Tag Archives: aquarium

Fish and Shells at The Shell Museum in Mossel Bay (2018-06-26) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2019

The Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex in Mossel Bay consists of a number of different elements all clustered in one location. There are the outside attractions of the famous Post Office Tree, the Munro Cottages, the Ethno-Botanical Garden & Braille Trail, the Fountain and the Malay Graves, and then the main buildings namely the Granary, the Maritime Museum, and finally the Shell Museum.

The Shell Museum is an interesting little animal in that it is part aquarium, part shell museum, and part African mask museum. Housed in a building that was erected all the way back in 1902, this small museum is a wondrously colourful look into some interesting examples of aquatic life (complete with touch tank – an absolute delight for the little ones), and hosts a very nicely displayed collection of sea shells and masks – all well presented with copious amounts of interesting, informative (and quite often artistic) displays.

The museum itself is not a particularly big space (it does have two levels though), but as with any museum installation, the value that you get out of visiting is directly proportional to how long you stay and more importantly how much you read.

And if you are as curious a person as what I am, then those two usually end up being a lot longer than any of my kids like!

So nothing shellfish of me wanting to go there after all.

(Plus, it was rather nice to be able to share this museum visit experience with my folks for a change. I think the kids rather enjoyed having Granny and Grandpa tag along!)

Related Link: Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex | Visit Mossel Bay | Mossel Bay

Indigo the Octopus at The Shark Lab in Mossel Bay (2018-03-17) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 04 FEB 2019

If you are looking to swim with sharks but without say the danger aspect, then The Shark Lab at The Point in Mossel Bay has the perfect solution for you – a swim in their pool with a couple of friendly smooth-hound sharks.

Situated directly atop the rock channel that runs below the St. Blaize Cave, the Shark Lab actually does a lot of important work with regards to researching, rescuing and protecting local sharks and marine life, in conjunction with their time spent educating both fisherman and the public at large about these big apex predators.

Their tiny space is also home to what they have dubbed a mini-aquarium, essentially a room or two with a few fish in tanks, a view into the pool containing the smooth hound sharks, and a shallow open air “rock pool” that contains a lot of starfish, anemone and quite often, a playful octopus clambering about.

Indigo the octopus is an absolute delight mind you. A clever girls that loves playing fetch with a ball and is a brilliant teaching aid to help the kids get a better understanding about these intelligent cephalopods. (Plus, which kid doesn’t love having a moist starfish plonked down into their hands?)

The Shark Lab is easy to miss and if you aren’t going to swim with the sharks then you’ll probably complain about how small an experience it actually is. However, I enjoyed the intimacy of this mini-aquarium, and in particular, the friendliness and eager to inform nature of the staff on hand.

Now it is just a matter of the kids getting old enough so that I can toss them into the shark pool! :P

Related Link: The Shark Lab | Mossel Bay

Seals and Penguins at the Bayworld Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth (2017-07-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 APR 2018

While the days of the crowd being splashed wet while being entertained and enthralled by Bayworld’s team of well trained bottlenose dolphins are now long since passed, the now visibly less vibrant (despite its R10 million 2013 revamp) Port Elizabeth tourist attracting complex is still worth the visit – even if the oceanarium is no longer the star of the show.

While our day out to Bayworld revolved mostly around the excellent Port Elizabeth Museum (which I’ll dedicate a separate post to), we did of course kick things off at the oceanarium (animal activists perhaps look away now), where the kids were delighted to watch the seals and penguins splash about and play in the two open view pools (next to the sadly, but thankfully hidden, dilapidated dolphinarium zone).

Next came the short seal (and turtle) show, with Jessica particularly pleased at being called out to the front to receive a kiss from a superbly trained seal and his flexible whiskers. (Turns out, the kiss was a lot more ticklish than what she was expecting!) 

Following that, the last remaing thing to be seen in the Oceanarium section of Bayworld was of course the actual oceanarium itself, though to be fair, with the large tanks now all out of action, the dimly lit space is perhaps better referred to as an aquarium, containing only a few tanks, but thankfully filled with enough interesting fish species to make it worth the while.

(When you have a small fish tank dedicated to a LEGO shipwreck build then you might just realise that perhaps something is not running 100% according to plan…)

Anyway, I grabbed a few photos here and there, but honestly, given the oceanarium section’s now diminished state, there isn’t a whole lot to actually take photos of! Still, the kids all seemed to enjoy the space enough to have made the visit worthwhile…

Still, I have to admit, seeing the now abandoned dolphinarium (which holds such wonderful childhood memories for me) is admittedly more than just a little heartbreaking.

Next up: Bayworld’s much more amazing Port Elizabeth Museum!

Related Link: Bayworld Oceanarium | Port Elizabeth | #JuneHolidays2017

Things to See in South Africa: uShaka Marine World in Durban Travel Attractions 13 OCT 2016

One of Durban’s premier attractions is without a doubt the sprawling 16-hectare large uShaka Marine World theme park, home to one of the world’s largest saltwater aquariums as well as the highest water slide in the Southern Hemisphere!

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Opened in 2004 as one of the first phases of the Durban Point redevelopment project, uShaka Marine World comprises of five main sections, namely uShaka Sea World (the aquarium), uShaka Wet ‘n Wild (water slide theme park), uShaka Beach (a beach), uShaka Village Walk (a shopping and dining area), and uShaka Kids World (kids entertainment area).

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Entertainment options are almost limitless, with plenty to see and do throughout this amazing place. You can watch the penguins at the Penguin Rockery, be entertained by the dolphin show at the Dolphin Stadium, and laugh at Seals at the Seal Stadium. You can dive with the sharks, snorkel with the turtles, zip about in the Chimp & Zee rope adventure course, soak up the rays on the beach, or get wet on the multitude of water slides in the Wet ‘n Wild section.

Shopping, dining, and plenty of children’s entertainment means that this place is definitely worthy of a full day visit!

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The uShaka Sea World aquarium is very impressive the first time you visit (I think that I’ve been there twice already), and visiting it and its magnificently themed salt water tanks is reason enough to visit uShaka Marine World if you get the chance!

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So, basically, if you are a tourist in Durban, then you should definitely make the effort to spend at least one day at uShaka Marine World!

As per usual, here’s a handy map:

Related Link: uShaka Marine World | Wikipedia

Japan 2014 – 31 The Kyoto Aquarium in… Kyoto! (2014-10-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 18 DEC 2015

Talk about a change of scenery. For the last couple of days Ryan and I had been taking in a lot of Kyoto’s well known ancient attractions, in other words, castles, temples and shrines, but now having both seen more than enough in this category, we decided to take a break and check out a few different attractions in this culturally rich city.

So naturally we started with an… aquarium.

DSC07749 the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Opened in March 2012 in Umekoji Park, about one kilometer west of Kyoto Station, Kyoto Aquarium is a small (compact) two-story facility that is divided into nine zones with various themes, and exhibiting a variety of aquatic animals.

IMG_20141007_111700 seals at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Smaller than Japan’s other more famous aquariums, Kyoto Aquarium is a little unique in the fact that Kyoto itself is an inland city and nowhere near the sea!

However, surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto has historically always been water rich, thanks to the abundance of rivers that flow into it, and as such, it then makes sense that Kyoto Aquarium places much emphasis on river aquatic life – in fact, it even has a rather unique outdoor river zone to explore!

IMG_20141007_101738 dolphin show helpers at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

There were lots of preschool groups on school outings visiting the aquarium on the day, which meant that the atmosphere was quite excitable (noisy, but in a good way) – which is probably why Ryan and I then so thoroughly enjoyed the quick but entertaining dolphin and penguin show at the aquarium’s neat little dolphin stadium.

(Confirmed, you can never not enjoy watching dolphins at play!)

Also, I hugged a rather large salamander.

IMG_20141007_121144 craig lotter hugging a salamander at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

In the end, it was a nice change of pace and an enjoyable enough visit – though it did remind me once again just how much the Two Oceans Aquarium back home in Cape Town really does need a dolphin pool! Sharks aren’t nearly as entertaining…

IMG_20141007_114818 octopus at the kyoto aquarium in kyoto, japan

Related Link: Kyoto Aquarium (Official) | Kyoto Aquarium

Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town (2015-08-29) Photo Gallery 18 SEP 2015

A couple of weekends ago, Chantelle and I decided to treat the girls to an outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (a treat because its a pretty expensive family outing thanks to the high priced tickets).

IMG_20150829_140642 entrance at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

For a change, the weather was good and following the girls and my stop at a few markets in the morning, we returned home to scoop up an awaiting Chantelle and hit the N2 to Cape Town!

IMG_20150829_145223 penguin area at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

Little has obviously changed at the Two Oceans Aquarium over the years, so there isn’t really anything new for us as adults to take in (in fact, a couple of the exhibits are actually closed to the public at the moment, making those pricey tickets a tad more painful in the process), but for Jess it proved to be a surefire hit – her being finally old enough (our last visit was two years ago when she was three) to really enjoy the various exhibits.

She would excitedly listen to everything we told her (which mostly we read off the information boards above the displays), and then rattle it off to the nearest person that she could, skipping around from display to display!

(Amazingly, Finding Nemo still holds strong for the kids, as she very firmly proclaimed that her favourite fishes were without a doubt the clown fishes.)

IMG_20150829_141907 jessica and the clown fish at the waterfront two oceans aquarium

As always then, the Aquarium was a solid outing, with both girls seemingly enjoying the experience.

Following our walkabout looking at all the fishes, we opted to tuck into some fishies and stopped for a late lunch at the adjacent Shoreline Cafe. Again, the restaurant experience proved nothing to really write home about, but the girls did particularly enjoy running round in the awesome kids play area.

IMG_20150829_163258 jessica lotter covered in ice cream at the waterfront in cape town

With lunch done and the girls particularly sticky from the ice cream all over their faces, we took a stroll back towards the parking garage to catch The Scratch Patch before it closed, pausing to admire the small navy vessel moored next to the aquarium and chuckle at the big seal taking a break on the very clever seal decks that Waterfront now plays host to.

Luckily, we made the gemstone world with about a half an hour to go before closing time, enough time for the girls to excitedly scratch around and collect a host of colourful and beautiful gemstones that then needless to say, lay scattered across every walking surface in my house for the next couple of weeks! :)

IMG_20150829_170545 jessica lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

IMG_20150829_170607 emily lotter at the scratch patch in the waterfront in cape town

(These little stones are a mission back at one’s own house I tell you!)

Related Link: Two Oceans Aquarium | Scratch Patch

Photo Gallery: Two Oceans Aquarium Visit (2013-06-01 ) Photo Gallery 03 JUN 2013

Thanks to the wet and miserable cold front that hit Cape Town on the weekend, the planned hike up Table Mountain in celebration of Karl’s birthday had to be called off. However, this did give us an opportunity to launch into our backup plan, which was to take little Jessica out for the day to the Two Oceans Aquarium in the Waterfront, and so after driving through in the pouring rain, we met up with Michelle, Damen and little Logan for what would turn out to be a thoroughly enjoyable 3 hour long visit with the fishies.

Jessica is at the perfect age to marvel at all the sights on display, and the addition of an impromptu penguin walk as well as a fishy puppet show, the two little ones appeared to have an absolute blast!

logan and jessica going for a ride at the aquarium

A Brave Fishy Weekend My Life 17 AUG 2012

It was a weekend of ups and downs I suppose one could say – after all, things certainly didn’t run as what we had planned, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable weekend in the end I reckon.

The public holiday followed by the school holiday meant that Jessica was staying over with Oupa and Ouma for Thursday and Friday night. This of course meant that after closing out work with an enjoyable four man game of table tennis between Tristan, Stephen, Simon and myself, I drove out to Somerset Mall to meet up with Chantelle for a date night, kicking off with Spur and then ending with a viewing of Disney/Pixar’s Brave in 3D, and enjoyable tale that capped a nice evening spent in each other’s company.

Having earlier decided to skip doing a market due to the heavy storm weather predicted for the weekend, Chantelle and I could sleep in on Saturday morning for a change, before eventually arising to a delicious and decadent breakfast of French Toast with Bacon prepared by wifey.

We packed for the overnight stay and headed out to Bellville, where we first popped in to Cabs for some baking supplies, followed by a trip to Willowbridge where we had a look for ourselves at how the market was going. Judging on how quiet it seemed, we ended up being pretty happy with our decision to can Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes market appearance for this one!

Our original plan for Saturday had been to either go to World of Birds in Hout Bay or the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront depending on the weather, but these were dashed when we arrived at the Montgomery Stronghold to a rather shaky and sick little Jessica, forcing us to instead spend the afternoon inside keeping warm, venturing out only for a quick (but expensive) trip to M-Kem in Bellville for a doctor’s once over on Jessica.

Western Province versus the Natal Sharks was the rugby game of the evening to take in, which was combined with a delicious supper of fillet done on the coals together with beer chicken prepared on the Weber. Mom and Dad joined us for this one (bring with them delicious pudding), and the result was an enjoyable evening of family and of course rugby and athletics. And one sick toddler lest we forget.

In fact, Jessica was feeling so icky that she simply refused to go to sleep, resulting in me sitting up with her until midnight (everyone had long since gone to sleep), only finally succumbing to exhaustion halfway through an episode of Shaun the Sheep: Championsheeps on DSTV. Managing to successfull transfer her to our bed, it was off to slumber for a brief, but fairly interrupted snooze.

We took our time getting started on Sunday, but pleasingly the weather was far less menacing than what had been predicted, meaning that with Jessica pumped full of meds and thus feeling fairly stable, it was off to the Two Oceans Aquarium plus a walkabout the Waterfront, an expedition which in the end all three of us ended up thoroughly enjoying.

And in case you were wondering, the aquarium turned out to be quite the big hit with young Jessica, despite the fact that her excitement is normally reserved only for those with feathers and wings! :)

Having eventually seen enough of our fishy friends, it was time to eat some for a late lunch at Fisherman’s Friend, before making our way back to the car park and then finally home, where we somehow managed to eventually get Jessica to bed and entertained ourselves with the always silly Leon Schuster in the chuckle-worthy slapstick that is There’s a Zulu On My Stoep.

And that, was that.

Photo Gallery: Two Oceans Aquarium Visit (2012-08-12) Photo Gallery 12 AUG 2012

Chantelle, Jessica and I enjoyed a rare Sunday off as the three of us paid a visit to the always awesome Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront. Pleasingly, Jessica seemed to quite enjoy her first ever outing to this fishy wonderland! :)