Thursday, April 21, 2011
We have a membership to the New England Aquarium, and had the opportunity to go to a member-exclusive event for the now open Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank last night (April 20, 2011). Prior to heading in, the kids learned that we’d be going; they needed encouragement to complete their chores. If this remained a surprise, I wouldn’t have tweeted about it.
As we are walking up to the entrance, we are instructed to wait in the tent and check-in, but as we do so, someone is calling out a name. It sounded like a name I knew. I heard it again and it was mine.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“We got your tweet today, and I think it’s the first time we had one about an event. Have you checked in yet?” asked Jason as I learned later.
“Well, check in then come up to the lobby.”
Neat. My family was getting special treatment. Before I could check in, I heard my name again and was escorted to the front of the line. We were the first family in, nothing more. We touched cownose rays (top) and saw bonnethead sharks (left), and a few other rays and sharks too. Then we had full access to the rest of the Aquarium.
On the drive home, my wife asked if we would have been so impressed if we had not received special treatment. I think the answer is yes. I always learn something new at the NEAQ because the staff and volunteers go out of their way to enhance your visit, but since the crowd was so small we had near exclusive access to them. We learned that Hogfish travel in a harem with a dominant male and female, and should the male die, the female will assume the role and change its sex. We learned from Andrew that a goose fish’s egg veil is about 60ft long and is related to the angler fish species.
On our second trip through the shark and ray tank we walked by the Amazing Jellies (right). We also made two trips to the always crowded Edge of the Sea Touch Tank. Since it was evening/night, the fishes were on their nocturnal schedule, so sometimes hidden, sleeping, quiet fish were moving about; we saw a Moray Eel lumber from one hideout to another atop the Giant Ocean Tank.
Thank you to the New England Aquarium for offering this free member-exclusive event. Thank you to Jason for pulling us out of line and making us feel special. Thank you to Andrew and the rest of the staff and volunteers that offered what they know.
Links are to the NEAQ Web site and affiliated NEAQ Web sites.