The Key West Aquarium is the worst aquarium we've ever been to--because it's tiny, ancient, and funky. Of course, it's also the best aquarium we've ever been to, as well--because it's tiny, ancient, and funky.
The aquarium is in the Mallory Square "tourism-central" area of Key West.
Hey, way to ruin the shot, brat.
Just inside the building is this "maritime history" display.
By far the best thing about this place is the place itself. Which is to say, the building--which I'm pretty sure was built by Battlestar Galactica's Colonials, or at the very least the ancient Egyptians.
Now, take a close look at this photo. What's your first thought? If you're anything like me, it was probably, "Okay, it's not very big, but their thing is touch pools and they have a bunch of them. In fact, the whole middle area is touch pools." But, like me, you'd be wrong. Only the front pool is an actual touch pool. All the low-level pools beyond that are what are technically known as "incredibly dangerous."
Speaking of the touch pool, this is a conch. Looks tasty, don't it?
Me, I would have painted a mural of swimming fish. But sure, dudes unloading crates of dead fish from boats is cool, too.
"Hey baby, got any eggs you need me to carry around for you?" *wink, wink*
"I found that joke offensive, thank you very much."
Yes, it's the true mark of thoughtful animal husbandry, inviting your guests to shine a flashlight into sleeping animals' eyes!
"I'd really rather you didn't."
There's a guided tour if you wish. Which is funny because the entire aquarium is, like, 8 feet long. Honestly, the place is so small that there's no real way to *avoid* the tour once it gets going.
This middle pool contain sea turtles and stingrays, by the way. Which aren't really that dangerous, I guess. Still, most places try to make barriers that are higher than your center of gravity.
Here's what I learned from the tour: The reason this turtle is so ugly is because it has scoliosis. No, seriously. I didn't know they could get that, either. But don't worry, the aquarium is working on making the turtle a nice vest it can wear.
Hey, what's in this pool?
Oh, by the way, don't put your hands in there.
Now, I know you really want to pet a shark, so don't worry: One of the employees will just haul one up out of the water for you to pet.
"Dude, that chick just totally pulled one of the sharks out of the water! It's dying!"
"Go ahead. Pull me out of the water."
There is slightly more to the aquarium than just the main building. In fact, there are two seperate outdoor areas. This is the one for midgets.
(Okay, okay--the archway isn't actually as low as the photo makes it look.)
Ladies and gentlemen, fish *outside*!
Smisty spots something out of sorts....
"Um...I'm not a fish. Or even a mammal. I'm a bird. Can you, um, let me out now?"
"Dude, relax. We got a good thing going here!"
This is a weird photo. But then, the Key West Aquarium is a weird place.
"Hey, thanks for the mulch, toolbags! It's just like back home in the swamp!"
The second outdoor area, unsurprisingly, is also weird.
"Hey, wait a minute! 'Turtles bite'? Fudge you! Humans bite! Oh...wait, you meant...? Oh, yeah, okay, we do do that. Sorry."
Most times I just stare at the photo until a caption comes to me. But that's not working in this case.
There you go, a little glimpse into my "process."
Turns out that door isn't really supposed to be open.
Hey, that's cool, a touch pool in a row boat.
"Hey, this isn't a touch pool! But they only put up two little signs! And they never even come check on us! It's...it's horrible!"
A conch display. Delicious conch.
Now, hang on here. Are we seriously to believe that the Key West Aquarium is inviting us to put our mouths on this thing?
An overview of the back area. I kind of get the feeling that this used to be the front entrance, though, based on the sign.
Heading back in, looking down the length of the building.
The educational portion of this update. Yeah, I know you're not gonna read it. Let me just summarize: It was the Great Depression, so the government sent a bunch of hobos down to Key West to paint stuff. Ta-da!
Clearwater Marine Aquarium however has greatly evolved....they have a bit of themeing and Winter the Dolphin who will is the star of a movie coming out later this summer.....I need to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium too someday!
This seems kinda illegal... which makes it that much more awesome. Was the shark tank as low as it looked, cause if so I wonder how many people have been owned by sharks. That looks kinda awesome in a really damn scary type of way.
I want to check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium sometime. I live maybe 15 minutes away. Besides Winter (the dolphin that uses a prosthetic tail), there's Panama the dolphin, who they recently discovered is deaf, plus they just rescued an orphaned baby dolphin that's going to share the pool with Winter once she's big enough. They also have some turtles and river otters along with some other stuff.
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