“Megalodon… I KNOW, I KNOW! It was a long time ago!”
“Yep, no extinct, massive creature.”
“We should be able to find it.”
“Likely in the same tank. Eh, you might see sharks too.”
“Yes, but they’re smaller and less scary than you think. Unlike in movies,” I clarify. I remember being obsessed with Jaws, much like Mark is obsessed with The Meg, and feeling both a bit disappointed and relieved by the average size of a great white shark.
I’m never going to admit I loved watching Jaws as a kid, though. I’m boring-mommy-who-hates-movies to Mark (who has no idea Feng and I go to the theatre without him whenever we get the chance…).
“I’m going to be sooooo sad if we can’t go. That’s a long walk!”
“I hope we can get tickets, but we’ve never been to AquaRio, so I can’t promise. I don’t want a Beijing zoo experience,” I add for Feng.
By “Beijing zoo experience,” I mean the kind of attraction where you spend your time fighting your way through the crowd. I saw the backs of two million Chinese without actually catching a glimpse of a panda even though I was taller than most people.
The Aquário Marinho do Rio de Janeiro, or “AquaRio,” is the largest marine aquarium in South America and the newest attraction in Rio—it just opened in 2016. Mark was brainwashed by the advertising at the airport and since aquariums are kind of cool and rare, we promised we would try to go.
The day has come.
We took the subway from Botafogo to Uruguaiana, then crossed the empty Centro—it’s dead quiet on weekends, everything is closed. The walk from Praça Mauá (where the Museu do Amanhã is located) to AquaRio is nice with large murals on the warehouses of the revitalized port zone, but it’s also very hot and there’s no shade so the two Canadians are complaining.
AquaRio wasn’t as crowded as I thought it may be. Buying tickets (110 reais for an adult, i.e. $30) was easy and just like that, the visit started.
We discovered lobsters, stingrays, octopuses, giant crabs and many other creatures I rarely get to see. Mark was actually impressed.
The main feature of the aquarium is the tunnel that passes in the middle of the Great Ocean Tank—yes, that’s where you can see the sharks (and also buy a pão de queijo, no kidding, there’s a kiosk selling them in the middle of the visit!).
Taking pictures inside the aquarium was hard—reflections, poor light, etc. I like the shark ones, though!