April 29 - May 11, 2009: A Trip to Florida
April 18-20, 2009: A Visit with Frank and Joe
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April 25, 2009
A Visit to the Dallas Aquarium
 

One of the things that Mario and Steve wanted to do with Mario's parents was to take them to the Dallas World Aquarium, downtown in the West End. They were nice enough to ask us to join them on Saturday (the day after the wonderful dinner that Mrs. Tarradell cooked for us at their house), which we did.

 

The Dallas World Aquarium


An old warehouse at 1801 North Griffin Street, near the Historic West End District in downtown Dallas, became the original site of The Dallas World Aquarium, opening to the public in October 1992. Built in 1924, the empty warehouse had been occupied until 1982. During those years it was used for various industries, including the Mohawk Rubber Company and Pioneer Steel Rule and Die.

The adjacent building at 1815 North Griffin was purchased in 1996. Built in 1929 as a warehouse for the storage of rubber goods, it was later used by a Venetian blind company in the early 50s and lastly prior to the aquarium’s expansion, as a restaurant/bar known as "Tejano Rodeo." As with the first building, the interior was completely demolished, leaving only the brick walls and support structure. The alley between the two buildings became the "channel" between the freshwater and saltwater ecosystems. The ORINOCO - Secrets of the River opened to the public in October 1997.

The vacant lot at 1814 Laws Street (behind 1801 North Griffin) was purchased in May 2000 for the first newly constructed portion of the facility. Construction on the Mundo Maya exhibit started in April 2002 and opened to the public in August 2004.

 

Entry and Penguins

Just after we paid our admission to the Dallas World Aquarium and had entered, I stopped Mario and his family so I could take a picture- one that you can see here. Then we went right by a long water run (kept in a glass-enclosed area so that it could be cooled down) where there were a number of small penguins. We took two good pictures of the penguins close up, and you can see those here and here.

Penguins at the Dallas World Aquarium

Watching the penguins behind the glass was an interesting experience. They frolicked around and put on a good show.

 

Main Habitat and Aviary: Upper Levels

The main habitat area of the Aquarium is a multi-story affair- about four stories high, I would think. The walkway through it begins towards the top of the habitat, where birds and tree-dwelling mammals can be seen. There is also a beautiful four-story waterfall that cascades down from above the walkway all the way to the pools at the bottom. The walkway winds around the habitat, always slowly descending, and it takes you past all the various exhibits.

I expected to take lots of pictures, but just inside the habitat my camera battery gave out, and the spare I brought with me had not been charged either. So, until later and I remembered I could take pictures with my phone, Fred took all the pictures and movies. It is a shame that the lighting was not better inside; many of Fred's zoom pictures did not turn out well enough to include here. Below are the thumbnail images for the pictures that Fred took as the walkway descended from the entry level to the pools at the bottom. Click on any image to view the full-size picture:


Waterfall at the Dallas World Aquarium

The centerpiece feature of the main habitat is a four-story waterfall, shown here in a movie that Fred took which also pans around the habitat to give you an idea of its extent.

 

Main Habitat and Aviary: Pool Level


When the path had wound all the way down to the bottom, we found ourselves in an area where there were more aquatic animals that were living in shallow pools. (One of the pools was actually quite deep, and was the top of one of the large fish tanks that we would view from the basement shortly.) Looking up, as in the view shown at left, we could see the aviary, habitat and part of the pathway coming down from the entry level.

Below are some thumbnail images for a few of the pictures that Fred took here; click on them to have a look:

Inside the Dallas World Aquarium

This film that Fred took shows the habitat of the Dallas World Aquarium and pans down to the level of the pools, showing some of the fish in those pools and particularly the unusual spotted rays.

 

Lower-Level Aquariums

From the level of the pools, we descended a stairway to the lower level where we could look inside the giant aquarium and also look at the smaller aquariums representing different aquatic ecosystems.

Lower-Level Aquarium

In this film, Fred takes us down the staircase to the lower level where the main viewing windows to the large aquarium are found, and then gives us a closer view of some of the mammals and fish in the giant tank.

Below are some thumbnail images for the pictures that Fred took down here on the lower level. The lighting was not very good for taking pictures, and when the flash was used, it reflected off the glass, so there aren't many pictures that turned out well. But click on these thumbnails to see the ones that did:


 

Lower-Level Penguin Run


On that same lower level there was a small gift shop, and through the gift shop access to a large outdoor area that was actually up one level from the street. Here, there was another simulated aquatic area, with running water, cliffs and rocks, and vegetation, and it was inhabited by a couple of what looked like small penguins (see closeup image at left). The walkway went all the way around the area which, at the far end, gave the penguins access to rocks and a cave. (One of the only criticisms I have of the World Aquarium is that the guide brochure is not very specific as to what is located where within the complex, and the signage identifying the animals and fish is very sparse.)

 

Lunch in the Maya Cafe

When we regrouped a little while later, everyone agreed that it was time for lunch, so we went back to the entry level and found a table in the Maya Cafe. The theme of the cuisine was Central American, and the food was actually quite good and extremely reasonable for a cafe in a museum (where prices are usually higher due to the captive audience). Actually, the food was good enough that it would have been nice to be able to come back and eat here again without having to buy admission to the museum. In any event, while we were ordering and eating, we used Fred's camera to take a few pictures of the group, and if you will click on the thumbnail images below you can see these photos:


 

Touring the New Portion of the Aquarium

After lunch, Mario and his family went to the gift shop to look around and relax, while Steve, Fred and I went off into the new part of the Aquarium/Zoo complex. Here, we found the renovated aquarium tunnel- a tunnel of glass that goes right through one of the main fish tanks. When you walk through the tunnel there are fish on all sides, and occasionally you can see the underside of a ray or shark as it swims along or over the glass tunnel. All along the route there were large fish tanks containing multiple fish, and also smaller tanks that might just have one specific creature- such as a seahorse.

The path went through a large aquarium, past a number of other exhibits, and came out in an area that was actually above the aquarium through which the glass tunnel had gone. This large indoor area populated by flamingos. Oddly enough, this area also boasted a tiger in a cage, the bars of which were made of either lucite or glass so he did not seem so confined. Fred and I (with my phone) took some other good pictures along this part of our tour, including a really interesting one of the glass water tunnel as seen from above. If you will click on the thumbnail images below you can have a look at them:


Flamingos

Fred took this last film in the area of the Dallas World Aquarium that is home to the tiger and the flamingos.

We met back up with Mario and his family, and I invited everyone over to my house for a while. We had a really nice day, and it gave Fred and I a chance to say goodbye to Mario's family, as they returned to Miami the following week.


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April 29 - May 11, 2009: A Trip to Florida
April 18-20, 2009: A Visit with Frank and Joe
Return to Index for 2009