Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oceanographic Valencia

I am teaching Oceanography again this semester, so part of my job requires that we visit every aquarium possible, right?!  (I wish that were so so I could be reimbursed!)  I have loved being able to visit the different oceanariums and provide extra points of interest and facts for my students.  The Oceanarium in Valencia is very close to our apartment so we have been eyeing it since our arrival.  With a surface area of 110,000 square meters and 42 million liters of water, it is the largest aquarium in Europe so it is hard to miss.  The Oceanographic has more than 45,000 examples of 500 different marine species - amongst which can be found sharks, Beluga whales, walruses, sea lions, penguins and manta rays - inhabit nine underwater towers that, structured in two levels.  Here is a map that shows you how expansive it is:

We are watching the sea lions being fed.
A Dolphinarium showcased 8 dolphins doing various tricks.  When asked for participation from the crowd, Amelie and Liam were begging for the chance to be picked.  However, speaking Spanish was essential.  They were able to watch other 3 and 4 years old touch the dolphins right in front of us.  
The shark tank was a lot of fun.  We spent a lot of time watching the sharks swimming all around us (including overhead). 
They had a couple of Sunfish in the Shark tank.  This is turning into one of the most fascinating fish to me. 
Bobby does such a great job of explaining and talking to Amelie about what we are seeing.  Here he is teaching her about trash and how it ends up in the ocean. 
Amelie and Bobby enjoyed playing "I Spy" where they looked at the descriptions of the fish in front of the tank and then found the fish inside the tank.  She had a lot of fun playing this.
Can you tell what this fish is called?  If you guessed pinecone fish, then you guessed right.  I always marvel at God's creativity when observing so many different species of organisms. 
A tunnel led us from America all the way to Africa.  It was very neat seeing the different species in the different tanks along the way.

Learning more about symbiotic relationships watching this crab and anemone.
Liam fell asleep for a good 2 hours.  

After spending all day at the Oceanarium, Bobby remembered the Valencian soccer team was playing that evening.  We rushed to the ticketing office located in a nearby mall to find out they had closed just 20 minutes prior.  Luckily, he found out that buying two jerseys would include two free tickets.  So, for about the same price as the tickets he was able to also buy Amelie and himself a shirt to wear to the game.  We rushed home so they could change and pick up the bikes.  

Amelie had a fun date with her dad.  The seats were located in a prime part of the stadium and the crowd was raucous for the match versus Swansea City from the British Premier League.  Plans to eat dinner in the stadium were squandered once they realized that only snack food was offered from vendors and food stands.  However, what four year old wouldn't enjoy a dinner of popcorn and Fanta? The singing and chanting continued without stop during the entire match.  Being in espanol, participation by Bobby and Amelie was limited to clapping and loud whistling.  Although Valencia lost 0-3, they still had a great time at their first European soccer match.  The popcorn dinner was followed up by dessert at an artisan gelato shop on the way home (which might have been the highlight of the match for Amelie).  

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