Made in China: Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and Insect Kingdom

Before going to China, I had this sudden urge to go to Manila Ocean Park. I haven’t been there but I suddenly wanted to go after I remembered the exhibits in the Hong Kong branch. Shanghai doesn’t have a branch but they have the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium with the world’s longest underwater viewing tunnel at 155m. Part of my desire to go to Manila Ocean Park was to see the sharks and luckily, Shanghai has them!
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is home to standard aquatic creatures like stingrays, penguins, jellyfish, seals and ducks but it also had strange creatures as well. I made the mistake of not getting their names, so yeah. Fail.
The aquarium has a special section housing the unique species that live in the Huangpu River. I like how the Chinese love their culture, it’s inspiring.
The start of the travellator. The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has the longest underwater tunnel in the world. It houses sharks, turtles, and a large number of aquatic species. I was so spellbound that it inspired me to get a religion. Who else could make such beautiful creatures?

The sharks! We caught them during feeding time. Actually, we arrived when they were about to be fed so we rushed to the tanks, thinking we were the ones who were going to feed them. We didn’t even bother looking at the other displays because we were so eager to see the sharks. They were at the end of the tour and we were disappointed to see that we were only going to watch divers feed them. Horror struck us when we realized we couldn’t go back anymore. The end of the tour went straight to the gift shop, food court and the exit. We explained the situation to the manager and it was a good thing I took random pictures so he believed us. He let us back in and we got to enjoy the sharks again.

One of my favorite rooms in the aquarium was the one dedicated to saving sharks. They included facts and news and a timeline of how people are abusing them. The most horrifying tale is the one about shark finning, or the removal of a shark’s fin for the production of shark’s fin soup, a luxury item in the world of cuisine. According to the information given, the removal of the fin (finning) takes place at sea so fishermen don’t need to carry the entire fish. Most of the time, they would just slice the fin off and throw the shark back to the sea to bleed to death. The demand for shark’s fin has risen dramatically because of the middle class becoming richer and has resulted in the capture of 70 million sharks a year as of 2010. The worst thing is, the fin doesn’t even contribute to the flavor of the soup.

Our next stop was the Shanghai Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom, a short walk from Oriental Pearl Tower and the Ocean Aquarium. The place didn’t meet my expectations.

They did have a cute array of mammals, from the sugar glider to a species of monkey none of us could identify. The sugar glider is a marsupial found in Australia known for their preference of eating sweet sap from species of eucalyptus, acacia and gum trees. I found this out while I was making this entry and all the while I thought they were called sugar gliders because of their wide eyes and constant shaking.

They also had rabbits, hamsters, a goat, mice, and an owl. You can pet most of these.

Their collection of bugs was disappointing. They only had a few and most of them were in little cages in aquariums, making them hard to see and appreciate. The big ones weren’t interesting and I even found one struggling to get on its feet. It was sad. The Butterfly Garden in Sentosa, Singapore was far more interesting.

The turtles and reptiles were more fascinating and extensive. The lizard exhibits had the right amount of freak in it so it compensated for the lack of insects. The turtles were okay but there has got the something wrong with an insect museum with more turtles in it.

The best part of the museum was this man-made lake teeming with carps. For Y10 (P70) an hour, you can rent a net and bucket where you can try to catch the fish. You can keep the ones that you catch but it was really tough. These fish have been abused so they know when and where to hide. Most of them would swim to the bottom of the bridge where no human could access them. I guess that was why they allowed guests to keep the fish they caught – if you can catch them. My brother did manage to catch one but put it back because he had no idea where to put it. Besides, we had two other places to go.
There was a room where you could custom-make your own insect but it looked too kiddie so we skipped it.
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is a must-visit if you like underwater creatures or would want to marvel over the wonderful creations of God. You can skip the Natural Wild-Insect Kingdom.

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