An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 25, 2009

Watery World

Photographer in the Tank 2
This past weekend the three of us went to the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach with my wife's out-of-town cousin and his wife. I really enjoy going to this place and it has both fond, and melancholy memories for me. We have a great picture of my late grandmother holding our son silhouetted against the sea turtle tank. At the time, she was a few months away from being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and he was just old enough to somewhat understand and enjoy what he was seeing. On that same visit my chronic back pain prevented me from keeping up with my son or the rest of my family, and this spurred me to get the treatment that eventually returned me to a more normal life.

The aquarium is made up of two buildings separated by a nature trail that winds its way along the the shores of Owl Creek. One of my favorite customers is a member of the Council of Garden Clubs in Virginia Beach, and I helped her secure some hard to find Virginia natives to plant along the trail. In the main building are exhibits that focus on the oceans and the Chesapeake, as well the obligatory IMAX . The focus of the other building is life on and near shore. Here there is a coastal aviary, a fantastic river otter exhibit and other more terrestrial topics.

The lighting inside the buildings was very low and made taking normal photos difficult, but I was able to get a few shots you would expect to see at an aquarium. However, the pictures that came out best in my mind, are a bit more abstract and continue my penchant for watery images.Pink Jellyfish 2

Pink Jellyfish 3

Pink Jellyfish 5

Crab Boy 3

Demure Snapping Turtle

Painted Turtles 2

Sea Turtle 5

Ray Tank  1

Approaching Sheepshead 2

Fish Blur 2

Shark Tank 2

Shark Tank Ghost 1

Did you notice the ghostly face in the last image?

We will be going back again in the next few months when the aquarium opens a major new exhibit that will be much more exotic than what you would normally see nearby. Among others, there will a Komodo Dragon installation, and I have always been fascinated by these creatures. I wonder if they will be fed live goat like they get on TV nature shows?

You can see all of my pictures here.


  1. Great photos Les. I haven't been over there for a long time. Would you believe my older daughter's Girl Scout troop 'camped out' in the Chesapeake Room watching the fish all night long. Hope you all had a nice visit with family.

  2. Great photos, I love the ones of the jellyfish.

  3. Great shots. You conveyed the visit perfectly though the tortoise does not look to be impressed:)

  4. I love aquariums. And I did see the 'ghostly face'! Love the image of the turtle (the loggerhead I'm assuming - gorgeous image). The aquarium in Charleston has a relatively new penguin exhibit - and this makes me remember that I need to find time to go there. The Komodo Dragon exhibit should be fun!

  5. Janet,
    I would love to camp there, but perhaps not with the Girl Scouts, otherwise you may think me creepy.

    Thanks! I had fun taking them.

    The jelly fish were indeed cool. A couple of years ago we went to the NY Aquarium on Coney Island. They had a whole darkenend room of jellyfish with floor to ceiling tanks all lit ultravioletly.

    It is hard to impress a tourtise.

    Penguins in Charleston? I will have to make another visit.