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December 8, 2002
When you pay the small admission fee, you go to the right and find various marine life that live in fresh water locales all over the world. There are long-nosed gar, gold tetra, piranha, African striped barb, and more. My son and I stood in front of a school of striped bass for several minutes. These medium-sized fish kept opening and closing their mouths as if yelling words at us from behind the glass of their tank. We counted the white spots on the big spot marakely that seemed suspended in the water where he swam in another tank. We marveled at the multi-colored anemones that looked like so many flowers. We matched the pictures posted on the walls with the living creatures in each tank, playing a game of hunt-and-find that kept us both entertained.
Still, I liked looking at the scorpion fish on the left side of the aquarium the best. Scorpion fish are masters of camouflage that have venom in their fins and live around coral reefs. I liked finding each of the fish that really did blend in with its surroundings. The leaf scorpion fish, for instance, looks just like a pale green or white leaf attached to a rock, moving like seaweed. You have to look closely to see eyes that look as metallic and shiny as silver sequins. The stone fish, the most venemous scorpion fish in the world, looked just like rocks at the bottom of their tank. You had to stare at them to see the slightest movement. It would be easy to mistakenly step on one of these creatures in the ocean.
There were several fish I don''t recall having seen in other aquariums including a walking fish that actually had fins and legs!!! Puffer fish, eels, sea turtles...they are all fun to look at, but the entire aquarium won''t take long to see - an hour tops, and that''s if you linger.
Bottom line? I had heard this aquarium was not worth the time. The Dallas World Aquarium is better. Well...it''s true that this aquarium would not be a great destination unto itself. It''s too small. But if you''re in the Fair Park area to explore one of the other attractions (The Science Place, The Museum of Natural History, Hall of State, The Women''s Museum, The African-American Museum, and others), this certainly is worth a look.
From journal A Family Experience in Dallas
July 8, 2001
The Aquarium is part of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department. The Aquarium has a collection of about 6,000 animals, including salt and freshwater fish, reptiles, and more. The animals live in a series of (about 100) viewable tanks ranging in size from 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall, to very large floor to ceiling tanks that are 15 or more feet wide.
The highlight of the Aquarium (currently) is their showcase of species from the Amazon River, including large piranhas. Other notable things in their collection include a tank of upside-down jellyfish, a pair of walking batfish, a very bizarre looking alligator snapping turtle, a five-foot-long electric eel, ugly six-foot-long alligator gars, and lots more.
The Aquarium also has special events and attractions. At 2:30pm every day except Monday, you can watch talks on different topics of aquatic life, and see animal feedings. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday you can watch the feeding of piranhas (they have several large ones).
There is a small viewing area into the Aquarium's research area, where they conduct ongoing conservation and research projects, including a breeding lab for rare and endangered species.
The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park is in Fair Park, and to get to Fair Park from north of downtown, take 75 Central Expressway south, it turns into 45 South, exit 45 south at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and turn left onto it. Take MLK until it ends and you are there.
Their phone number is 214-670-8443, and they are open daily from 9am to 4:30 pm.
From journal Things to see in Dallas