How to Aquarium

On Saturday I was treated to a date at the Camden Aquarium, which is really an excellent place to be no matter the occasion.

The aquarium, that is, not Camden. When I told my employers I would be in Camden on the weekend, the gist of their response was to take along my defense spray, wear running shoes, carry a crowbar, bring my trained attack-bear, and never ever ever leave the car, which should always be locked and hovering twelve feet above the population.

The aquarium was nice, though. The only problem was that they didn’t allow the items that were supposed to keep you alive in Camden, such as a pocket missile launcher and mace. Midway through the door, ticket in hand, I realized they were going to search my purse and find my pepper spray, so I shoved it in my pocket instead. This worked because the security people just don’t care anymore.


An almost accurate simulation of the crowds in the aquarium, only they weren’t all going in the same direction and they weren’t pleasing to the eye.

A pair of childless twenty-somethings don’t often consider that educational places will be packed on the weekends, so we were unprepared for the gritty Camden crowds and were gently buffeted from one exhibit to another.


I fought tooth and nail through thirty people to see this turtle eat lettuce out of this feeder. It seemed very important at the time.

As with any zoo or aquarium, the animals were very unimpressed by the humans. The penguins in particular spent most of their time looking at us as though we were a mildly interesting ant on the sidewalk. We weren’t worth the effort to perform.


Both sides were waiting for the other to do something worthwhile.

I spent a lot of time elbow deep in the frigid water so I could pet the things that really just wanted to be left alone. At least, the starfish looked as though they wanted to be left along. I could swear the rays kept getting closer on purpose, like puppies.


I wasn’t banging on the glass, but whenever I stuck my hand in there I felt like Darla.


And speaking of Darla, there was the obligatory Finding Nemo tank.


I’m not a horse girl. But I will stare at seahorses all day.


This little guy sat so still for so long that I was certain he was fake. You’ll be proud to know that when he moved I barely even screamed.


One of the first pictures I ever took as a child was of the jellyfish in the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They will always be my favorite things to watch.



The biggest draw of the aquarium, as far as I am aware, is the tunnel they have that goes right through one of the larger tanks. In theory, this is really neat. But mid-afternoon on a Saturday, this is less neat.


I’m not actually sure there were fish in that tank; I spent most of my time trying not to get stepped on, so I couldn’t check.

And, additionally, the aquarium had a neat little net bridge over a tank of sharks. This exhibit was also experiencing the same problems as the tank tunnel; though it was in theory very cool, in practice it took quite a lot to get a look at the sharks, because the heavy netting was hard to see through and you were being the jerk that held up the one hundred person line if you stopped.


Just keep movin’, just keep movin’…


Hey, I think I almost see something!

All in all, I recommend visiting the Camden Aquarium during the middle of the week when the kids are in school. At first it struck me as odd that the aquarium’s hours were 10AM – 5PM every day of the week, but then I remembered that if you were out after 6:00 in Camden the police wouldn’t even try to save you from your own stupidity.

If you do go, I recommend seeing the jellyfish, and bringing a date who’s over six feet tall to hold you up over the crowd. Both were excellent.


“Quick! Let’s snap a picture of the foggy Philly skyline and then run inside before the residents of Camden smell fear!”


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