Our Family

Our Family

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our Family Vacation to Dauphin Island: The Estuarium

From the website " The Estuarium is an exciting educational facility highlighting the four key habitats of coastal Alabama: the Mobile Tensaw River Delta, Mobile Bay, the Barrier Islands and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. It includes the 10,000 square foot Exhibit Hall and Living Marsh Boardwalk. This facility is a showcase of the plants, animals, and other natural resources found in the Estuary and its surrounding marine habitats.

Through beautiful visual exhibits and engaging interactive exhibits, the Estuarium will leave you with a broader understanding of the interactions that take place in Mobile Bay, the fourth largest estuary system in the United States. "

I had heard about the Estuarium from some friends that had been to Dauphin Island and it sounded like something my children would really enjoy.  I thought the admission prices were very reasonable.  Children under 5 were free, 5-18 were $6, and adults were $10.  It was open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm, and your admission was good for all day.  We got there at 9:00 am and it took just under 2 hours to get through the entire place, including the outdoor boardwalk.   There were plenty of sea creatures to see and two tables set up where the children could look and touch skeletons, shells, sting rays, and crabs.  I thought the tank with the sea horses were really cool!  One of the workers told me that many adults come through there amazed that sea horses are actually real and not just something out of fairy tales.  It was a great two hours and we had a wonderful time!  They enjoyed it so much that we went back at 4:00 and went through again since our admission was good for the whole day.

One thing to note (which is unfortunate) is that the Estuarium like many other facilities of its kind,  comes from a completely evolutionary perspective.  All of the signs around the building talk of millions of years.  The lady who was showing the children sting rays and letting them hold and feed them told them that sting rays have been around for over 400 million years.  The children just looked at me and shook their heads.

When we went back in the afternoon, the interactive tables did not have anyone working, so several of the most interesting (and fragile) items were put away, and you could not handle the sting rays or crabs.  Christian was so cute because he there were a couple of fish he really, really wanted me to take pictures of that he thought I missed the first time.  We got some decent pictures even though it is hard to convince fish to stand still.

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