Saturday, April 23, 2016

Claws {Sea Life Aquarium Grapevine}

We experienced some of the world’s crabbiest creatures with the opening of Claws at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium.

The yearlong Claws exhibit features different crustaceans from around the world including mighty coconut crabs, unique porcupine crabs, lively land crabs and even lobsters.  The exhibit features this Japanese spider crab, the largest arthropod in the world, with legs that can reach 12-feet across when fully grown.

Interactive features include a touch display allowing guests to feel the shell textures of different crabs, a giant mechanical claw that guests can control and use to pick up objects as well as a specially designed crawl-through tunnel display, which allows visitors to get underneath the tanks to observe the crustaceans from all angles.
This is the cute and cuddly porcupine crab.  Can you see his two tiny eyes staring at you?

In celebration of the opening, SEA LIFE Grapevine has been collecting empty soda cans for Sink Your Claws Into Recycling, a project to raise awareness about the importance of recycling.  Local artist Val Curry is building a 6-foot handcrafted crab sculpture made out of 1,500 soda cans.  The completed crab sculpture will be unveiled later this spring and will travel to popular Dallas-Fort Worth areas this summer to create awareness about pollution through powerful art and hands-on educational activities.
After seeing the Claws exhibit, we decided to explore the rest of the aquarium.  There is so much to see and do here!

I love starfish.  They are so gentle.  There are over 2000 species of starfish.  Did you know they can live up to 35 years?


Look at the underside of this starfish that was hanging on the glass.  There are so many little suction cups!  They hold its prey which its stomach actually comes out of the mouth to digest the meal then goes back inside when it is done.  Fascinating!


We always spend quite a while at this spot just watching all of the amazing marine life swim right by.  


Even a shark or two came to visit us!



Who knew there was such a thing as a squirrelfish.  Well, there is.  Meet the Hawaiian Red and White Striped Squirrelfish.  What an interesting name.


My favorite part of Sea Life are the jelly fish.  They are just mesmorizing to watch.  They seem glide through the water like they are dancing.


Rachel loves the interactive screens in the Shark Mission area.  She especially likes to play the games.


I love this picture of Nicholas and the manta ray.  He absolutely loves manta rays and this one seems to come right up to him.


This little ray wasn't up for visitors so he was hiding under the sand.  I hadn't even noticed him until Rachel pointed him out.


This little cownose was much more sociable.  He poked his head out of the water to say Hi to me.  He even looks like he's smiling for the picture.


We spent at least an hour at the touch tables.  My kids are totally addicted to this spot!


The staff is always so friendly and great with kids.  He explained what everything in the tank was and answered all of their questions.  We even found out that he has attended Sea Camp in Galveston twice!  It was neat talking to him to find out what Nicholas can expect at his first time there this summer.


Rachel touched everything right along with Nicholas.  She really studied the creatures as she touched them.  Look at the intensity on her face in this picture below.  She liked the prickly sea urchins best because they would grab her finger and not let go.


The sea anemones are so soft and their arms are amazing to watch.  So graceful.  But if they don't want to be bothered they will just pull their arms in and tuck themselves into a ball.


SEA LIFE Grapevine is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine or call 817-819-7677.  SEA LIFE Grapevine transports you into the amazing underwater world.  Prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays and powerful sharks.  With an amazing 360° ocean tunnel, 30 display tanks and thousands of sea creatures the aquarium is the perfect stop for family fun.  To get any closer you would have to get wet!  Admission is $20 for adults, $16 for children ages 3 to 12.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine.  Follow on Facebook: @sealifegrapevine Twitter: @sealifegrpevine and Instagram: @sealifegrpevine.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sea Camp: My Favorite Sea Creatures

Nicholas has always had a passion for learning about nature but especially interesting marine life.  So he was really excited to learn that Texas A&M University in Galveston offers week long marine biology summer camps for kids called Sea Camp.  

There are several camps available to choose from.  Nicholas will be attending Adventures in Marine Biology.  Here's the description: 
"Explore a salt marsh by seining, digging, and sieving. Learn about the biota and food chains. Dissect a fish and learn about fish printing. Collect live oysters and study them with an oyster biologist. Trawl for shrimp, fish, and crabs from the research vessel Earl L. Milan. Tour a turtle facility and meet the threatened Loggerhead sea turtle. Attend a workshop on whales and dolphins and examine real dolphin bones."
I want to go myself!

They also offer scholarships.  One scholarship winner will be chosen from two designated age groups.  Nicholas had to create a poster and write a one page of his poster.  He made his poster about his favorite sea creatures like the manta ray, ocean sunfish, vampire squid, goblin shark, flying gunard, yeti crab, tunicate, and acanthostephia malmgreni.


We mailed it to Sea Camp today for judging.  He worked really hard on it and I know he is proud of his work.  

I'm a little worried about my boy being so far away in Galveston for a whole week but it is such an amazing opportunity that we are all really excited for him too.