Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Day 61: Aquarium

Ahh, this morning it's really nice and warm at 40F (past days it's been in the 30s). My face is only partially numb by the time I get home.

Venice was inspired to make lunch for herself and Xander today. Noodle soup with dumplings. Ok, packaged noodle soup and frozen dumplings. But still, she made it, served it and mostly cleaned up. Win for me!

The kids and I decided to head to the aquarium today. Well, Venice and I, really. Xander would be happy staying home, but we convinced him to join us (strong armed).

In my research to find out hours and prices, I found that there are actually two aquariums in town. One at the Tiergarten, in conjunction with the Zoo. And one in a hotel just a few tram stops away. So, perhaps we'll have to try both! But, for today, we vote to go to the "official" one at the Zoo.

It's all good when a tram comes early, except when you're trying to schedule when to leave your home so that you don't have to wait long at the stop... we missed the tram by a minute and had to wait the dreaded 9 minutes for the next one. So, we did that mental math of another route and decided to take a different tram that came much sooner. A longer trip is better than waiting in the cold.

As we walked through the Bahn station to make our connecting S-Bahn, we passed a Fish and Chips joint. Xander expressed interest. And I made the decision that stopping for a few bites now would be better than getting to the aquarium and having instantly-hungry companions. We stopped for a bite. Missing our train and taking a different route had its purpose!

The Bell Tower on the left with the old church
in the middle. The new church is in the lower
right corner of the right photo (behind the street lights).
As we were walking to the entrance of the aquarium, we passed by the "bombed" church again. We've heard a little bit about it... it survived WWII bombing and has, on purpose, not been restored. A little more research at home tell me it's the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (informally known as "Hollow Tooth" by Berliners). During the 50s, instead of tearing it down and rebuilding, which was the common thing to do, the will of the people pushed architects to leave it alone and build a new, but separate, perish church and belfry (in 1961). Today, the belfry is under scaffoldings, I didn't find out why. These buildings are an architectural pride of West Berlin and a memorial against war and destruction.

The Berlin aquarium is in a building that, from the outside, looks like an office building. Somewhat nondescript. It's on the smaller side of aquariums, we have been spoiled by Monterey's. But even Oregon's aquarium has a touch-pool, otters, seals, and other ocean creatures. This aquarium is contained in one building and doesn't have as much diversity. That being said, there were some species we hadn't seen before. Some very entertaining. And they had jellyfish, too, which are always beautiful to see. The building is three stories tall. Fish, and other swimmers, on the first floor. Reptiles on the second floor. And frogs and insects on the third floor.

Windows on the staircase going up (left), Frog design (middle),
and the Zoo trashcan (right) saying, "Please, Feed"

We were entertained, for a really long time, with these fish. I think, if we didn't feel the need to share them with other patrons, we'd have been there a lot longer, just watching them go in and out of their holes. They kept taking up rocks and spitting them out to make their "dens" bigger. Now, the kids want to own some at home.

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Of course, one always tries to take photos of the Jellies. The iPhone doesn't do too well, so Photoshop helped them appear more how our eyes see them.


As we got to the top floor, we got to see frogs and salamanders. Xander asked to have his photo in front of the salamander's habitats. Lighting was tricky here, but he's in front of a few information boards and habitats. The little dude in the middle photo was pretty dang cute, even if the photo doesn't do him justice.


Venice visits with as dwarf caiman and a pretty habitat. At one point, you could walk out onto a bridge INSIDE the habitat of turtles and full-sized caimans.



Xander got the better photo of the turtle using my iPhone.

And the silvery-plastic looking fish (I think that's their official Latin name).


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And that is our day at the aquarium. On the smaller side, but enough to get a good glimpse into the ocean life.

Another snack from a street vendor so that we can make the trip home without too many hunger pains. The Butterfingers in my purse only took us so far. We also bought some juice and tea for Venice to "play with" when we get home. She has purchased tapioca pearls, from the Asian market, in hopes to make her own Boba tea at home. Side note: The first attempt did not work (trying to hydrate the pearls in the juice). Venice did more research and learned that she must boil the pearls for 30 min, let them sit in the hot water for another 15, and then cool them off. So, the second attempt was much more successful and she's ready to get it all right on her third attempt on another day.

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