Thursday, September 12, 2013

Under the Sea

Last weekend, we had a chance to visit another tourist attraction in Bangkok: Siam Ocean World, one of the largest aquariums in Southeast Asia. Although it wasn't as big as the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland -- which is the one we usually visited -- it was still pretty spectacular and a lot of fun. And we even got the local rate on the entrance fees by showing our school I.D. cards and paid only half as much as we would have without them!

Of course, like everything else in Thailand, there was a twist to this: The aquarium is located inside one of those fancy-schmancy mega-malls. This mall is actually one of the biggest in Asia! You walk in to stores such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier, etc., and aquarium. Which one is different from the others?

Almost as soon as we walked in, a little Japanese boy, who was probably around my son's age and was with his grandfather, took to our group and stayed with us for almost half of our time there. His grandfather would sit down nearby while the little boy narrated the exhibits and played and ran around with my son and the daughter of our friends, who were with us. He spoke English so fluently that, between speaking to my family, our American friends, and him, I forgot for a while that we weren't in the U.S. anymore. Eventually, the little boy was lured away by ice cream, which apparently was more appealing than the fun and charming company he was with.

There it is, the gargantuan mall with the aquarium!

The front of the mall.
We entered the mall from another entrance, in front of which was a place selling bubble tea and smoothies. We got an apple smoothie (shown in the picture) and a mango smoothie. Both tasted amazing and were very fresh with chunks of fruit in them.

The lobby of the aquarium.

A giant penguin walking around greeting visitors. When our friends' older daughter first saw him, she screamed and ran away. I would too if I were four years old and saw a giant penguin walking towards me.

A huge king crab. Mmm, crab....

Beautiful corals.

Can you tell where the rocks end and the fish starts? The rock fish is front and center in this picture!

An alligator pipefish.

Pretty, delicate sea dragons.

Pineapple fish.

Sea otters.

What are you looking at?

These penguins were standing so still that I thought they were fake.
Swimmin' and chillin'.

Feeding time! Occasionally, the human would throw the food (fish) into the water, and some penguins would swim after it. But others were lazier. They would just stand there waiting for the food to be handed to them.

Stingray gliding gracefully.
So pretty!
Walking through a tunnel inside a tank.
That's not a fish....

For 2000 baht, visitors can do an "ocean walk." Apparently, one of the selling points of this experience is that it can be done without getting your hair wet!
A shark swimming above while we were in the tunnel.

Views around us in the tunnel.

Shark tank.

Time to feed the sharks! No, the person is not the meal....
To drum up some excitement and tension, the "Jaws" theme song played while the people in the tank fed the sharks teeny little fishies on a stick. The audience ate it up.

At the end of it all, there was even a playground area for the kids. I want this little tuk tuk -- all pink with a sweet aquarium in the back. So cute!

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