Originally posted 01 Oct 2017

Pet A Stingray

Did I want to do this? NOPE. So why did I do it? Well… I can’t fully describe it, but there is an INCREDIBLY unsettling feeling that washes over you the moment that you realize that your kid is braver than you are. Don’t judge me. You’ve been there before, haven’t you? I mean, I’ve definitely been there before. I talked about the time that I took Noodle zip-lining in Full Bucket List, and originally in Bucket List (Eight Update) (it took me until just now to realize that I originally titled this the “eight update” instead of “eighth update”… And not of single one of you corrected me. So, it stays).
He got a chuckle out of the fact that dad was/is afraid of heights and would repeatedly ask me how I was doing. I’m the parent! I should be asking you how you are doing, not the other way around! But thanks for your concern, I looked down and froze for a second there… I didn’t actually say any of that to him, but I sure did think it. Ok, back to the stingray.

We could not have picked a worse day to go to the aquarium. When I picked him up it was raining a bit and was only supposed to get worse so I figured that we should go find an indoor activity to do. I decided on the aquarium. EVERY other parent in the tri-state area also decided on the aquarium that day. The drive? Filled with traffic. Once we got close we had to take a bunch of detours due to… You know, I never actually found out what was going on there. Then the parking lot that we were detoured to was reserved for an event happening later that night. I mean, we got there around 11am and the event wasn’t until 9pm… But yea, that makes sense. Anyhoo… We finally parked and started to make our way to the ticket booth. As soon as we stepped foot outside of the parking garage my umbrella got turned inside out. The line actually went pretty fast though, and for once I actually remembered to ask for a military discount.

We got inside and got something to eat. I admit, the ride and rain may not have been that bad. It may or may not have to deal with the fact that I was a little hangry. Skinny guys gotta eat! Ok, I need to make a quick point here. I always get funny looks when I say “skinny guys gotta eat”. You don’t know the struggle! In a survival situation, if I’m starving and need to count on my body to live off of itself I’m screwed. I have to eat the instant that I become hungry because you just never know. This metabolism is as much of a curse as it is a “gift”. Alright, back to fish-world.

Noodle and I eat/ people watch and then start to make our way to this new shark exhibit that the aquarium had. Everyone else was also making their way to that exhibit, so we cut through the gift shop (we do what we want). After the shark exhibit we made our way through every other part of the aquarium, and the crowd actually died down a bit. Then we got to the petting station. Now listen, I LOVE fish, but the fish that I have had as pets were Cichlids, not the ones that you’d want to go sticking your finger into the water around.

He pet a baby shark and gave me the “you aren’t doing it too” look. Crap. I stuck my hand in the water and pet the shark too. Then was the starfish. They do NOT look like creatures that enjoy being touched. Their bodies have spikes on them, how is this not a sign!? Again, he pet them and gave me the look. I pet them. Then the sea cucumbers. I just gagged a little thinking about them. Yes, we touched them. Then, the moment we came for. The stingray exhibit!

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one, but here’s what it’s like. You weave your way through a crowd of people, i mean you forcefully weave your way through the crowd. Then you wait for someone who has a good spot to get distracted so you can squeeze in front of them and pretend that you didn’t notice. I did a “cutsy” and I’m completely ok with it, that kid should have been paying attention. Now, Noodle and I have a front row seat. The stingrays (this just hit me, their name is “Stingray”, a name that in no way says “please touch me”) swim around pretty quickly and you have to dart your hand in the water to touch them as they swim by. But you have to “use two fingers, and be gentle so that they don’t get upset”. Um. Excuse me? Noodle, the fearless one touched every stingray in that tank. I touched two. The two that came so close that part of their fins were out of the water.

Until next time, please touch?


P.S. I really can not say enough about this picture. After the stingray assault, on our way out the door, we bumped into a guy drawing pictures. I know this is going to sound like a typical dad in a typical father-son moment but I kid you not (get it!?), we walked out of there with the best picture that that guy had drawn all day. Annddd, I forgot to tip him, so I had to go back and do the awkward “hey, I think you dropped this” thing, don’t judge me. I really could write an entire post about how amazing this part of the trip was… Hmm… Maybe I will.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. CLEvangelism says:

    Ha, ha. I’m all over that. From a distance, of course. 😉


    1. Haha I’ll get started on a t-shirt design

      Liked by 1 person

  2. CLEvangelism says:

    I love this post, and I admit I pet my share of rays when I traveled and visited aquariums, but now that I have watched a mandatory “please do not touch the wildlife” video at Hanauma Bay on Oahu (where fish you normally see in an aquarium swim right up to you as you wade into the water) and now that I have followed The Dodo and other animal advocacy pages on Facebook for years, I think all these touch tanks have done more harm than good. As you said, starfish have spikes — how is that not a sign that they don’t want to be touched?! Ignorant people would say those are to ward off predators, but, hi, humans are the worst predators of all. Look at all the jerks dragging (literally dragging!) sharks onto the shore for a selfie, for example…


    1. That sounds like a pretty interesting video actually, I’ll have to look it up. But yea, you and I should start the “don’t touch me” revolution!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jad says:

    Love it!!
    Rays are awesome, I often swam with them back home in Australia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That just sent a shiver down my spine lol they kill people, don’t swim there

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Jad says:

      Rays usually swim around and mind their own business. It is extremely rare that they have ANY interaction with people. Those in aquariums have had their sting removed.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I know that they remove the stingers of the captive ones… That too is a sign haha

      Liked by 2 people

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