Monday, April 18, 2011

Shedd Aquarium

Out of chronological sequence, this post is hastily made to humour my little Julsie, sick at home
and in need of some distraction.  As is her mama.
Love you sweet pea(s)!  
A small disclaimer however...
Some pic's will definitely cater to intrigue but may likewise cause skin crawlage.  
Viewer discretion is advised.
 We were at the Shedd Aquarium with approximately one million others on a Saturday - the first day of Chicago's 'Spring Break'.  *sigh*  It was difficult moving about in the place, as vast as it was but here's the pictures I did manage to snag from a distance away.  Elementary students and kids in strollers rule on days like this and it matters not that you're visiting from far away and have a one time chance to take it in (whine, whine).   Conversely, an excellent zoom lens does a lot for delayed gratification.
These are frogs.
Yes, real live ones, though the one below looks like it's chiseled out of resin doesn't it?  You will get the scoop on every creature where I was able to get close enough to an info plaque and capture a picture.... otherwise, you will simply have to make do with an amazing Amazon visual!

One of these innocent little frogs could emit a venomous poison 200 X more potent than morphine.  Considering my recent experience with morphine in my mother's palliative care, that particular fact is phenomenal to me.
 An Anaconda kind of nightmare.... I researched this on the net to give you some info and actually had to stop looking up sites and video coverage for fear of giving up my lunch.  Enough said.  I can't believe I stood so close to this thing - glass cage not-with-standing.  This specimen was about 20 feet long and the thickest part of its belly at least 20 inches round.
I had to think about the serpent being cursed in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden.
Now, the whole thing makes me shudder for more than one reason....

Distortion alert! 
Flash photography is forbidden of course and because I had to use my zoom to get close enough to the display cases - you will see a lot of reflection in the glass.  

  Massive exfoliation and all without Norwex product and scrub mitt!  :)
I'd love to know what this shed skin might be used for but as noted - I'm feeling too weak of constitution to go there just yet...

Seriously.  This slithering monster actually instigates nausea for me.
Y'know?  On second thought - maybe this part of the aquarium visit (the Amazon Rising bit) is not so conducive to my aim of cheering up the convalescent?  
Gramma's tend to follow rules of their own making but yeah - it is what it is.  
And I did warn you!
This not so little fella stayed burrowed deep in it's lair - highly reminiscent of the scene in Lord of the Ring II where Frodo gets 'embalmed' by the giant spider.  Ugh.  I actually retraced my steps, went back to it and used my flash to expose him.  The unbelievable power of morbid curiosity....


Okay, so maybe not big enough to swallow Jonah - but definitely really big!  The gal with the big hair wouldn't move.  Besides, it's beautiful 'picture-worthy' big hair don't you think?

 Measured in feet people - not inches eh?  Let's not be daft.

 And now, a kinder calmer sort of tour....
 I found Nemo here!

 A seahorse - I am so utterly fascinated with this creature... I had to look up some Wikipedia facts for both of us. But what should surface immediately before my unsuspecting eyes? -- a picture of seahorse soup!  - such violence in the name of delicacy cuisine.  I refuse to research any more information.  Ignorance is bliss.  This shall be my motto for the remainder of this blog post.

Brain coral.  Coral is a living creature of the sea, but you probably knew that already.
Further enlightenment is now off limits to me.
Long ago, when we were much younger and more adventurous/foolhardy/risk-taking etc... Barry and I took a 2 day scuba diving course in a resort pool and then went on two dives at a forty foot depth by a coral reef in the Grand Cayman Islands.
It was a defining moment for us.  Such a world of Wonder.  We surfaced an hour later with eyes wider than saucers at the astounding magnificence & incredible natural beauty of the undersea world.  Colours and creatures never before seen with our own eyes and so much richer than our imaginations could ever conjure!
The Creator was worshipped in this heart of mine like never before....
Jellies!  Spineless creatures and easier to view :)

Attention:  Trivial pursuit fans!
....the answer is D. a smack
Weird and weirder english names for groups:
A parliament of owls
A murder of crows
A scourge of mosquitoes
A walk of snails (uhm...shouldn't that be an 'inch' of snail?)
A crash of rhino's (now THAT I get totally!:)
A knot of frogs?
A bed of urchins
the English are so crazy
A Hawk training show with hawks that simply would not perform!  The birds of prey looked much more magnificent perched on their trainers arms than this image allows.

 The four big lumbering beluga's were on task however....

And the four dolphins were simply too quick for my camera.  I could show you a lot of splash Jules, but you could do the same in the bathtub - not that I am recommending such a thing right now of course.
So there you go little grandpeep of mine. 
I hope you feel better soon, leave me a comment if you can!
Enjoy a virtual cookie too.
These were sold in the Aquarium Cafe.  Too cute, I needed a picture to remember them.
We spilled into the Cafe after our 4D Imax show Happy Feet, about - ?  - you guessed it, penguins doing hip hop.  4D meant special effects like arctic air literally blowing around your legs in the theatre during one stormy segment of the show and feeling prodded in the back of your seat simultaneous to Happy Foot being grabbed by a hook.  Oh.  And thousands of bubbles floating thru the air of the theatre during a happy climatic moment in the film.
It was very cool.