My son Nathan asks me at least once a week if dragons are real. Born in the Year of the Dragon (also the current year), I tell him yes, and point out the many, many dragons all over town. And remind him of the Komodo Dragon. He is largely unsatisfied with this answer, hoping instead of a lifelike topiary bush carefully carved into something like a dragon, for something with wings and fiery breath.
Today we saw two dragons. Neither had wings, but both could fly, if you count "flying" through the water. We visited the nearby Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, which was quite impressive. Especially in comparison with our last aquarium experience across town, with the 3-D movie in the storage closet... This closer one is on a one-way path, and boasts the world's largest underwater viewing tunnel. We took a lot of photos, and grimaced through a lot of people taking photos of us (really? I'm more fascinating that the incredible jellyfish displays?). But this is China and they were out-of-town tourists happy to snap at any strange new thing.
If I were the kind of dragon Nathan wishes could be in the world today, I could have flapped my tiny wings and protected us from the flashbulbs with fire of my own. But alas, we had to pretend, putting all the pressure on the magnificent Dragon Moray Eel and the stunning Chinese Water Dragon to protect us with their crowd-pleasing stunning beauty while we made it away safe and sound.
The one that looks like an eel with horns is the Dragon Moray Eel. The lizard-like creature is the Chinese Water Dragon. They have overnight camp experiences at the Aquarium, I wonder if either dragon might let his smokey guard down long enough for us to witness some flames when they think no one is looking. I'll report back if I do. We purchased a yearlong pass since it is right up the road and kids and fish are a good idea, especially the way the aquarium is broken down by regions and eras which keeps it interesting. I loved the special exhibit most, all about the very dangerous fish and creatures in the river and water around Shanghai. Nothing like thinking about whether the food you just ate from a street stall might kill you while you look at fish that could also finish the job if you jump in! No thank you.
We'll definitely return, we got the family annual membership. If nothing else, it's a great place to spend a blazingly hot and humid day which has low lights and blasting a/c. And real dragons.
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