After I left Mr. Otter snoozing on the beach I headed over to the nature center I passed coming in.
I started with the building on the land side of the road. There is a small gift shop and a room with various displays on the plants, animals, and minerals of the area. Hanging on the ceiling is a whale skeleton. Many displays are interactive; children are invited to touch and experiment (as did a certain soon to be 49 year old!).
I particularly enjoyed the geology displays.
Isn’t this sand exhibit cool? A thin layer of sand it held between 2 layers of glass.
After I finished there, I walked across the road to the second building at the end of a long dock. This building is dedicated to life IN the water.
It is all about ‘hands on’ learning.
As you enter and go to the right, there are large tanks of full of sea life from the area.
Some sort of fish.
A display showing what lives on the dock pilings in the area.
Or on the rock jetties.
Clams saying “Ahhhh”!
OK, I was told by one of the docents that this starfish was ‘giving birth’. But when I looked up starfish reproduction for this blog… I found out that most likely isn’t true at all. I emailed the center asking what was happening but they did not answer. L My guess is the tiny little starfish next to the big one just happen to be there and are young starfish who have progressed thru the nymph stage.
Along the back were the “touch tanks”. These put me in Happyland very quickly. Don’t you always wonder what a living starfish feels like or how soft an anemone really is?
Here you can find out!
Starfish feel like the rocks they are attached to.
And an anemone is so delicate you can barely feel it.
After touching a sea urchin I can understand why stepping on one is such a terrible thing. It’s like a mat of wooden skewers! I thought it was cool how there were spines of different lengths.
This is what a living sand dollar looks like. They are kind of bristly.
We had seen a few of these on the beach. They are sea cucumbers. Weird. The body is firmer than you might think but the ‘spines’ are soft. They are actually a type of tentacle.
These little shrimp went shooting off whenever you got too close. No touching them!
The volunteer docent warned to watch out for a few critters in the touch tanks that really don’t care for being touched… and who might just touch you back!
“I pinch you man!”