Swimming with the fishes aint just for mobsters any more…and you’ll probably live to tell about it, assuming you steer clear of the sharks, stingrays and creepy eels – not sure the eels can actually hurt humans, but they totally freak me out!
The Downtown Aquarium, in partnership with A-1 Scuba & Travel Center, offers both snorkeling and scuba diving with sea life in a safe and enjoyable environment. My son Silas and I had the opportunity to experience snorkeling, which is led by a professional dive guide. Because we were snorkeling rather than diving, we remained at the water’s surface at all times but were able to peer down at the amazing creatures below…and dodge them as they swam toward us, yikes. We were free to explore the entire tank and wave to the human spectators below - the children visiting the Aquarium enjoyed seeing my son floating at the top of the tank!
Si was intrigued, and a little intimidated, by the number of sea life in the water with us. He was concerned about being in the water with SHARKS (and I was too, but I played it cool, hee hee.) The guides assured us that it was safe but asked us not to touch any of the sea life, so when one of the giant sea turtles came right up to Si, the guide gently pulled him close to her so that he felt safe…I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best. Turns out, the turtles are the friendliest of all the creatures in the tank and just wanted to say hello. They’re herbivores (thankfully) but since they’re about 3-4 feet long and weigh about 250-450 pounds, they cause a bit of an adrenaline rush as they swim right up as if they’re the family pet.
Swimming with the fish was a fabulous experience for our whole family – my hubby and daughter took photos for us as we geared up and got into the water. They were able to then walk down, into the tunnel, and see us from the outside of the tank. Noelle is still too young to swim with the fish but fully plans on giving it a try on her sixth birthday! Silas would like to try scuba diving – now that he’s comfortable hanging with sharks. He’ll have to wait till he turns ten though…and has his scuba diving certification. Looks like the snorkling experience comes with a complimentary scuba experience at A-1, so we might just have to give it a try!
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