In the River Journey building, you start your tour in the lower levels where there is a wonderful display of seahorses but first I had to get past the Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) which, I guess, was the display creature of the day. For those who need to know such things, the horseshoe crab is ‘bled’ to obtain Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) which is an aqueous extract of amoebocytes. LAL reacts with bacterial endotoxin or lipopolysaccharide and it is this reaction which is the basis of a test called the LAL test. The LAL test is used in the pharmaceutical industry to detect the presence of, or quantity of, gram negative bacteria endotoxins. Prior to acceptance of this test, a rabbit test was used for this quality testing purpose. When I was an inspector of parenteral drug manufacturing sites back in the ’70s, this LAL test was still considered a new test method and was still undergoing validation procedures in parallel to testing in rabbits. I think that the ladies showing me their horseshoe crab were a bit surprised that I knew this much about their horseshoe crab:-). I was surprised at how little I had forgotten in 30 years! LOL
For some unknown reason, I had a very difficult time getting the camera to focus on the seahorses. Not sure why but eventually gave up, took a couple fo out of focus shots and decided to have a bit of PP fun with them. Lots and lots of seahorses on display though so don’t miss the real thing.
From the lower levels, you get to take a nice ride up a long escalator to the top of the freshwater tanks and then get to meander back down a series of inclined ramps past window after window of fresh water ecosystems displays but first you get to go through a very nice habitat area replicating Tennessee River woodlands.
In addition to the larger displays, there are many individual aquariums housing specialized fish and other creatures such as the colourful poisonous frogs.
Have no fear though, despite all of the non-fish creatures that are on display, there are still lots of places where the big fish can hang out.
Lots of fun! Easy to get lost in the corners looking at obscure little fish or counting dwarf seahorses.