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I love visiting zoos and aquariums — at least most of them. I believe they offer an excellent chance for people to see and study our planet’s fellow inhabitants, and that they are one of the most important conservation tools available to us. People are much more likely to conserve animals and ecosystems they have an emotional tie to. As a life-long student of biology and nature, I always find something new and fun everytime I go.
Boston’s New England Aquarium, while far from the biggest or best, is a nice place to spend a day with a family. It is a popular tourist destination, hosting more than a million visitors each year. Besides the aquatic attractions within the Aquarium …
The finest aquarium I’ve had the privilege of visiting is in Monterey, California. Built alongside the old sardine canneries of Cannery Row (a site immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novella of the same name), you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the underwater world when you visit.
There’s dozens of great exhibits, but there are two that are my favorites — the jellyfish, and this one, the Kelp Forest tank. I’ve spent a lot of time watching this latter tank because there seems to be no end as to what’s going on. A giant shape approaches in the tank, only to be broken into thousands of individual sardines as the school splits apart. The moving light and shadows of the kelp, the sharks …
One of Toronto’s newest big attractions is Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, with underwater creatures and habitats from across the globe. It’s in a fabulous location, on the harborfront adjoining the CN Tower, Rogers Center and the Convention Center. The aquarium is said to be the largest in North America (with more tank capacity than even the Monterey Bay aquarium, making it one of the top five by size in the world). It has a great architectural design reminding me of a massive whale with it’s mouth open ready to gobble up the tourist throngs and their cash. The complex is massive and sprawling, at 12,500 sq m (135,000 sq ft) and with 5.7 million …
“Cannery Row…is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”
— John Steinbeck, from his novel ‘Cannery Row’
Wow! With a beautifully written introduction like that, who wouldn’t want to visit this place? Cannery Row is my favorite novel by American author John Steinbeck. It may not be his best book, but it’s the first of his I’d read and the one that made me a fan. Published in 1945, Cannery Row is set in Monterey, California during the Great Depression, near a waterfront street lined by sardine canneries. The book’s setting is secondary to the narrative and the many colorful characters Steinbeck develops. Steinbeck wrote a sequel to Cannery Row, called Sweet Thursday, some 10 years later, a much less interesting novel in my opinion (as …
There are two types of places I enjoy visiting in my urban travels — aquariums and libraries. I love libraries because of their architecture, the thousands of wonderful books, and I find the quality of a library tells me a lot about the values of a city’s citizens and government. I like to visit aquariums because they’re so much fun! Where else for a few bucks can you be transported to a different world? I can easily lose myself for most of a day in a good aquarium.
The largest stretch of (relatively) flat land on Maui is the valley between the two volcanoes, Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. This area is commonly called “Central Maui” and it’s here most locals live. “Upcountry Maui” refers to those communities that lie within a thousand meters or so of sea level on the lower slopes of Haleakala abutting Central Maui, an area that tends to be cooler and greener and that’s popular with cowboys and ranchers. “South Maui” refers to the stretch of coast on Haleakala’s southwestern rain-shadow, just south of Central Maui. South Maui is a very dry and popular tourist area with great beaches, upscale resorts and lots of golf.
Besides its thousands of homes, Central Maui is mostly …