Seahorse World is located on the same wharf at Beauty Point as Platypus House, however one attraction was enough in a day for our energy levels, and we came back to visit the seahorses on a new day.
I’m still learning to parent gently on my own and am gaining practice in letting go of false economies of time and money as I guide us in family harmony. So although we could have visited the seahorses at the same time as the platypuses, we didn’t. We went away, camped in the bush, and then returned with fresh minds.
As soon as we start our tour, we're interested to a number of different varieties of mature seahorses in their tanks.
The tanks also include a number of small fry that hatched last night. At Seahorse World, most of the babies are removed to a "nursery" tank, but these ones missed collection.
Seahorses don't have scales like other fish, just skin that stretches over their exoskeleton.
Seahorses wrap their tails around anything and everything when they're at rest. When they swim, they're the slowest fish in the ocean.
As we pass the tanks, Lali lectures us on seahorse facts and how the facility works. Seahorse World cultivates and raises fish to sell commercially. Seahorses are endangered worldwide, and so facilities like this one help preserve the population in the wild by cultivating specimens for aquariums worldwide.
These are the breeding tanks of Seahorse World. The female deposits eggs into the male seahorse's pouch. He fertilises them by releasing sperm into the surrounding water. The male later gives birth to live young.
The seahorse are fed defrosted tiny shrimp which they "suck" up through their snout.
All these smaller tubs are nurseries for the seahorse fry. They are fed live brine shrimp (commonly known as "sea monkeys").
Brioni examines the specimen jar of sea monkeys.
This is the interim tank where the babies grow into adults. Full-grown seahorses are kept in here to guide the smaller ones on how to behave and especially, how to start eating the dead shrimp. In the wild, seahorses only eat live food, but this habit doesn't suit seahorse owners who prefer to be able to feed them frozen food that is defrosted.
A dead, lacquered seahorse is passed around for us to handle. The girls aren't too impressed with it. "It doesn't feel real," they complain.
Another room contains more aquariums with interesting fish, like these sea dragons.
Sea dragons living in shallow water of less than a metre in depth, and this makes them more sensitive to environmental changes.
Brioni is especially enthralled by these cowfish. The males have spots and stripes whereas the females only wear stripes.
One of the highlights is getting to hold and pet the spider crab. It's missing two legs, but these will grow back within a few years.
Almost as an afterthought, a very interesting cross-diagram of a seahorse's anatomy is on display near the exit.
Although Seahorse World was interesting, it wasn’t quite as child-friendly as Platypus House. I had to lift the girls to see into many of the aquarium displays, and the tour guide was distracted as she led us around. We could have learned a lot more from our tour, but instead were left to read the labels ourselves and figure out what was interesting about the creatures were were seeing. We had fun, but it wasn’t great… except for holding the crab — _that_ was great!