Over April vacation we spent a wonderful couple of days in Mystic, CT. Our first day was spent visiting the historic Mystic Seaport, where we had an amazing day exploring this living museum.
The following day we headed to the Mystic Aquarium.
When we first started planning our mini-break, the Aquarium was on our must visit list and we were not disappointed. Combining indoor and outdoor exhibits, it was the perfect place to spend a sunny – albeit rather chilly! – day.
I have to admit to a sinking feeling as we arrived and saw the queues waiting to get in. We chose to get a family membership as we had already decided, after our great day at the Seaport, that we would be back. And, again, it was only slightly more expensive than five entrance tickets! This speeded up our entry no end, and I was very relieved to find that it didn’t feel nearly as busy inside. The layout, and amount of outdoor space, absorbed a lot of people!
Our first stop was the Beluga Whales. And we promptly fell in love.
I mentioned these beautiful creatures in a Project 365 post, commenting that I’m not a huge fan of seeing large animals in captivity. However, we were lucky enough to catch a wonderful talk by staff on the work that they do with the Belugas:
[The staff] explained how they take care of them and teach them behaviors (tricks), both as a way for them to bond with their handlers and have fun, but also to help with vets’ visits and safety measures/emergencies. For example, earlier that day a pacifier had been dropped into their (massive) tank and the staff had to move them into a gated area really fast, before either of them accidentally ate the pacifier. Without the learned signals and behaviors this would be very difficult, and stressful for the whales. I would still rather see them in their natural habitat, but they are amazing creatures and we felt really quite privileged to watch them swim, and come up to the glass and *chat* with us!
We enjoyed a walk around the rest of the outdoor exhibits seeing seals, sea lions, penguins and turtles, and very much enjoying the sunshine!
We managed to catch a sea lion show, which was very good. Again, much like the talk at the Belugas, it was pitched very much towards the conservation and protection of these beautiful animals, and the reasons for teaching them the ‘tricks’. It was interesting and fun, and the kids loved it.
As is always the case, the lighting in the indoor exhibits was very low. Not camera friendly, but we all loved the sharks, rays and jellyfish.
After leaving the Aquarium, we couldn’t leave Mystic without visiting Mystic Pizza, the restaurant that inspired the film of the same name.
Our trip was over, but we couldn’t start our drive back without an ice cream looking out over the sea. Although, it was so cold by that point that me and the younger two ended up in the car to eat ours!
We’re planning a trip back to Mystic over the summer, so look out for a more detailed post about the Aquarium then.
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