If you need an excuse to visit the aquarium with the kids, the band new jellyfish exhibition, Ocean Invaders, is good reason to do so.
Review written by Thuy On, photos by Kit Haselden
The “Ocean Invaders”(thus called because they love warmer ocean conditions and due to climate change their numbers are increasing) are a permanent addition to this watery wonderland and introduces several species never seen before at the aquarium.
The overall set up has been beautifully conceived, from the wallpaper with simple graphic designs of these ovaline or umbrella-shaped creatures, to the push button information modules, to the various display units designed to best showcase these translucent, ghostly globules.
The sheer joy wandering around the necessarily darkened and neon spaces (all the better to see the jellyfish lit up like supernatural spectres) is marvelling at the different kinds floating about like puffs of air. You’ll find out their names, size and weight, habitats and distribution. My favourite is the Lion’s Mane: pinkish in colour and with up to 1,200 trailing tentacles, they are like puffs of fairy floss. Other wonderfully-named species include blue blubber, upside down, mauve stinger and the big red jelly.
There’s even a Jelly Lab, which shows the life cycle of these eerie creatures (and where you can see tiny little ones swimming about) and learn some fascinating facts about them, like how an adult jellyfish is called a medusa (the juveniles are called ephyra). Other jellyfish factoids are printed in large font and scattered about on the walls around the displays (for instance, some species of baby fish hide among jellyfish tentacles for protection.)
As with a lot of aquarium exhibits, there’s an interactive element for the younger kids: a large open space towards the end where you can create a digital jellyfish that will be projected onto the enormous screen. There’s also a cylindrical tank to crawl through to get up close to them.
These Ocean Invaders are Included in the admission price of the aquarium, and are well worth checking out after the mandatory penguin, manta rays and rock pool visits.