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Nancy Parode

Aquariums: Year-Round Fun for Young and Old

By December 6, 2012

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Rain or shine, there's always something to see and do in an aquarium. Sharks, penguins, dolphins, rays - marine creatures are popular because they are not only interesting to watch, but they also have a kind of mystique. We don't know everything about marine creatures, so a new discovery might be right around the corner.

Yesterday I visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, Louisiana. The aquarium was crowd-free; we could get close to each tank to look at the fish, frogs, snakes, otters and, of course, the sharks. Although I've visited aquariums all over the United States, I learned a lot about the Mississippi River ecosystem and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico during my visit.

This local focus makes each aquarium special. In Newport, Kentucky, you can learn about life in river ecosystems at the Newport Aquarium. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, teaches visitors about California's kelp beds and the creatures that live there. In New Orleans, you'll learn how offshore oil drilling platforms can turn into artificial reefs (pictured) and discover the differences between the Amazon River's ecosystem and the Mississippi River's life forms.

If you're planning an aquarium visit and want to bring children or grandchildren along, we have some tips that will help you make the most of your experience.

Photo © Old Line Photography. Licensed to About.com.

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