Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Marine Scinece Laboratory

Low tide at Pac City is a veritable aquatic laboratory…but more on that later. Yesterday (Monday) we took a motor trip south on Highway 101 to Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We have been there before, but Tru is staying with us and you have to keep going back to these places for them to really sink in. Besides, we needed something to do other than walk and do old people stuff.

So the Little Prince rode his chariot (car seat) in the “president” position and we headed south: Lincoln City and all its traffic then the next 15 miles along some of the most scenic highway in the world as you view the Pacific on the way to Newport. (I question if the highly touted Northern California coast is more beautiful than this...)

The Aquarium is well done with its habitats for small creatures and large including tunnels inside of fish tanks that you walk through containing everything from salmon to sharks. They have outside exhibits of sea otters, sea lions, an aviary of aquatic birds and several places where you experience the tidal effects on shorelines.

There is one display that reminded us of our “front yard” (which, of course, is the Pacific itself) and the creatures we see at low tide. I mentioned some of those the other day…but today, due to our trip to the Aquarium, I know can name a few more creatures and understand what they are all about.

So today, Aleene and Tru (and me to a lesser extent) spent 1 ½ hours checking out tide pools (water left in and around big rocks when the tide goes out) and their contents. We found that if you move the kelp leaves around you reveal all sorts of things that use them for cover. The starfish, the sea urchins, and the anemones dominate the sights, but the hermit crabs and the kelp crabs (notice I know the names today) are in abundance. Tru was taken by the hermit crabs that hide inside the shells belonging to someone else; fun for kids of all ages.

While the weather in the Valley where we live is still hot (upper 80s today) we are cool here in the upper 60s with brilliant sunshine. But the week comes to a close Wednesday as we head east for the 50 mile trip over the mountains and reality of the hot 4th of July weekend.

The time with Tru has been fun. He has handled the separation well after the first five minutes feeling very low as his family pulled out. The bunnies have provided a diversion and they truly love carrots so that can take a lot of time.

But I gotta say, the science lab across the street…especially at low tide…has been his favorite.

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