Tennessee Vacation, Part 2

Last Monday we went to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. A friend of mine had given us a little tip to ask for the homeschool discount. We just went to the place where you pay, said we were homeschoolers, showed Ani and Cameron’s Calvert School IDs (they barely looked at them), and we got in for half of what it normally would have cost for our family to go there! $7 each for me, Jamie, and the big kids and $5 each for the little boys. It was an excellent aquarium. We all enjoyed it very much.

We went through a tube under where lots of fish, a turtle, some huge sawfish, and a few sharks swim around. The floor had a conveyor belt built right in so we just stood there and it took us through the tube.

Adrian showed us how fish move by “flapping.”

The kids got to touch horseshoe crabs (only the big kids wanted to do that).

There were some tanks that had places where you could get inside. That was really neat.

I even got in one. I loved seeing how tiny the Nemos were compared to the Dorys.

The jellyfish were beautiful. Ani had just learned about cephalopods and got to see lots of them in one part of the aquarium.

The kids all watched the stingrays for quite a while.

The penguin exhibit was fun. Before we went to it, we went to a short question and answer thing about penguins. In the middle of the presentation, Fritz told me he had a question so I had him tell it to me. He wanted to know how the penguins stay up and walk on the ice. I thought that was a very good question. The person doing the presentation wasn’t totally sure, but she said they have spike-like things on their feet and that helps with keeping warm and she would assume they have something to do with helping them stay upright as well.

We watched the penguins swim around for a long time. The exhibit had a spot where you could sit under where the penguins go. One startled us by swimming right over us very quickly. Adrian jumped and hit his head on the plexiglass. He insisted the penguin had hit him.

There was a place where you could try to touch the stingrays. They stayed pretty well away from the edges where the people were. Ian was determined to touch one. He did, but got a little wet in the process.

You can look down toward where the tube is. That’s a sawfish sitting on the bottom and two sharks swimming near the top of the water.

That’s definitely a place we’d go back to again! The homeschool discount made it 100% worth it.

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