VISIT TO THE BLUE PLANET AQUARIUM
28th April 2008
For our Son's Second birthday, we decided to go to the Blue Planet Aquarium at Ellesmere Port.
We started our voyage around the Blue Planet Aquarium in the Freshwater Rivers and streams exhibit, where we saw some Sturgeon, among the oldest living species of fish. We also found Brook Trout, Carp and Bream.
Onto the Tropical Rivers exhibit, designed to represent a branch of the Amazon River. As we gazed upon the life that can be found in and around the river, including the Red-Bellied Piranha (One of only 4 Piranhas out of nearly 80, that are dangerous to humans) we listens to the sounds of what it would be like to be traveling down The Amazon River.
At the Blue Planet Aquarium, they have replicated the typical habitats to be found in one of the worlds largest Lakes, Lake Malawi in Africa. Home to over 1,000 species of fish, 350 of which are unique to the area. These include over 600 different species of Cichlid, 100 of which are in the exhibit at the Aquarium.
To finish of the trip round the first floor, we went to see the Amphibians, the majority being frogs hiding amongst the foliage. Sadly many Amphibians, including the Golden Mantella, are amongst the most endangered creatures in this world. This is largely because of the destruction of their habitat, and infection from fungus.
The Blue Planet Aquarium is very proud of what they are doing to help with the conservation of amphibians, including their extensive and successful breeding programme. They urge you to get involved and help at home, www.amphibianark.org.
From the Amphibians, we took our visit to the lower level to see Where Land Meets Sea. Amongst the wild life that was on display were Archer Fish, Mudskippers and Red-Eared Terrapin. Terrapins are often kept as pets until owners soon find out how ill-tempered and aggressive they can be, which is why ALL the Blue Planets Terrapins have been given to them by former owners.
On leaving the Swaplands, you pass a couple of tanks with the very beautiful but deadly Lion Fish, and Sea Horses. (see image here)
On to the Aquatheater, where we were treated to a show, with the presenter telling you all about the fascinating creatures swimming by its enormous 23cm thick window into the Caribbean Reef Exhibit, where not only is there Golden Trevally, Crevalle Jack and Pork Fish, but there is the largest collection of Sharks In Europe.
After the show had ended and we had seen Divers feeding some of the fish by hand, we carried on to the Underwater Safari Tunnel, the longest in the UK, where we enjoyed what would be the closest we could get to diving in the Deep Sea in Cheshire.
All in all a great day out for the family, we saw all kinds of water life, from all over the planet. Although, it can get quite busy over holidays, weekends, and with school trips.
As photography goes, they are happy to let you take pictures, but do ask that you do not use flashes with some of the fish, as this can stress and even kill some. Due to the low light of shooting indoors, the ISO was pushed right up to 1600 to try and get the Shutter speed fast enough to remove camera shake, but sometimes it nice to see the action of the fish with a little bit of blur.
I have now got myself and nice fast prime lens to combat the low light, and can't wait to get back there to take some more photos.