Albuquerque Aquarium

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Albuquerque Biological Park — Albuquerque Aquarium

  As you open the doors of the Albuquerque Aquarium by pulling on the fish shaped handles, you are welcomed into a cool, soothing world of aquatic life which pulses only inches away. A variety of exhibits allow you to take a fascinating journey through the marine habitats of the Gulf of Mexico, from salt marshes to eelgrass meadows to the surf zone, coral reef, and finally, the open ocean. Other major points of interest include the eel cave, the 285,000 gallon shark tank, and the seahorses and seadragons exhibit.
  Sea creatures of all kinds inhabit numerous pools and tanks. There are moray eels, spiny lobsters, shimmering schooling fish, beaky parrotfish, fluttering butterflyfish, and, naturally, plenty of toothy sharks. A darkened hallway with replicas of different sea life on the walls is a great way to learn the names of the different creatures which inhabit our rivers, gulfs and oceans. Several gift shops and the Shark Reef Cafe round out a visit to the Aquarium.

Obvious exits:
Parking Lot <PL>  

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The main viewing tank:
This circular tank provides a 360 degree view of numerous colorful fish, crabs, lobsters, rays, and even an octopus. This is a fantastic display, with everything from blue tangs, to massive schools of huge yellow and silver fish, to spiny lobsters. The majesty and mystery of the deep is never so obvious as when one is confronted with the rich variety of underwater life. A pictorial guide to the fish species in this tank, handed out by volunteers, provides a handy, convenient way to identify the various species of fish and other life forms.

The tide pool exhibit:
The tide pool exhibit is a wonderful "hands-on" area where visitors of all ages can get up close and personal with various sea creatures. Volunteers are always available to explain the exhibits and answer questions, as well as make sure no one gets carried away - literally! Visitors can pick up a crab, feel a shell, touch a starfish, pet a bat ray, or just enjoy the beauty and stillness of this little pool.

The Eel cave:
The eel cave is actually a large tunnel that visitors can walk through. The tank covers both walls and continues overhead, the entire structure full of various eels. Scary looking moray eels poke their heads out of holes in the rocks, appearing and disappearing with a quiet grace. Electric eels provide flashes of light in the darkness of the cave, while delicate glass eels flicker past. A large display discusses the problems of commercial over-fishing of eels.

The Seahorses and Seadragons exhibit:
This exhibit showcases the delicate and astounding seahorses and their cousins from the coast of Australia, seadragons. Seahorses often moor themselves in the water by curling their prehensile tails around seagrasses and coral branches. Seadragons are similar to sea horses, but have leaf-like appendages on their head and body and a tail that cannot be coiled up, making them look very much like seaweed come to life. A large display explains the life cycle of both types of creatures (it is actually the male of the species which gets

pregnant and gives birth) and a short film makes the viewer aware of the dangers these wondrous animals face from over-fishing, pollution, and unscrupulous collectors.

The Jellyfish exhibit:
A cylindrical tank contains hundreds of hauntingly beautiful, luminous jellyfish. It's quite hypnotic to stand by the tank and watch them float up and down, around and around. The exhibit includes two different categories of jellyfish adding up to about a dozen species. Informative cards on the walls point out the distinctive characteristics of each species, but in order to fully understand the exhibit it is helpful to watch the 10-minute film which showcases the behavior of these fascinating creatures.

The Shark tank:
A 285,000 gallon tankful of sharks patrol their saltwater domain as undisputed monarchs. This room is equipped with carpeted bleacher-like seats to accomodate the people who like to sit and watch these magnificent creatures swimming around in their large tank. There are several types of shark — nurse sharks, sandtigers, bonnetheads and browns — as well as barracudas and other large fish. The view to the tank is floor to ceiling, wall to wall, and it's possible to literally come "face to face" with a shark.

The Rio Grande Gift Shop:
Full of reasonably priced merchandise, the gift shop is a nice place to end your visit to the Aquarium. There are some great t-shirts, puppets, stuffed fish and sea animals, as well as toys and games that are all sea-related. For those on a budget, buttons, pencils, and fridge magnets all make for a low-cost souvenir. There are also books for all reading levels, from fun children's pop-up books to college-level tomes on the history and ecology of the Rio Grande.

The Shark Reef Cafe:
A full service restaurant open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Shark Reef Cafe offers a variety of snacks as well as sit-down meals. The menu includes seafood dinner specials along with kiddie fare such as hot dogs and burgers. The Cafe is decorated with colorful seascape paintings throughout the spacious room. Chairs and tables continue the sealife theme, their legs adorned with molded starfish. In short, the Cafe offers up a great way to take a break during a tour of the Aquarium.

Shrimping boat:
A real shrimping boat rests just outside at rear of the building. Children of all ages can climb on the boat and learn about a fisherman's life. A pond nearby is the nesting place of a family of pelicans.