^^Frankly, most zoos seem to be copies of each other, these days. They all have trains, gardens, children's play areas, etc. The Jacksonville Zoo is nice, and all, but not terribly interesting, in an Oddventure sort of way. I'm bored to death, every time we get dragged there for field trips.
We've been to the Tampa Lowry Zoo twice now, and quite liked it. I just haven't gotten around to doing an update yet. How it survives right down the road from Busch Gardens Tampa, I'll never know. But I'm glad it has. I agree, though, that most zoos feel quite similar to one another.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa has quite a few interesting and unique aspects to it. And yet, it seems to lack a true signature attraction (like the Georgia Aquarium's Whale Sharks, or the world's longest shark tunnel at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies). Still, it's an aquarium, and a big one, and we like aquariums.
Yes, I am the entrance.
Okay, not really. THIS is the entrance.
(I would have been just as good, though. *kick*)
It costs money to get in.
(Unless you're a fish. Then they pay you.)
Most of the good stuff is on the second floor. Or, at least, most of it starts there, but then you end up back on the first floor somehow. I suspect witchcraft.
The stingrays seem confused by their oddly-shaped pool. "Crap, this is a dead end too!"
This aquarium seems suspiciously noncommittal on the issue of whether or not magic exists. (Witch.)
The first big exhibit area is dedicated to Florida. Which I can only assume helps to keep costs down.
Turtles will poop on your head!!!
So, there are supposed be otters in here somewhere, but I didn't see any.
If you use your imagination, you don't even have to be here!
"I've never seen any fudging otters, and I live here!"
"Dude, you're not Aquaman. We can't help you."
I don't really have to write a caption here, do I?
Upside down jellyfish. No, really. It's a thing.
Up these innocent-looking stairs lurks awesomeness.
Yes, the aquarium has an exhibit about aquariums.
I'm pretty sure we're just at the pet store now.
Okay, this is nice.
"Are you stressed out? Watch fish for a while."
"Are you relaxed yet? We have other stuff to do, you know?"
The worst thing about this photo is that it was taken by my mom.
So, as if that wasn't weird enough, the next exhibit (Coral Farm) is on the roof.
And when I say, "On the roof...."
So, basically, it's what Disney tried to do with the train ride at Animal Kingdom: Turn a backstage area, that they had to have anyway, into an attraction.
Heading back down into the wetlands.
"Now, which fish did you want again, sir?"
I'd like to take this opportunity to point out some different types of fish. Here's one.
These are sharks, mostly.
This is part of the "Bays & Beaches Gallery."
This is a batfish. You can tell because he talks in a really deep voice.
Boring fish, that way. Interesting fish, to the right.
Her job is to read to the fish.
More rays. An interesting room, though.
Pay money to help decorate. We call it, "Project: Tom Sawyer."
They've confused me by giving this area two ridiculous names (The No Bone Zone and SCUM. Tank), leaving me unable to effectively make fun of either one.
I like this guy. I know he's just a drawing, but I think we could be friends.
The problem with touching things in the water is that very few of them actually live in WARM water.
"Now, Harry, their backs are turned. Swim for freedom!"
Next up: the Coral Reefs Gallery.
The Florida Aquarium doesn't actually have any underwater tunnels (unfortunately), but this kind of looks like one.
Misty got a pretty good shot of the sea turtle.
(There, I'm crediting you. Happy?)
This photo is here because of two words. And if I ever start a band, that'll be the name of it.
Either that sign is grammatically incorrect, or just really high concept.
This exhibit is all about seahorses and sea dragons.
Australian fish are dicks.
Coolest fish ever, the Leafy Sea Dragon.
Across from "Dragons Down Under" is the Florida Aquarium's biggest single tank.
This fish thinks he's better than you. Just look at him. Punk.
With the power within this acrylic block, I could reshape the universe.
So this area is interesting. It's still just normal aquarium stuff, but presented in what is clearly intended to be a more kid-oriented way.
Jellyfish aren't really green and purple and blue, no matter what aquariums would have you believe.
"Spider crab, spider crab, does whatever a spider crab does! Spider crab, spider crab, I am never going to Japan!"
Fish like pickles.
So, this show area thing is supposed to be a submarine...or something.
You'll have to ask Misty about the show. I was so annoyed by it after about 30 seconds that I ran away.
I know that the show involved this somehow.
"Oh my gosh, humans! Swim away!"
Plankton in Space. Which doesn't really seem to have anything to do with anything. But hey, plankton.
A starfish and, like, another thing standing on a big sea dildo or something. I don't know. I just like to look. I try not to learn things.
This fish is so tough he wears pink.
Parents, make sure to exclaim wildly to your child, over and over again, "It's Nemo! Look, it's Nemo!"
As close as I am going to get to the octopus. Because I feel about octopuses the way Tyler feels about mayo. How Elissa feels about Pepsi. How Dave feels about things that aren't head-banging sharks with tasers. How Robb feels about LAX. (Okay, to be fair, everyone feels that way about LAX.)
At the end of this area, you get to vote for your favorite fish. It's not a popularity contest, guys! They're all special in their own way! (Except for the octopus, who is evil.)
Deposited back on the first floor, we find the aquarium's main eatery, and the entrance (er...exit?) to the outdoor play area.
Cafe Ray isn't bad. Maybe just smidge above what you'd expect.
Though I'm showing you Misty's pizza, mom and I both had the Cuban sandwich.
The outdoor seating area looked surprisingly nice.
There's also a bar, so you can numb the pain of your crappy decision to have children while they shriek and play over there somewhere.
You know, if I ever got my hand bitten off, I'd tell people that I lost it in a lightsaber duel. If they then asked me where my lightsaber was, I'd say, "I lost it. With my hand."
I'm not sure what I'm doing here. Whipping the fish to go faster, maybe?
There's also an upcharge boat tour that goes out into Tampa Bay to look for wild dolphins, but we passed on it.
In case you can't quite read that sign, allow me: "Moral eel is supple and thin, with slimy mucus on its skin, It can slip in anywhere... Beware!"
And now just one area remains: the gift shop!
Really, Florida Aquarium, fart jokes?
My mom found a slinky.
I faced my deepest fears.
And Smisty found something not quite right.
Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
And on that note....
The backside of the aquarium, as taken from the location of a future update. Thanks for reading, fish friends!
Last edited by ernierocker on Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:57 am.
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.