There’s more entertainment than just the Tweeter Center or the Battleship New Jersey in Camden.
Just across the river is the New Jersey State Aquarium, a great place for fans of marine life.
As a wise crustacean once said, “Ariel, listen to me. The human world, it’s a mess. Life under the sea is better than anything they got up there.”
Maybe he was right.
A few miles down Vine St., onto 95 South to Penn’s Landing, you can enjoy a ferry ride across the Delaware River, and dock in front of the aquarium.
The ferry is only $6 round trip and departs every 20 minutes.
Immediately after entering the aquarium grounds, you are surrounded by a beautiful garden, furnished with benches on which to relax and take in the scenery.
Directly in front of the museum is a seal tank with live seal shows.
This 170,000-gallon tank houses one of the country’s largest seal exhibits and is home to seven seals.
Inside the aquarium, the atmosphere is cool and quiet. An immense fish mobile hangs from the ceiling with hundreds of rows of fish, circling above.
The first exhibit that visitors encounter is the sharks.
For the daring, there is a “Touch a Shark” pool that is home to stingrays and various small sharks that visitors are allowed to touch.
There are staff members there to answer any questions one might have.
If you’d rather soak in the beauty of the sharks without actually touching them, there is a huge tank filled with sharks and fish ranging in all sizes and types for observance.
If watching the sharks swim around isn’t enthralling enough, take a trip to the back of the large tank where you’ll find auditorium style seating.
Once seated, visitors are treated to a diving exhibition that includes – what else – a feeding of the sharks.
Moving past this exhibit there are 14 different styles of tanks all over the walls, ceilings, and in the middle of the room, filled with beautiful, colorful fish and plants.
The dark room, with green and blue swirling lights along with the tree-like poles in this exhibit give the look and feel of being underwater, while soft music plays in the background, giving the room a relaxing aura.
Next on the trip is a tropical shipwreck exhibit, complete with a beach setup that includes different varieties of fish, birds, star fish and sea shells.
Moving upstairs there are entirely different themes, such as the Caribbean Beach Exhibit, Central and South America Rainforest and the Indo-Pacific.
There are signs explaining the location, ecosystems, climate, culture and industries of each exhibit.
The Caribbean Beach exhibit houses not only marine life, but also various species of birds, including a Great Blue Heron and Blue and Gold Macaws.
The Heron was rescued and rehabilitated after surviving an accident in 2000.
The South American Rainforest exhibition also houses bird life.
Visitors can enjoying seeing Toucans and a Curassow, a Pheasant-like bird that’s population totals only 3,000.
No matter what exhibit one is enjoying, there are always staff members around to answer any questions one might have about the sea life.
The New Jersey Aquarium admission is $13.95 for adults, $11.95 with a student ID. The aquarium is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends.
Mixin’ with the Fishes
April 27, 12-4 p.m.
Mix 95.7 broadcasts live from the aquarium during a fun-filled day for the whole family.
May 3, 11-3 p.m.
The Aquarium celebrates Latin and Hispanic culture in a day filled with music, games and more.
Disney’s “Finding Nemo” Search Party
Visitors are invited to learn about clown fish and coral reefs with Disney’s newest character.
Come view the aquarium’s seven seals during this annual event filled with games and demonstrations.
Also in June…
The aquarium’s new permanent exhibit, “Sea Dragons,” is slated to open in June. The Sea Lab exhibit will now be home to Leafy Sea Dragon, an endangered species of animal similar to the seahorse.
For more information, visit www.njaquarium.org
Jennifer Hendriksen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.