrier that is also open for touring.
The view from the other side of the aquarium is the bridge that connects us with the points south of Corpus Christi. After another meal of fish and shrimp, we'll cross that bridge and head back to where the motor home is parked in Mission, Texas. It was a fun two-day road trip with Denisa's Mother!