JULY 15, 2005
In July of 2005 we decided to take a little trip to one of our favorite absurd towns in New York State - Alexandria Bay. A-Bay is rife with the daft, and our first stop - The Aqua Zoo - was no exception (just visit their state-of-the-art website if you need further proof!). When we arrived, we didn't waste time taking silly pictures of the building - we jumped right in to the Aqua Zoo, head first...and no we didn't drown - we were accosted with our first of many signs!
Believe me, with piranha and other fish that looked like this, for instance, I wasn't going harass the scaly residents!
They must have a lot of shenanigans take place in the Aqua Zoo, because the staff was, with one exception (we'll get to this later), a little too interested in what a couple of thirty-somethings were doing in their little tourist attraction. Trying to get pictures without causing attention was giving me fits. I don't think they necessarily cared that I was taking pictures, but I am not the chatty type and I try not to draw attention to myself as much as possible. Imagine the screech I had to stifle when we came around a corner and encountered this creature - straight out of a cheesy 1960s horror flick:
Then we saw this guy who had his own signs. He was very interested in giving eating demonstrations and tried giving us puppy-dog-eyes to make us feel sorry for him. We did not indulge him, as adorable and thrilling as this might have been:
We were considering feeding this smaller, hairier guy, but alas...
We squinted really hard at the tanks but we were having a hard time finding their little computers and printers in there. We're still stumped.
Well, after all this excitement, we were feeling pretty warm - this being July and all. Ham mentioned he'd enjoy something nice and cold and I could watch him eat it for free (haha, fishies!). We turned around and - BINGO! - imagine our luck!
What if I get the popsicle, but I don't enjoy it? Can we bring the popsicles inside? Did they know that was an ice cream bar and not a popsicle in the picture? We had to find out. We scrambled outside...
...and found an empty snack bar...devoid of staff. Disappointing! Although the door to the outside was wide open, inviting us to come out and enjoy a cool popsicle and all...there was nothing of note going on out there. The entire outdoor section was empty save for a kiddie slide and a strange pool. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun out there.
The first thing we noticed (after the disappointing empty snack bar) was this pool-type thing just daring us to throw stones in it. At it? I mean, I thought I was safe since I don't live in a glass house or anything...What was in there? Something dangerous? We had to know...
FILTHY WATER! YAY!
We took a picture of ourselves on the kiddie slide (I'll spare you that one), and then I noticed this view of the rooftop next door, where they must have been holding barbecues. Fried fish, anyone? Nevertheless, this seems kind of dangerous:
Turning 45 degrees to the left and approaching a short fence, we peered over the top and found these prehistoric dinosaurs trying to break into the Aqua Zoo. I don't know what they wanted - they weren't taking questions:
Back inside the zoo, we learned that many famous people had visited in the past, including this guy, Fish Fishburne, who is some sort of important person in bass fishing, like on ESPN or on the radio or something. I'm not up on my bass fishing. Important to note is that he is part of Team Grandma. Thank god.
Once again, I honestly don't know that we would have understood the Aqua Zoo properly without their unique signage. For instance, we'd never have figured out that this orange thing was a "Big Fishy Net" and the green one was a "Little Fishy Net":
My favorite sign in all of Aqua Zoo:
I mean honestly, you shouldn't have kids if you don't know they're living creatures!
For the school kids, there were these laminated sheets with probing questions, although I feel the one about the kid named Dory is just unfair. And "Who looks like a big, green snake?" is just asking for trouble...
Toward the end of the self-guided tour, the Aqua Zoo staff treated us to this prehistoric find:
What the hey? I feel sorry for this poor creature. I'm sure he's endured "Pinnochio-nose" taunts his entire life:
I just liked this dude's name:
Would you believe the Aqua Zoo even had a WHALE?!
So, all-in-all, we had a pretty entertaining time at the Aqua Zoo. We were disappointed by their trickery regarding consumable ice-cold foodstuffs, but the zoo was pretty much what we expected and hoped for. They had a lot of exotic animals - they even had an octopus we weren't supposed to even look at or think about, lest it exploded with ink. I know they do a wonderful job taking care of these little creatures. If you're ever in the A-bay area be sure and visit this daft little gem!
2021 UPDATE: When we returned to Alexandria Bay many years later (I believe it was summer 2017) Aqua Zoo no longer existed. In it's place was an exotic seafood restaurant. No, I am not kidding. I only hope none of the creatures pictured above made it onto the menu.