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A must-do that we heard repeatedly when visiting Monte Carlo was the Musee Oceanographique de Monaco simply because folks told us it has the best aquarium in the world. Since we love fish, we decided to fork over the 13 Euro entrance fee and see for ourselves.
We happened to go during an interesting time at the museumshock artist Damien Hirst had set up his traveling exhibit here, titled Cornucopia. This struck us as absolutely strange. Yes, Hirst is best-known for his morbid shark-in-formaldehydes, but his other paintings and installations (not to mention his butterfly "collection"), didn't seem like a good fit for an old-timey, somewhat fading royal museum, begun way way back by Prince Albert Rainier, the 1st.
Dubai Travel / Dubai / Aquariums / Scuba / → All Tags
Dubai's Burj Khalifa's 124th-floor observation deck may have shut down, but college students have another excuse to travel to the city: a highly sought-after internship at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Oh, to be frat-age again.
To be eligible, students have to be at least 16 years old and the preference will go to those studying marine science, teaching or a tourism-related subject. Students from all over the world are encouraged to apply.
We're sorry, sharks. It turns out we've been misunderstanding you all this time. You don't want to attack us – you just want a big hug.
At least that's the theory the keepers at British aquarium Sea Life are working on at the moment. They believe that sharks can be trained to feed one by one when the keeper tells them, and even to roll over and have their belly tickled. With a Pavlov's-dog-style repetitive training system, they say the smarter sharks will get the idea within three months.
There are quite a few advantages of such a system, not least that the keepers are less likely to be gobbled up by the sharks they're meant to be taking care of. Experts also say that it should improve "shark welfare" and make them happier in captivity.
And it could even make feeding time a whole lot cuter for us aquarium visitors. They plan to try banging a gong as a sign for the sharks to queue up for dinner time. We'd pay a bit extra to bang the gong ourselves.
Animals / Aquariums / Sharks / Adventure Travel / Swimming / Scuba / Snorkeling / → All Tags
We're going to try to be more thoughtful the next time we eat sushi and just stick with the faux crabmeat after indulging in peaceful day at the Georgia Aquarium. This the only place in the world where you can swim in a giant fish tank with a couple of 23-foot long whale sharks.
The Atlanta fish farm hosts "Swim with Gentle Giants," swimming and diving tours in their football field-sized, eight-million gallon Ocean Voyager tank. To say the underwater experience is thrilling is an understatement.
These fish (which include massive manta rays and sting rays, guitarfish, zebra sharks, cownose rays and wobbegong sharks) are as friendly as puppies and kitties. They like to swim up really close and skim along your body before darting off into the faux deep blue.
Prepare to welcome your new octopus overlords. Workers at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium are mopping up after a curious female California two-spotted octopus loosened a valve in its tank on Thursday, releasing at least 200 gallons (757 liters) of seawater onto the brand new floor. National Geographic reports that such behavior is typical among octopuses, due to their unique combination of strength, dexterity, curiosity, and intelligence. In other words, be very afraid.
On August 11, the newest theme park in the Legoland empire is set to throw open its doors in Carlsbad, California. The Sea Life Aquarium promises even more masterpieces of Lego engineering. The 36,000 square-foot aquarium will offer fun in the form of play zones, marine exhibits and, of course, Lego sculptures.
Royalty abounds at the park, as it will feature its own seahorse kingdom in addition to a 360-degree ring of stingrays. The headlining attraction will certainly be the 175,000-gallon ocean display that recreates the Lost City of Atlantis with a 10-foot statue of Poseidon, a seven-foot Lego submarine and 72 more models that share their home with live fish and sharks.
The new park does require a separate admission from the original Legoland across the way; this one is $19. It's certainly a welcome addition to the Southern California amusement park lineup--even though it offers a tribute to plastic pieces instead of plastic ears.
Aquariums / Animals / Zoos / → All Tags
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta declares itself the biggest in the world, but its newest attraction is actually quite small: A rare and threatened sea dragon is pregnant and scheduled to give birth in mid-July.
Marine maniacs know it's the male sea dragons and sea horses that carry the young (take that, Pregnant Man!) and in the case of the weedy sea dragon, the aquarium had trouble getting their seven specimens to mate at all.
Now that one is confirmed pregnant, it shouldn't be too long before baby dragons populate the aquarium's tanks--a triumph for an institution still getting over the loss of a beloved beluga whale earlier this year.
"Meet the Browns" is a city-country story of Brenda, a single mom living in inner-city Chicago, who discovers her father--a man she's never met--has passed away. She travels with her kids to his hometown, Atlanta, where she "Meets the Browns": The fun-loving, cozy Southern fam she never knew she had.
Angela Bassett plays Brenda and the film was written, directed and stars Tyler Perry. (Translation: If you're not a Perry fan, skip this one). We hear it's full of crazy characters and pranks.
One of the brightest spots in this film? Atlanta. Check out what to do on your next visit:
Where To Stay: Ellis Hotel Check into one of the city's hippest spots at The Ellis. This renovated boutique hotel is in a restored 1913 historic landmark. The mood's fun and lively and they've got tons of extras like neckties for forgetful male guests and a female-only floor with a secure entry for women traveling alone. Eat before you head home from the bars though, as they only offer room service breakfast.
Where To Hang Out: The Earl An Atlanta institution, The Earl is a great first stop on a night out. The bar's fun and there's guaranteed live music every night of the week. Bring your appetite and dig into specialties like jerk tuna or PBR battered gator fingers.
Where To Spend the Day: The Georgia Aquarium Splurge on the $23 admission and visit the world's largest aquarium, featuring 8 million gallons of water filled with everything from whale sharks to belugas. Known for its innovation, the aquarium's even growing its own massive coral reef.
Sharks / Aquariums / Zoos / Travel Deals / Australia Travel / → All Tags
We feel like Sydney's tourist attractions have been getting more and more expensive in recent years, so we're quite pleased to see a decent discount deal coming out for the Sydney Wildlife World and the Sydney Aquarium. They've just joined forces to create a "Discovery Pass" which gives you a discount of around 20 percent if you head to both of them, as long as your visits are within three months of one another.
After considering shark sightings at the Aquarium, we're keen to get back there soon; the koalas at Sydney Wildlife World have such a massive cute factor they're pretty much irresistible.
The new deal means an adult pass for both places is now A$46.50 ($43), more than a $10 discount. That more than makes up for the unfavorable exchange rate for those traveling on US dollars. Come on, those Sydney sharks are waiting to smile at you.
We're not recommending that you get really close to a shark, but a new ride at the Sydney Aquarium seems like a good way to try it without feeling too threatened. The Shark Explorer is a glass-bottomed boat which takes you on a journey over the surface of the Aquarium's Great Barrier Reef exhibition, with a perfect view of all the marine life below.
The ride costs an extra A$10 on your entrance cost, and only lasts ten minutes, but it's a lot cheaper than heading up to the Great Barrier Reef yourself. And with ten or so sharks swimming around underneath you, this is a good place to get close up to sharks that are around the same size as your boat. Just don't be tempted to jump in with them: They're probably not as friendly as other Australians.
There are actually a few reasons why you should visit the Osaka Aquarium next time you're traveling through the land of sushi. As the maker of this video freely admits, it is a bit of a "cheesy, tourist trap kinda place", but that ain't always bad, is it?
The biggest reason you should mingle with the masses is simply the cute factor. Look at these otters! Look at these penguins! Don't you just wanna scratch them under their chins? They are undeniably cute and they undeniably want you to come visit them.
· Tourist Traps [Jaunted]
· The Sunfish Diet: Osaka Aquarium [Jaunted]
· Hotels in Osaka [HotelChatter]
Sharks have feelings too, you know, and sharks across Germany are having trouble getting their act together to produce new baby sharks. Whether it's performance anxiety or a feminist protest (during mating male sharks often bite the females), sharks in the eight Sea Life Centre aquariums in Germany are not reproducing well.
So in an effort to produce future generations of sharks for future tourists to see, Sea Life staff have started piping romantic music into their aquariums. Nobody seems to know if the plan will work, but figure music can't hurt and visitors enjoy requesting Barry White.
· Aquarium coverage [Jaunted]
· Germany Hotels [HotelChatter]
[Photo Credit: teliko82]