|Spot the angel shark?|
Among the creatures of fascination where the anemones ("look mummy, anemones, like in Nemo"), the dogfish, sharks and rays that kept popping their noses out of the water right in front of him, and the shark egg cases (mermaids purses). Ollie was really amazed that the 'pebble' in the egg was a baby shark (or ray, I admit I can't tell the difference between their eggs without a field guide).
He also watched the Gurnard for ages, and had lots of questions about why it had 'legs' and why other fish don't have legs. The gurnard has specialised fin rays which it uses to feel in the sand for prey species, such as smaller fish, but it does really seem to walk on the sand. Ollie didn't quite get the idea that it is easier to swim in water with fins and a tail than to walk through water, so as soon as his chickenpox scabs really heal up we'll be off to the swimming pool to stride around in the water and then swim in it to see which is easier.
|Gurnard, with specialised fin rays|
I've had folks ask me when he was a baby why I bothered to take him to places like this, as 'he won't remember it anyway', but anyone looking at his little face gazing intently at the shifting colours and lights in the tanks would know instinctively the answer to this question. Any further justification needed? Well, the more new sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feels your little one is exposed to, the more neural pathways they form, and the more their interest in the world around them awakens. So the kids have always been to zoos, and aquariums and museums and galleries. They might not understand the same things from the experience that an older child would, but be sure they are taking away heaps of good stuff just the same.