Monday, June 01, 2009

The Palm Pavilion and Clearwater Marine Aquarium

It's Day 3 of our Tampa Bay beach vacation. We started out by going to the Palm Pavilion in Clearwater for lunch. Have you noticed that we can't seem to do anything before lunch? In Florida, there's nobody to tell you when to get up or what to do. You don't even have to shave or comb your hair. Just wear a hat and sunglasses and you'll fit right in.

We enjoyed the view of the beach from the veranda and just watched the world go by. I like the motto the Palm Pavilion has on their t-shirts and cups, "There's no place like this place anywhere near this place, so this must be the place." We saved the paper cups from our drinks for collecting sea shells, and went for a walk along Clearwater beach. It's my favorite beach for people watching.

We didn't really have a set hour by hour schedule. I had in mind to go sight seeing where we could retreat into air conditioning during the heat of the day. The time of day for being at the beach in the water would be later in the afternoon, and then we'd stay to enjoy the sunsets.

Nicholas the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

This is the only day of our vacation where we actually did have something scheduled. We had a reservation for 1pm to go on a boat ride at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It's called the Sea Life Safari Ecotour. We looked around the aquarium and then got on the boat for a tour of Clearwater Harbor. The captain did a good job of pointing out some of the historic and fabulous estates that were along the shore. It was a point of view you could only see from the water and would miss driving by on the road.

A heron and roseate spoonbills in a bird sanctuary.

They cast a net overboard and pulled up sea life. One of the scientific tasks CMA does is to take regular inventories of the sea life here. They had a large tank to put the sea life in. Then they transferred the fish into smaller aquariums to show everyone. Other sea life, like the sea urchin in the above photo, were passed around. The spines of the sea urchin were sharp.

The back of the spider crab was soft like velvet.

Then we went to an island in Clearwater Harbor to go shelling.

Someone found a large horse conch in the process of eating a whelk. I've never seen anything like it. I find sea shells like the whelk often and wondered how the mollusk inside was cleaned out leaving a perfect shell behind.

After the boat tour we got in the car to go beach hopping.

More photos of Clearwater.

1 comment:

  1. Cute Dolphin and the name too... and Wow! clean clear water....