LAT: N 32° 46.6'
LON: W 79° 57.1'
40s - 50s, sunny and windy
|Wednesday, December 3, 2003
The Sites Aqua-ired at the Aquarium
Arggg me maties, aye was offered a position at that thar aquarium, but aye told 'em aye don't get along well with sea horses.
Grey this morning, and exhausted from the night before, we hung out on Slowly for awhile before rowing in. This time we made sure it was slack tide so the current wouldn't be so bad. We got to the marina only wet from the light drizzle coming down. Prepared to shower and work on the website we stopped into the warm laundry room to get things organized. Fortunately we had found an ethernet connection there the day before and were prepared with our cord to plug in. So, we stayed cozy hanging out in the laundry room and taking turns showering and working on the site.
A little later than we had wanted, we were finally ready to start our adventure of the day. We were determined to get to the relatively new South Carolina Aquarium. We got in the marina shuttle, and after a short trip over to James Island where people were dropped off to go to West Marine, we were driven back to the eastern shore of the city.
Happy to have arrived we went to the ticket office, quickly deciding that we would also see an IMAX show later in the evening. We weren't sure what to expect being from Boston with the big New England Aquarium, and Hannah having volunteered at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. Though the South Carolina Aquarium is smaller than those, we were totally impressed and really enjoyed ourselves. The quality and creativity in the exhibits made it great fun to explore and hard to pull ourselves away from. Starting off, we walked into a window filled hallway where there were a number of uniform clad kids at the exhibit where you could touch and prod the urchins, shell dwelling beings, and horse shoe crabs. They were all well behaved and made sure both of us knew how to handle the animals as they were being told to make sure their animal was still in the water while in their hands.
After that we started following the designated route through the aquarium. We walked into a mountainous environment that was exposed to the outside. Looking above tanks and fake stone were real trees, birds and raindrops falling on our heads. We identified some fish and spent some time watching the river otters excitedly swim back and forth in their habitat.
We then moved back indoors and through other informative exhibits until we realized we had to eat before we went any further. The aquarium is small enough to not have a cafeteria. We went next door to the building with the IMAX theatre and scarfed some sandwiches at the lunch place there (quite good). Running back to the aquarium we proceeded to check out the outdoor Salt Marsh exhibit where there were different birds and tanks, one with a school of fish swimming to and fro, another with puffer fish and one with a few turtles. We really enjoyed the outdoor exhibits that made the whole building seem more exposed and natural. Getting dripped on and zipping up our coats helped the habitats seem all the more authentic.
Back inside we looked through some oddly shaped tanks that let you get closer to the animals behind the glass, (or rather the plastic). There were sea horses, urchins, jellyfish and flounder a plenty. On the larger side there were also a few big snakes (one a man eating python), and some alligators. The main fish tank there was one of the best displays. There were a few different views into the tank but the biggest one was amazing. Inside were a variety of fish and sharks moving counterclockwise. One could view this tank from the second or first floor, the latter having a small amphitheater where one could sit for hours just watching all the big fish swim around. There was another view into the tank that was at an angle where one can walk up to the window and look up above into it. It was an intimate experience, especially when a sand tiger shark swam right up to Tim.
Back out into the main hall there were a couple of Macaw parrots acting up and talking to each other and their admirers. We chatted with them for a while and then went to pick up some info about Hannah possibly volunteering there if we were to come back and stay for some time. Feeling revved from our awesome aquarium adventure we hurried off to explore the northern end of King St before we met Perry and Bethany for the IMAX movie: Santa vs. Snowman in 3D.
We wanted to check out north King Street where the downtown's revitalization has yet to come. The buildings were all beautiful but most had not been renovated and were looking a little worn. But the furniture stores and galleries of southern King St seemed to be creeping up and everything looked like it had potential.
Needing rest we stopped into Kool Beanz coffee shop, one of few coffee shops we had seen, and certainly the first local one. We were warmly welcomed by the owner and chatted with him while we sipped our warm drinks and worked on the site, uploading it on the wireless internet they had available there. Inviting places like coffee shops are always nice to have nearby so this was another plus for Charleston.
Hurrying back towards the aquarium and the IMAX theatre we met up with the Tevake crew and went in to the movie. We were looking forward to the 3D film. Hannah had never seen one, and Tim hadn't since childhood. We knew it was going to be childish but didn't know it was going to be so lame. Basically, it was a movie that seemed written by adolescent grown men who built a weak plot around a bunch of violent fight scenes we already saw in Star Wars. At moments, it was even disturbing as the snowman's army of minion's did battle with Santa's high-tech and heavily armed elves. Seriously, unless you are 11 years old and haven't been around long enough to identify cliches, you can skip it. Though the 3D part was very cool until we stopped noticing.
Thoroughly disturbed, we all left the theater and headed out for food. Returning to the reliable King Street we found La Hacienda. Like Thai food the night before, we hadn't enjoyed Mexican since we left, and it was thoroughly satisfying. Finishing up, we all walked home to the Ashley River. Tevake was very kind and lent us their inflatable with outboard so we could get back to Slowly without the long row. They also loaned us "Charlie's Angel's 2" on DVD. We were fully equipped to round out our day with ease and did so with pleasure.
Tonight we had Mexican food at La Hacienda. It was just what we wanted: a pitcher of frozen lime margarita, burritos, tamales, enchiladas, and more! It was definitely closer to authentic Mexican than Taco Bell, and all tasted very good. Though we will opt for the Dos Equis over the too sweet Margaritas next time.
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