Shark Day!

We made our annual pilgrimage to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Saturday to see the sharks.  It was “Shark Day” at the aquarium, and it was the weekend before Tad’s birthday.  Why not go?  Ane’s friend Lisa, her little brother T.J., and their parents met up with us there to make this a real outing.

We started out with the zoo’s newest attraction first, because their feeding was at 9:30 that morning – the new clouded leopard cubs!!

These two are less than two months old, and VERY cute.  And we were smart to make the 9:30 feeding, because we could really get a good look at them.  I walked by at 2:30, when I knew the afternoon feeding would be, and the viewing area was packed.  The early birds got to see the cute cubs!

After that, we wandered around, looking at other animals…

… and Rerun got out of the stroller while the zoo wasn’t so crowded, and walked around for a little bit.

Finally, we could hold Tad off for no longer, and we went to get good seats for the shark feeding at 11 am.

Rerun was fascinated by the size of the tank.

The sharks put on their usual good show, and Tad was thrilled to see his old friend, the wobbegong shark.

The wobbegong shark is the last to be fed, since it is a carpet shark and stays on the bottom of the tank.  At one point, Tad was talking to the wobbegong shark when a nurse shark swam right up in front of Tad’s face, and I could swear that it was making eye contact with Tad – who was thrilled that the nurse shark had come right up close.  It made me wonder.  After all, sharks have a sixth sense – they can sense electrical currents via their ampullae of Lorenzini.  Every living being gives off an electric “aura” of some kind.  What would a shark sense from Tad?  Someday, when he is older, we may have a chance to find out.  But it does make me think…

There was plenty more to see than just sharks.  Point Defiance also has marine mammals, like walruses, sea otters, and seals.

Tad loved seeing the seals (and immediately quoted the opening line of one of his favorite documentaries, Air Jaws, by saying, “For the seals, there is no escape.  A great white shark is stalking them, and she is very hungry.”), but Rerun got quite a kick out of them as well.

The nice thing about Point Defiance is that the zoo and aquariums don’t offer everything, but what they do have, they do well.  When we go to Woodland Park Zoo, we can never see everything in one day – there’s just SO much.  And there’s so much variety.  At Point Defiance, there’s more focus on fewer animals, plus the aquarium.  This is the only place in the greater Puget Sound area that we can see sharks.  There aren’t even sharks at the Seattle Aquarium – just a research station talking about the sixgill sharks that live in Puget Sound.

The kids had a fabulous time together.

We wound down at the zoo’s very nice play area, which was suitable for kids of all ages.

We let the kids ride the carousel and visit the gift shop to end the day.  Both Ane and Lisa chose to get clouded leopard cub stuffed animals.  Tad picked a plastic zebra shark for his always-expanding collection of replica sharks.  Rerun got a mini plush bamboo shark, which he has graciously agreed to share with his brother.  T.J. picked out a fuzzy hanging monkey.

And poor Rerun was so wiped out by the end of the day that I had to carry him to the car instead of making him ride in the stroller – and he fell asleep in my arms by the time we reached the car.  And we were parked fairly close!

It was a fun, and very full, day.

One Response to “Shark Day!”

  1. Ressis
    August 8th, 2011 06:47

    Tad: Shark Whisperer