I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published October 22nd 2012
Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming
With a major fear of the sea, I am not sure why I love going to aquariums, sea life centres and sea worlds all over the world but for some reason I do. Perhaps it's the safety in numbers and the fact that it is a controlled environment but truly it is because, despite the scariness, marine life and the oceans are incredibly beautiful and fascinating.
Melbourne, like for many, has been my top place to visit in Australia so far, I saw so much and did so much that it felt like four weeks, rather than just four days and I just adored the vibe of the city. Melbourne Aquarium was one of my highlights as it had so many wonderful displays, a variety of animals from the weird to the cute including my absolute favourite, Penguins.
Located right in the City, Melbourne Aquarium is just on the corner of Flinders Street and King Street, situated on the Yarra River, opposite Crown Entertainment Complex. It is just a few minutes walk from Southbank Promenade and Flinders or Southern Cross train stations.
It has so many animals on display, you can spend hours just wandering into the different areas and looking at some of the most stunning, scary and strange creatures on the earth.
It is split into four sections; Antarctica, Weird & Wonderful, Sharks Alive and Reef to River. In each section you will be able to see a variety of sharks, rays, penguins, sawfish, stingrays, turtles, seahorses, colour-changing cuttlefish, spiky lionfish, camouflaged sea dragons, armour carrying crabs and even clownfish like Nemo.
Plus, rainbow fish, snakes, catfish, barramundi, deadly poisonous arrow frogs and fearsome-looking speartooth sharks, sea jellies – not to mention the mesmerising vibrant coral and massive wall displays that teach you all about the animals you are seeing, how to spot them and a bit about their history.
By a huge mile, the penguin section stole the show for me, they were the first display I came to, and if I am honest I could have left after only that and my $35 would have been well spent. The display is massive and there are hundreds of King and Gentoo penguins, with half the display under water and half above water, so you totally get the best of both their worlds. Walk through "Nella Dan", which is a replica of one of the most famous Antarctic icebreakers and see the penguins play and slide on the ice and water. So very cute.
Throughout the Aquarium there are interactive pods and displays where you can learn and discover all about marine life, the dangers they face and learn about their incredible history and journey through life. I really found everything compelling and well presented and also if you are lucky you may catch one of the many feeding sessions where you can hear directly from specialist trainers and keepers.
I have to say that walking into the Sharks Alive section was not an easy task for me, and in the end I practically had to walk in with my eyes closed. But even though I would never EVER like to meet one, I also believe they are amazing animals which you kind of can not seem to look away from. You end up in a magical panoramic Fish Bowl viewing area, that acts as a bit of a role reversal and puts you right in the middle as you are surrounded by intimidating sharks, massive stingrays, turtles and thousands of amazing marine animals. There is also a movie presentation that you can watch to learn more about these fierce animals, as they swim by.
For me, absolutely worth a visit, even if you have been to many Aquariums and the like, I really enjoyed my time in Melbourne and at the Aquarium. And don't forget to stop by in the café and the shop to have a break or pick up souvenir. I tried to walk through the store and not buy anything, but I couldn't resist buying a cute penguin stuffed toy, I would like to say I bought it for my young niece, but it was totally for me.
They have loads of special offers and events on too, such as Aquarium After Dark on Friday nights, where you can have some cocktails after work and experience the Aquarium at night – definitely something different for the weekend.
There is also a cool APP you can download which gives you cool information as you are walking around.