Feb 25, 2006

Blue Zoo Beijing aquarium

Beijing has two nice aquariums. Previously I'd been to the Beijing Aquarium, and recently I went to the Blue Zoo Beijing, which is a bit smaller but it has exhibits that are more carefully thought out and with more useful informational displays. Professional, well-planned illustrations discuss tropical reef destruction and the evils of eating shark fin. There's a glass enclosed moving walkway that snakes through the main tank. Every couple hours there was a shark and fish feeding show that consisted of a woman wearing a mermaid costume swimming about in the tank, which seemed to be the clear highlight for the Chinese visitors I encountered.

The rumors I had heard have now been confirmed: you can go scuba diving in the main tank. However, aside from the novelty of it, I doubt how fun it would be. The tank is only 15-20 feet deep at most, and you can see more marine life from inside the walkway. At 380 RMB (US $47) for a 30 minute “dive”, this activity is pricey. It would certainly be the most expensive dive I've every done. And given the shallow depth and water clarity, snorkeling is probably a better option.

From inside the walkway, I was able to see one novice diver inside the tank. A diving “coach” swam directly above the student, holding her tank. Both divers wore full wetsuits and no BCD. Each diver only had one regulator. The student's regulator and hose were bright yellow, so apparently they took the instructor's octopus and used it as the student's primary. Who needs that extra reg, anyway? True scuba divers know octopuses are strictly for insecure poseurs. They're just a scam by Mares and Aqualung to get dives to spend more money. The Chinese can't be fooled to buy needless extra equipment like we silly Americans. :)

There were some titan triggerfish in the main tank, and thanks to the clear walkway you could get much closer than you'd dare to on a dive. Have a look at those chompers! I wouldn't want to have those buck teeth sunk into my skin if I mistakenly trespassed in his nesting area.

The stonefish exhibit was nice too. There were a handful of lionfish and some stonefish together, allowing a closer look than you'd get elsewhere.


Anonymous Petal said...

Which would you recommend as I only have time to visit the Beijing Aquarium or the Blu Zoo?

1:43 PM  

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