Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baltimore Day 1: Part 2 The National Aquarium

After the Dental Museum and other stops we went to the National Aquarium of Baltimore.

This greets everyone as they enter the front door. The wide angle lens I'm using to get the whole picture makes the waterfall look shorter than it actually is.
National Aquarium of Baltimore waterfall

First stop was the 4D Immersion Film which was a section of Planet Earth that we'd already seen on tv but with the 4D element of wind blowing, water squirting, bubbles blowing etc.

There's so much amazing wildlife there that I came out with such a glut of great pictures. It was a huge cut to bring it down to the number of pictures in this post.

Then we went to the sharks and rays pool which war full of a great variety. This is the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Info on one of the giant stingrays in the pool. They were very cool to see!

Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans)

Such a beautiful fish! This is the Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)
Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)

Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) amongst some friends
Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)

Divers in the shark and ray pool feeding the giant sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).
giant sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

This is a series of shots of a sturgeon I took specifically with this wall hanging of three square prints in mind for my boys. Going back to when they met Herman the Sturgeon my boys have thought this was the coolest fish ever, after all it's considered a living fossil since it's hardly changed since the time of the dinosaurs!

Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus) like Nemo's schoolmate Tad on Pixar's Finding Nemo
Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus)

Anemone Metridium Giganteum
Anemone Metridium Giganteum

Red sea anemone with white tentacles and yellow center
Red sea anemone


Puffer fish
Puffer fish

Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)
Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicillum)

Dory! Paracanthurus hepatus has lots of common names: regal tang, blue tang, royal blue tang, pacific regal blue tang, hippo tang, palette surgeonfish, flagtail surgeonfish and blue surgeonfish!
Dory, Paracanthurus hepatus

A little turtle swimming around
little turtle

This was bizarre to walk up to. Two turtles just hanging out. Literally hanging. The trick? They're actually in water but it looks like jungle!
Two turtles hanging

When my boys saw this picture they all said, "Verdi!" The reference is from a wonderful children's book we have about a little green tree python: Verdi by Janell Cannon. In reality this is an Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus) but they look close enough for the boys. Interestingly, both of those snakes don't start life green. The green tree python starts out yellow with black markings and the emerald tree boa starts life red with green spots.
Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus)

This second Emerald Tree Boa was actually sharing the branch with a big aqua colored frog. I guess that frog isn't dinner?
Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus)

This little yellow bird was phenomenally loud! We kept hearing this terrible screeching and it took a bit to spot him but when we did we were both surprised to find that awful noise was coming from such a little bird!
little yellow bird

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)
Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix)
Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix)

I liked his looking back over his shoulder, so I edited up another shot for a fun artsy print.
Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot (Amazona oratrix)

I'm not sure what kind of turtle this is but turtles with barbels under their chin look weird.

So I had to take another shot of his buddy to show them a little better.

Such a compact little turtle!

On to the poison dart frogs!

Green and Black Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)
Green and Black Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)

Yellow-striped Poison Frog (Dendrobates truncatus)
Yellow-striped Poison Frog (Dendrobates truncatus)

Strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio or Dendrobates pumilio) which has 15-30 color variations and the Black-legged Dart Frog (Phyllobates bicolor) which is the second most toxic frog on earth.
Strawberry poison-dart frog (Oophaga pumilio or Dendrobates pumilio)

Blue Poison Frog (formerly Dendrobates azureus) is now considered a color morph of the Dyeing poison frog (Dendrobates tinctorius). The second one I can't identify for sure.
Blue Poison Frog Dendrobates azureus Dendrobates tinctorius

This little lizard was housed next to the poison dart frogs.

Back at another giant aquarium, this diver was feeding the fish by puffing food out of that bottle. Then he just let it float up so he could play.
feeding time

He picked up the gravel a little and let it trickle out of his hand to mimic the food and keep the fish frenzied.
diver in school of fish

Porcupine fish/Spiney puffer fish going after some food.
Spiney puffer fish

Another porcupine fish.
Porcupine fish

On to the big sharks. These cool wall lights take you down the ramp to the giant oblong donut shaped tank that viewers stand in the middle of. It's very dark there and the tank is really dim.
shark lights

This sand tiger shark needed his gnarly teeth flossed! I'll admit it took us quite a few tries to line this shot up plus having to wait for him to circle around the tank and when he circled we needed him to come near the glass for there to be enough light reaching him.
sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)

I waited to get this shark's picture because he looked albino compared to the other sharks.
albino shark

Then we went to get a peak at the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. We didn't get to see the dolphin show because it was closed since a baby dolphin had just been born in addition to a 2 week old baby dolphin. The babies were kept out of the public eye and the dolphins we could see were very quiet.
Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

A megalodon shark jaw... being flossed of course.
megalodon shark jaw

That's a big set of teeth. How glad are we all that this sucker is extinct!
megalodon shark teeth

This large lizard was hanging out on the rock right next to the walkway within touching distance. Not that I tried!
large lizard

And he scampers up the wall a bit. With his tail he must be at least four feet.
large lizard

Australian Freshwater Crocodile. Being right next to this guy, I must say they are really, really creepy.
Australian Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni)

Australian Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni)

Another big lizard but this one was behind glass.
big lizard

And four hours later with a trip to the gift shop where we got the boys sets of underwater whales, dolphins and sharks that are a bendable plastic and great for the bath, we were done with the National Aquarium of Baltimore. Outside on the waterfront this Mallard was hanging out and since he's so rare (haha) I thought I'd let him join the post with all the other amazing animals. (psst, hey, mallard, there's some fuzz on your beak.)

After a lot of walking around the Inner Harbor we had dinner (after a failed attempt at another restaurant - they took forever to come seat us in an almost empty place and then the menu wasn't so appealing so we left... because why settle on vacation!?) at Uno Chicago Grill which was a place we enjoyed while living in Milwaukee, WI so it was nice to go there again.

This post covered the yellow markers on the second half of the red route.

View Baltimore Trip 2011 in a larger map
Map Key
red - pt 1 - Day 1 National Museum Of Dentistry
yellow - pt 2 - Day 1 National Aquarium
blue - pt 3 - Day 2 Architecture, Walter's Art Museum
aqua - pt 4 - Day 2(3) Churches
green - pt 5 - Day 3 The Inner Harbor and War Related Sites
Lines: my day tours, there are no lines for our evening/night outings or my day 3 afternoon shopping.

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