Animals Culture Travel

Aquarium Day – how to turn a wet day into something otherworldly

When life gives you a rainy morning, spend it looking at wet animals.

Henry and Kelly joined us in Kitty Hawk on Monday evening, just in time for two days of cold, spitting rain. Fortunately, Bob had booked tickets to the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke for Tuesday morning.

Cookie, Bob, Henry, and Kelly made the best of a crappy day
Henry and Kelly were good sports, taking the bad beach weather in stride
Bob and Henry outside the aquarium
Bob and Henry have known each other (dare I say) for nearly five decades since rooming together at The American School in Switzerland (TASIS).

Friends make any day more fun, and the aquarium was a dry place to immerse ourselves in marine life. We only got slightly wet walking in from the parking lot.

Not a baby shark

We all took a half step back each time this enormous shark swam our way. I thought his/her wide open eye gave her/him a terrified look, but I doubt that is accurate. Sharks, like many animals, cannot share their feelings via their face because they lack the required musculature. Sometimes I wish my face were not so expressive. Maybe that’s why people pay for botulinum toxin injections.

Hyla cinerea, the American Green Tree Frog

Bob took this photo of a green tree frog, one of the cutest animals on earth.

Holacanthus ciliaris, Queen Angelfish

Bob and I loved swimming with angelfish and the like in the warm waters of the Caribbean. Some mornings, still, I wake up and ask him, “If you could do anything today, what would it be?” He always turns to me and says, “Go snorkeling!”


While I was gaping at an alligator, Bob walked around the corner and got this picture of two beady-eyed caimans.


A pair of seahorses doing whatever it is seahorses do. These are one of Camille’s favorite animals.

Cookie wears a loggerhead sea turtle

At an interactive exhibit, we were encouraged to pick up plastic sea turtles embedded with chips, put them on scanners, and discover their ailments. Camille soon learned that her turtle had a gut impaction, probably caused by plastic which was ironic considering the turtle’s physiology.

Dancing lionfish
Covered in venomous spines

Nothing you would want to touch, but reportedly good to eat, the lionfish swam languid laps around their tank. Also, they have a face only their mothers could love.

Aurelia aurita, moon jelly

The sting of a moon jelly is not as painful as that of other jellyfish.

Mystery jellyfish

We didn’t get the name of these jellyfish with the super long tentacles and that lovely pattern on their cap. If you know what they are, please let us know.

Pacific Sea Nettles (Chrysaora fuscescens)

Pacific sea nettles dance like no one is watching, which of course, we all were because how could you not be mesmerized by their sinuous waltz.

These nettles have four frilly arms and a slew of thin tentacles.

Art in nature

I watched the sea nettles rise and fall, otherworldly, pumping slowly around the tank. I took more photos than I care to admit, and when I looked at the pictures later, I had trouble believing they were real.

We go to museums to see and learn, and to while away grey mornings. How deliciously fun to come away with blown minds and a renewed respect for nature.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Aquarium Day – how to turn a wet day into something otherworldly”

Aquariums are so much fun to visit…glad it didn’t impact your day at all and gave you something to do. That old pic of Bob and Henry was great!

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