Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Section

Our Day at Mote Marine

Our Day at Mote Marine

Tampa Bay
Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 10:45am
Tampa
Florida

By Pat Watson: Photos by Dave Hutchinson:On Sunday, November 18th, thirty-four members of the Tampa Bay Section took advantage of the perfect weather to take a drive to Mote Marine Aquarium on City Island in Sarasota. It is always encouraging to see a good turn out for an event, especially with members coming from many different Florida locations. The day was fabulous, in the low 70’s with a cool breeze blowing off the glistening gulf. The aquarium was relatively quiet on an early Sunday morning, so our group was able to leisurely wander through the facility together. Mote Marine has two buildings. The aquarium is home to different species of fish and marine life. The mammal center houses animals that call the seas, rivers, and watersheds their home. The group began at the aquarium where we started with freshwater Florida, including crawfish and a moray eel. The moray eel looked bright green, even though it is really brown. It took some of us a while to find him in the tank. It was even more difficult with the rockfish, which are masters of camouflage. We continued on to view colorful creatures that inhabit the coral reefs and grass flats, including seahorses, jellyfish, sharks and (YUM) lots of big grouper. Along the way, docents were available to answer questions about what we were viewing and point out things we might have missed. We later went to the mammal center across the street, where we viewed turtles, manatees,crocodiles, and river otters. From observations of the group, it appeared that the river otters stole the show with their playful antics. The shark tank was a close second favorite and the petting tanks third. Some of our group was brave enough to pet the baby sharks and stingrays. I managed to lose the group when they went into the “Oh Baby” exhibit and took some extra time watching the otters play. Mote Marine is actually quite large with lots to see and places to lose a group of 30 plus! So while thereisn’t enough room in the newsletter to print everything we saw on Sunday, we encourage anyone who missed the event to visit Mote Marine Aquarium. Lunch was at the Chart House on Longboat Key. Therestaurant did a great job of setting up for our group including printing a welcome message onthe menus. Tables were set up along the window to provide a fabulous view of the intercoastal. After looking at all the fish, some of us (me) did not have an appetite for fish, so shrimp, chicken, orbeef was our choice (we didn’t see any at Mote Marine). There were many other options to pick from. The service and food were exceptional! The best part of the event, of course, is meeting new membersand seeing old friends. We hope to see everyone at the next event and encourage members to join our monthly meetings to help plan future events.