Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turtle Time

I am old.  I am jaded.  I am haggard.  I don't drink decaf.  I'm not a morning person. I don't do cutesy poo.  I have seen a lot and it takes a lot to impress me.  The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island managed to do just that. Surprise!  And it's not even my birthday!

We hit the aquarium Labor Day weekend, because the crowds are virtually non existent and frankly, I prefer going when we actually can see the fish, as opposed to the rear ends of other tourists and when my ankles aren't faced with playing dodge ball with a bazillion oversized strollers.

For ages upon ages, in the waaaay back, waaaay buried right hand corner of the building, the aquarium housed a  non interactive exhibit about hurricanes.  I grew up in eastern NC & frankly, an exhibit about hurricanes was tantamount to looking into my family albums.  If I wanted to to relive such scary moments from my youth, I'll look at the geeky, pimply, braces pictures in my yearbooks in the privacy of my own home, thankyouverymuch.

This year as we rounded the corner and prepare to dodge the photographer who always wants to take our picture in front of a green screen ("act scared--they'll put a shark behind you when the pic is printed, for $20"), we saw that the little hurricane corner had changed.  It is now an uber cool, sea turtle rehab lab.  Granted it is super cute, but not so cutsey-poo that the whole experienced is dumbed down for the mere sake of increased sales of stuffed amphibians in the gift shop.

Upon arrival, the "lab techs" are asked to don their coats and choose their turtles.

Not since Beaker, has there been a lab tech this cute.

Once the girls got their turtles (I guess it was a bit much to ask Lulu to don a lab coat--she is 10 and a master of eyerolls), they went to the diagnosis tables.  The turtles (or Laverne & Shirley as I liked to call them) went up on the scanners and the "techs" ran blood tests and xrays and other diagnostic tests (which I forgot, because I'm old) to find out what ailed them (the turtles, not the techs).  What was so cool about this part is that due to some sort of technological wizardry, each of the girls had a turtle and each of those turtles had its own ailment--no one size sickness fits all here!  Maladies for everyone!

Diagnosis was obtained and Laverne and Shirley went to the treatment center.  Once again, each aliment was treated in its own specific manner.

Wax on.  Wax off.

Um, no thanks.

Once the turtles were treated, they went in a little "aquarium" to spin until they were ready for release.

Completely rehabilitated,  Laverne and Shirley were ready for re-release into the ocean.  I think I may have shed a tear.  We had bonded.  I was like their grandmother.  We waved goodbye and took some pictures.  God speed our good friends!  Tell Lenny and Squiggy hi!

They grow up so fast :(
My intellect thanks you, NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  Kudos for coming up with an interactive exhibit that actually teaches kids and enthralls parents.  Thank you for thinking first of education and not increased sales in the gift shop based upon some cutesy poo cartoon turtle.  The Sound and the Fury had a great time AND they learned.

Like the Terminator, we will be back!

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