TRUE, and I know it to be so because an underwater diver with a microphone in her face mask told me so. I’m not going to doubt her, especially as she was the one in the tank surrounded by any number of sharks as big as cars, huge stingrays and enough Snapper to send Rex Hunt into a piscatorial orgasm.
The answer came as part of a presentation in the impressive underwater auditorium at the Melbourne Aquarium. By way of qualification, the pumpkin revelation was only a small part of a longer answer to a question I posed to the aquarium diver about where they get the food they feed the fish, with the express qualification she could not reply “the ocean’’. But enough about pumpkin.
The Princesses and I had made the journey to Melbourne on the premise tickets to the footy were my Christmas present, but really Princess Kel and I just wanted to take Princess Ella to the aquarium. Staying at the sensational Medina Grand, we were only a couple of blocks away so we gathered Kel’s Melbourne-based brother Rick and shuffled off to the aquarium.
Now, we hadn’t been to the aquarium POK (post kids) so don’t fall into the trap we and several other families made and try to enter through the old entrance. The main entrance is now on Flinders St where, upon entering the facility, you are greeted by the magnificent penguin exhibition.
The temptation, being the first exhibit, is to hurry through it to the next one. Don’t. Take your time to marvel at the contrast of the penguins at rest on the ice and those putting on the most acrobatic displays in the pool. If you want to, you can actually go back to the penguins again after you’ve seen the rest.
You can follow an easy path through the different sections of the aquarium, but in hindsight I’d suggest timing your trip around the keeper/diver presentations at the different sections to get the most out of your visit. The schedule is online .
Look out for the spots at the aquarium where little kids can actually crawl underneath exhibits and poke their heads into glass spheres.
The rockpool is always a delight for the littlies and Ella showed no fear in picking up a starfish.
However the fear was there when a very brave Ella standing next to a docile crocodile in a glass exhibit was told it was actually a “real crocodile’’. We had to check her undies for stains afterwards.
Other interesting things Ella learned were stonefish are not actually stones, lionfish are not actually lions and you wouldn’t dare eat jellyfish with custard for dessert.
Ella really enjoyed it and it was a good 2-3 hour experience for a toddler, but I think she’d really appreciate the experience more as she gets older (me, I could have stayed there all day). The only negative for those with young, pram-weilding families is the one point where you need to negotiate one tight lift to get to another level.
Overall, the Melbourne Aquarium was an experience that Ella will never forget and that in itself was priceless.
Do you have any other kid-friendly suggestions for Melbourne?
Read more about our Melbourne trip at Spoilt on a grand Melbourne holiday (Medina Grand review) and Two nights in a one-bedroom Medina apartment ($1000 giveaway). The Bloke in The Shed also gives his account of footy at the ‘G and I give my take on the Melbourne Zoo.
Disclosure: We received a complimentary night at the Medina Grand and complimentary tickets to the Melbourne Aquarium. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.