The Aquarium

DSCN0777Being a long weekend, it seemed a shame to waste it, so we decided to visit the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. I was not really sure that fish would be interesting, but – what the heck – nothing else around here to do except fight the crowds at the shopping malls, and who wants to do that?

Turned out that the aquarium was a pretty nifty place. I’ve never seen so many fish in my life, all colors and sizes. The huge water tanks and large expanses of glass gave the  illusion of being underwater. The fish, were cooperatively fishy, swimming up to the glass and looking at you eyeball to eyeball. Strange feeling. They almost seemed to enjoy interaction with people. Probably they were just wondering what kind of food I was.

DSCN0781Anyhow, I was pretty cool until we came to an area called the “Delta.” Here is where the fish really became pretty. They were pink, blue, yellow – every color you can imagine! Man, I didn’t want to leave – even though I secretly figured I could be getting pretty low on oxygen from being under the water for so long. I didn’t realize that there was any place in the U.S. that had fish so colorful and exotic looking.

DSCN0785The jellyfish area was especially interesting. The jellyfish sort of swim around like small size umbrellas opening and closing gracefully. The largest collection was called “Moon Jellyfish.” They were really quite attractive. I hardly minded being mooned at all.

There were so many types and varieties that it became impossible to keep track after a while. I hung around the Russian Sturgeon tank for quite a while hoping for a donation of caviar, but I guess they were planning a party of their own later as they never obliged.

Some lizards in an above water display caught my attention. One ugly fellow looked at me from his perch on a tree branch and smiled. I think he wanted to get his picture taken. Probably working for tips. Another lizard had long claws and scurried up a tree. Boy, I’d hate to run into him in my back yard. Thank goodness, he was native to New Guinea. Remind me to never go to New Guinea.

The paddle fish were odd. They were pre-historic looking with long beak-like paddles for noses. Some of them swam with their mouths wide open, which caused the light to shine through their bodies and light up the inside of their mouth as they swam.

Also interesting were the piranha, which were attired in their party wear complete with gold glitter sprinkles. Don’t know if they remembered to brush their teeth or not, but I sure wasn’t gonna be the one to ask ‘em.

We ended up watching the fish being fed. The ducks and turtles liked this part even better than the tourists and mooched up much of the minnow and squid. Those critters seem to eat better food than we do. Hate to pick up the tab when they dine out.

So, the day at the aquarium was a great success. My fingers may be a bit wrinkled from being under water so long. But I can hardly wait to go back, probably the mental effects of oxygen deprivation.

©1998 Sheila Moss
©Photos Sheila Moss

Have you visited an aquarium? What was your favorite fish or other creature?

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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