on May 17, 2006
For the three hours between the end of my orientation and my flight out of Sydney, I really wanted to go up CentrePoint tower and get a look at the city from above, so I could compare it to what I saw from the Harbour Bridge. However, the weather didn’t agree with those plans—the day was drizzly with incredibly low-hanging clouds—but luckily, the free voucher I received from orientation could be used at the Sydney Aquarium as well, so to the Aquarium I went.The Aquarium was surprisingly packed for a Monday morning, although I guess it was understandable since the majority of the children looked well below school age. The line to buy a ticket stretched nearly to the door, but I luckily got to bypass this, already having a voucher. All I had to do was walk up and get my hand stamped, indicating that I could come in and out for the rest of the day, and walk on in.Some of the Aquarium was pretty typical—animals that you would see at most aquariums, like seals and catfish. However, there were plenty of Australian wildlife to see, including the platypus (platypi?) tank. There were a couple platypuses swimming frenetically around the tank, never staying more than a second anywhere. They really are bizarre creatures. I stood a while and watched; I was really happy to see it since it was the only Australian animal I had missed on my previous trips out.There were plenty of interesting, less heard of Australian animals, like the Australian long-necked turtle and the Port Jackson shark, in the many aquariums following the platypuses. I also saw a lot of fluorescent coral and some jellyfish that glowed a really bright red. There was a whole section on the Great Barrier Reef at the end with more coral and reef wildlife, including plenty of Dorys and a couple (although not many) Nemos to keep the children screaming.My favorite part of the Aquarium was the Oceanarium, where you literally walk through a huge tank full of ocean wildlife. You are surrounded on all sides, except the bottom, by the tank, which makes it pretty interesting when a 3m long shark is swimming above you! Definitely makes you happy that there is a large sheet of glass between you and those giant teeth. I spent a lot of time here, sitting on the railing and watching the different animals swim over and around me. Besides sharks, there were enormous string rays and sea turtles (just waiting to give you a high-5 and say “You have serious thrill issues, dude!). There was a smaller Reef Oceanarium later on, where you could see water below your feet as well, but wasn’t nearly up to the level of the original Oceanarium.Overall, I thought this was a good way to pass the time, although I’m not sure if I would have paid the $27 to visit if I hadn’t had the voucher.
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