Ever look a shark in the eye? Don't worry. It can't hurt you.
Ever seen an octopus? A 100-year-old tortoise? A rainbow fish? Don't worry. You can do all that and more at the new
The attraction, which opened in 2012, is housed in the First Energy Powerhouse building in
The 70,000-square-foot aquarium is mesmerizing: Hundreds of fish in every imaginable color in stunning habitats swim right on by -- everywhere you look.
In the next exhibit, of sea life from freshwater lakes and rivers around the world, don't miss Toby, the giant gourami, a freshwater lover from Southeast Asian waters.
The highlight of the tour is a 250,000-gallon shark exhibit that features four species of sharks. You can stand next to the roughly 12-foot-tall glass and think about the "Jaws" theme song if you want. That's how you'll feel, despite the 4-inch-thick glass standing between you and them.
The shark exhibit includes a 175-foot glass winding tube you walk through while sharks and other fish, such as moray eels, groupers and stingrays, swim overhead. It almost feels like you're in the tank with them, minus the terror.
A pen of rescued African tortoises (not turtles!), which often live to the ripe old age of 150 years, will bring your fast-paced life to a halt as they amble peacefully between logs and rocks.
Did you know tortoises don't drink water? They get all the liquid they need from their food.
The tortoises came from an
Look up in one dark corridor and you'll get a stunning look at moon jellyfish that glow bluish purple. You can follow their life cycle from polyps to adults, or just marvel at their beauty, and how they don't look anything like the ones on "SpongeBob SquarePants."
A female octopus will show off its suction cups and tentacles in another dark corner.
Be sure to leave a lot of time for the touch pool exhibit. Kids -- including, well, everyone -- go nuts for the 11,000-gallon tank, where you can roll up your sleeves and reach in to touch a stingray. They feel smooth, as if they're covered in velvet or a gel-like coating.
The rays have their barbs removed, and they're of a nonaggressive species anyway, so they're not interested in you, according to aquarium guide
He said it might seem like they're all constantly going around and around in the same direction, but then they'll stop or turn around and go back from where they came.
It might take more than a few tries to get a ray to swim by within reach. Several sets of stairs help little ones get up to enjoy the action.
The Indo-Pacific tanks provide breathtaking looks at animals and plants from the
For some reason, he often seems to simply hover, staring straight back at you. It's hard not to wonder what he's thinking.
The coastal and tropical reef exhibits will remind you of a travel commercial with snorkelers swimming with schools of flashy fish that dart in and around a live coral reef.
Bright yellows and blues flash in and out of holes in the reefs, which was grown just for the
If you're used to spending hours in a zoo or museum, you might be surprised that it takes only about 90 minutes to tour the
You can grab a bite upstairs, where a small pub offers sandwiches, pizza, nachos and the like, in addition to chairs.
Of course, you should also know that the aquarium tour empties into the gift shop stocked with educational toys and adorable stuffed versions of many popular creatures you just saw in the flesh. Good luck with that.
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