Monday, September 10, 2012

North Carolina Aquarium - Roanoke Island, NC

After a few full days of sun and water (and sunscreen and sand and missed naps) we took a morning to enjoy a nearby aquarium. A break from the waves was a good choice and the kids had a great time!
I guess it's hard to ask little girls to look ferocious and make a mean shark face. Nothing scary about these cute faces! Micah, however, has the mean look down, having spent many hours of dinosaur play and wrestling matches with his brother and dad.
Try as we may, we had no luck spotting a jumping dolphin or any other fun aquatic life. Grady Lee and Micah were determined to find a pirate ship, but I'm happy to report no such luck with that either.
Before heading inside to view the fish, we wandered a grassy area and looked at whale bones. Did you know whales have blubber that is three feet think? Or, that by one year a baby whale eats up to 60 pounds of fish every day? Yikes. I'll never complain about blubber again or about the enormous appetites of my boys,
And check out this "I'm too shy to look at the camera and smile" pose. Yeah, this from the girl that usually tries to run the show and wants in on the action around her.
This is too much cuteness for me to handle! Buddies and cousins - love it. My handsome nephew, who is almost 3 months, missed out on the cousin pictures... but by time we're together next year he'll be in the thick of it, I'm sure.
Are you wondering if we ever made it into the aquarium? We did. Promise. We just enjoyed the chance to capture family-togetherness since the weather and backdrop were so nice.

See - we really did go inside! We saw and touched lots of fish, snakes, turtles, otters, sharks, alligators, crabs, and other NC aquatic animals.
I was excited that our family zoo/museum membership transferred to this aquarium as well. Our $65 annual membership saved us the $30 we would have spent just for our visit that day. (Cue A-Team music: I love it when a plan comes together!)
The kids spent a while rescuing injured and sick sea turtles, treating them with appropriate medicines, and then releasing them back into the wild. It was a well-done exhibit that gave wonderful hands-on learning opportunities.
But, if I'm honest, I cringe internally at exhibits like that. Lots of money given to teach people how to save a turtle when even more money is spent to tell people it's okay to kill a human baby.
It's no secret that Grady Lee is my nature-loving, animal-loving, adventure-loving kid. Chances to touch and do and be in the moment invigorate him. Touching stingrays and fish and crabs was no exception!
Annalyse wanted nothing to do with the animals, but thought it was a whole lot of fun to splash in the water. Micah was interested to look and retained a surprising amount of detail from what he learned, but all-in-all wasn't into touching and feeling. Grady Lee, well, his hands were on anything he was allowed to feel.
The highlight: the shark tank! Two divers wore mics and talked with us from inside the tank while sharks swam around them. Our kids were right up front and were able to ask lots of questions and learn crazy shark-related facts. Did you know the average shark grows 30,000 teeth in its lifetime? (And, speaking of teeth, here is another random fact: Grady Lee discovered his first loose tooth while we were on vacation! He hasn't stopped wiggling it, thanking Jesus for it, and telling everyone about it, either.)
Our week at the Outerbanks was a belated 60th birthday gift for my Mom-in-law. I know she enjoyed several days with all of her grand kids in one place! She opted to purchase the following pics, and I'm kind of glad she did because they're pretty fun.

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