During the January holidays I was lucky to go with my holiday programme job to the Melbourne Aquarium. Even though I had a group of children to keep track of and keep engaged, I loved it. It was my first visit and I was blown away by the shapes and colours that exist under water. So I was determined to come back with my sketchbook.
Unfortunately my first attempt to get there was thwarted. Disappointed, but not defeated, I tried again last week. I have also been reading a book about seahorses, and I really wanted to spend time looking at them. The Aquarium is in an area of Melbourne Town that I don’t walk through very much. So getting there was a delight.
The building itself is not very interesting.
However, inside is a world of delights.
An area that draws everyone in is the penguin display. King and gentoo penguins are kept in Antarctic conditions. (Apologies for the quality of the photos. They were taken through a thick glass wall — a smeary, thick glass wall.)
The gentoos are very engaging, and often come up to the glass — probably because they now associate humans with food. But it is cute.
One of the King penguins had recently hatched a chick and another had an egg on its feet. The chick, looking very fat and happy, was being feed by the parent.
The penguins are all closely monitored, especially the chick. While I watched the keepers came in and weighed the chick. It was 3.85 kg. Then it was feed extra fish. While this was happening, the parent, naturally, was very defensive of the chick and tried to peck the keepers. The keeper solved the problem by gently holding the adult’s beak.
Next time I will take you to see the Syngnathidae family — seahorses, pipefish and the wondrous seadragons. But as you go there you pass by a display that shows live feeds from the research stations in Antarctica. It would be interesting to see the feeds during the cold winter months.