Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sleeping with Sharks

Part 2 of our Girl Scout Trip to Corpus Christi

After the museum, we headed to a local diner called, cleverly enough, City Diner. It used to be called Elmo's City Diner. I'm not sure who this Elmo is, but I suspect he isn't a red furry puppet with a big round nose. There are pictures all over the walls of local heroes of yesteryear. One of the moms in our group told us that her parents' pictures were on the walls there. Her sister-in-law was also on the trip, and both had daughters with them, so all these girls got to take their friends to a restaurant with pictures of their grandparents. I suspect the girls were far more concerned with visiting with their friends, but some of us moms enjoyed the historical tour!

Next stop was the Texas State Aquarium: We unloaded all our "gear" and headed out on what felt like a 2 mile hike to the front door. I'm sure it was less than 1/8 of a mile, but we were tired. After hearing all the rules & regulations of sleeping in the aquarium, we started on our personal tour. Our first stop was to see the Sea Turtles. The girls learned about endangered animals and ways to keep them from becoming extinct. The tank the turtles are in has clear sides almost all the way around, so we got to see some really cool views of these guys. He posed for this shot!

We then saw the alligator and learned a bit about different levels of endangerment. We also learned how to remember which is an alligator & which is a crocodile. Using "See you later alligator," you take a step with your foot flat on the ground as if you are leaving. Your foot is broad across. The alligator has a broad snout. For "after a while crocodile," we turned our foot on edge, so the skinny part was up. It's hard to walk like that, so you get there "after a while." The croc's snout is skinny. I didn't get any pics of the alligator.

We looked out & saw some wild brown pelicans and the girls learned a bit about those. We learned that juvenile pelicans aren't terribly bright & when they are learning to fly, many die in the process. That was interesting to hear. We also learned that certain chemicals that used to be used in pesticides were highly harmful to some of these animals.

The sun was setting as we went back upstairs to the lobby area. We split into 2 groups into the display areas where we saw a huge variety of sea life. In one area we passed some birds in an estuary setting. Estuary was my new vocabulary word for the weekendand went! It's an area where the water is stagnant or stationary. Then we went into an area where the girls learned about sea urchins, whelks, and other such critters. They actually got to hold some! This is Natalie holding a hermit crab in a shell.

The other exhibits we walked through had jellyfish is more shapes, sizes and colors than I had ever seen. There was also a tropical rain forest exhibit. I'm not exactly sure why they had that in an aquarium, but it was interesting nonetheless. Then we reached it. The big tank. The one with the BIG fish. The one with the SHARK. I don't know if I've blogged that I am not exactly crazy about sharks. Natalie is terrified of sharks. I also have a fear of aquariums bursting open and flooding the room I'm in, not to mention those animals being on the loose. I know that people were praying for me and God gave me such peace that I was not afraid at all. It was dark, it was a huge tank, there was a really big shark, and I was not afraid. Funny, sitting here writing about it, I have that same feeling of not wanting to be there that I had before the trip, but I didn't have that feeling while there.

We gathered the girls all together at 8:45 for pizza. Then we got into pj's and started getting beds ready. We all took an air mattress of some sort, so we spent quite some time inflating air mattresses, then having girls line them up in front of the big tank. They asked the moms to be "book ends" on either end of where the girls were. I had to plug in my cpap where I found an outlet, so instead of being on the END, AWAY from the shark tank, I was right there by it, but against the back wall. I just took off my glasses & put on my cpap then tried to fall asleep. Even with the cpap on I could hear girls giggling and pipes in the tank rattling. When the lights went out it was VERY dark. At some point I guess everyone eventually fell asleep.

Sunday's activities in another post!

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