Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 - Roanoke, North Carolina Aquarium, Jockey's Ridge, Kill Devil Hills

The Wheres:

Roanoke Island
North Carolina Aquarium
Jockey's Ridge State Park
Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills

I started the day by actually getting up before the sun and trying to get a decent picture of the sunrise. Here's the sun just about to break over horizon from one of the M.C. Escher-like balconies of the beach house.

We roused the troops and marched into Roanoke for a quick look around near the visitor's center and the nearby docks.

A local was nice enough to take this for us

Southern Wax Myrtle (female)

From there we purchased a family membership at the Roanoke location for the North Carolina Aquarium (and all the reciprocal benefits that entails).

Corn Snake

Copperhead (Water Moccasin?)


So... apparently if you're a dude turtle (slider) and you want to impress a girl turtle you whip out your claws and show them off. Except, you don't so much as show them off but you shake them at high speed, palms out, in the face of your intended mating partner. Subtlety is not a reptilian skill.

Moving on to the sea turtle exhibit...

Although the sea turtle "rehabilitation station" was targeted towards younger kids, that didn't stop our two teenagers and one nearly-teenager from having fun. You pick up your plastic turtle from the BUCKET OF TURTLE and place it on a table to be "analyzed" and diagnosed with an injury or illness. (RFID tags inside the turtle queue the sensor at the stations to interact with the turtle.)

After your turtle has been doctored up you drop them in the turtle disco where they dance their troubles away by spinning around until healed. YES.

The now perfectly healthy turtles are then released into the shark-infested waters of the open sea...

...where they magically appear back in the turtle bucket. Those crazy turtles, always getting into trouble. LOL.

Over at the big shark tank two willing victims were answering questions for the crowd that had gathered around in the hopes that some horrible accident would occur. One diver answered questions with her magnetic swipper board while the other diver kept the sharks at a safe distance with a striped stick. Not an electrified death wand, just a striped stick. The lines on the stick act as a visual barrier to the sharks.

The shark menu: "mackerel, blue runner & sardines" 


So tempted to Photoshop a lightsaber over that stick 
The largest shark in the tank, a female tiger, weighs in at around 400 lbs and was about 12 feet long. So 400 lbs of shark muscle and teeth vs a PVC pole with a pattern on it. Ladies, that's pretty darn impressive. I'd add that they never hit or even poked the sharks with the stick; all she did was place it in front of the other diver or use it to direct the sharks over her head. 

Esther pokes an urchin

Octopus under the blue light

Next up on this very busy day- Jockey's Ridge: the tallest sand dunes on the eastern coast! The picture below does a great job of giving the scale. There's the lighthouse we were just climbing up a couple of days ago and the dunes that are about half that height.

So. Much. Sand.

It was like all the beaches I've ever been to air-lifted and dropped into one giant multi-acre plot of land.

I did not know that mushrooms grew in sand

From the boardwalk, the tallest dunes in the distance

Those dots on the horizon are people

Our final stop for the day was at the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills (not Kitty Hawk- the telegram was sent from Kitty Hawk, the actual flying stuff happened at Kill Devil Hills!) This is amazing not only for the incredible monument at the top of the hill but because it was the actual location where the first flights happened. This is something I've wanted to see ever since my Schoolhouse Rock Saturday mornings.

Replica planes

The actual sewing machine used to modify fabric on the first glider



What's behind this door?

Gallery of pictures
Tracklog of our hike at Jockey's Ridge
Tracklog of the walk around the Wright Brothers Memorial

No comments:

Post a Comment