I absolutely love the jelly fish section, almost as much as getting to watch the penguins. The tanks are all in a darkened exhibit, lit from withing to highlight to jellies best. Didja know jelly fish are the oldest multi-organ animal on earth? They pulse and flail gently in aqua tanks that seem endless. Their translucence contrasts beautifully with the glowing accents that sometimes look like electric lights. There are even jelly fish that lie on the ocean floor and look like anemones, lifting their bellies to the sun and catching prey as it drifts by.
The newest exhibit at the Aquarium is The Secret Life of Sea Horses, which I hadn't seen before. These crazy looking little creatures are so fascinating; I'm sorry I couldn't get any better photos of them, but they are more skittish than the other animals in the aquarium. The site calls tehm "shy and secretive." They always moved away before I could focus and get a good shot! There were specimens up to eight or nine inches long, and some as small as fingernails. I learned that the males carry and pop out the babies; seems like more species should try this maybe? I also learned that the tourist trade in dried starfish and seahorses, for example, is having a detrimental effect on the ocean's wildlife. Farmers harvest whole portions of live reefs, fish and all, for profit, while leaving an area denuded.
I like to think penguins are my spirit animal. These are South African penguins, not the March Of The Penguins arctic kind, but they are just as funny and cute. They have their names on a little armband to tell them apart. One kept worrying the keeper's boot and pant leg with its beak, demanding treats. The swimmers looked so cheerful zipping around in the water and floating by the windows. It's almost as though they're posing nonchalantly while watching us watch them.