Sea Change at the Texas State Aquarium
Photo courtesy: Texas State Aquarium
You’ve heard that song that goes: “Darling it's better, down where it’s wetter under the sea…” right? Well, Corpus Christi’s Texas State Aquarium concurs and invites you to find out firsthand.
From those first steps in, as you pass the whale-tale fountain, cross the brick pavers designed to look like stingrays then land on lobby’s glittery terrazzo waves, shaped to mimic that sparkling bay right outside, you know you are in for a sea-riffic day.
This multi-media marine-life experience has all the modern bells and whistles to deliver the details, but they also impart the smarts the old-fashioned way: up-close and personal, hands on and directly from experts.
Let’s meet some of the Texas State Aquarium team members:
let’s dish about fish
Senior Aquarist, Brittney loves helping the animals in the fish and herp department. Herp, of course, stands for herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians. "A lot of animals come here due to injuries suffered out in the wild. We keep them until they recover, then release them back into their homes,” Brittney said.
Much of her work is behind the scenes, but as with most of the aquarium staff, she shares knowledge with visitors. "Sometimes, animal injuries are due to human error. It's important to inform people about what they can do to help protect our friends.”
denizens of the coral reef
Nearby, a young man is tending to a tank of coral and begins explaining the different varieties. Rafael, whose title is Aquarist 2, really lights up when he gets to share what he knows about these lovely creatures. Many come from the area, and that thrills the marine biologist: "We specialize in Gulf of Mexico species which can be found in our waters."
a dolphin’s best friend
Marine Mammal Trainer Samantha landed her dream job in at the aquarium.
"We are encouraged to build individual relationships with all our animals – they all have very different personalities! We hope to inspire our guests to care about the animals and our ocean environment as much as we do.”
On weekends and holidays, the aquarium offers special Backstage Tours. Even when they are off-duty, these capable caretakers love living in Corpus Christi and hanging out with fur-, finned- and feathered friends.
Brittney snorkels along the jetties, Raf is an avid bird-watcher, happy to reside in “America’s birdiest city!” and Samantha and her hubby feel lucky to have so many parks to take their puppy. "Bring your fur babies,” she said. “It’s very pet-friendly here!"
for the love of sea creatures
Did you know that visiting the Texas State Aquarium has a direct impact on saving the planet? The aquarium participates in the Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. Environmental awareness and conservation are key. Here, you’ll be entertained while soaking in exciting, fin-tastic facts, like:
- How alligators use extra eyelids
- Why roseate spoonbills are pink
- What a shark’s skin feels like
new for summer 2016
This summer, the new exhibit Tentacles opens, where guests may interact with jellyfish, octopi, and crazy, shape-shifting cuttlefish. Careful! That's cuttle-, not cuddle fish. You don't want to cuddle with these masters of disguise!
Visitors also will notice something else new on North Beach: Texas State Aquarium is constructing a brand new wing to double its existing size. New features will include 400,000 gallons of Caribbean shark habitat and a brand new 100-seat 4-D theater, all set to open in 2017.
Brittney, Rafael and Samantha are waiting for you at the Texas State Aquarium, so start planning your trip to Corpus Christi!
(all photos Visit Corpus Christi unless noted otherwise)