Exploring Aquarium du Québec – review

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One of the residents was checking me out, too

Looking for something to do on a dreary rainy afternoon, my friend and I took a short car ride from near downtown Quebec to the Aquarium du Québec. Within seconds of parking, we were met with a polar bear and two Vikings sailing across the lot…this was going to be interesting.

Reasonably priced at $20 for adults, the park is a combination of indoor pavilions and outdoor displays, the latter of which include several tanks of marine mammals, as well as an expansive playground and wetland park for the more energetic kids (of any age).

The main pavilion is set up to reflect the local aquatic scene, with freshwater displays of fish found in the St. Lawrence basin on one floor and marine fishes more representative of the open ocean on the other level. Although the lighting is quite bright on the aquatic level, which makes sense given the shallower waters, the lighting is much darker on the marine level, which can make photography of the constantly moving fish somewhat challenging.

For me though, the second pavilion was where all the excitement was, starting with a large almost pitch black display of jellyfish in different tanks lit from below in ever-shifting colours. As I quickly noted in checking my camera, the light effects can make for significant artistic flare.

One disappointment, however, was a display called Awesome Ocean, which was essentially a walk-through coral reef that curves overhead. Although the display itself was quite nice, offering glimpses of beautifully colourful fish, the entire display couldn’t have been more than 12 feet long, so the immersive effect was almost impossible.

Another challenge to the indoor pavilions is that many of the paths the wind around the displays are relatively narrow, meaning that you are constantly at risk of stumbling over the flotilla of strollers that seemed to be everywhere that day. This was particularly problematic in the jellyfish display, where many cylindrical tanks required you to criss-cross the room.

Despite having visited many better designed and larger aquariums—including Toronto’s new Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada—I had a good time at the Aquarium du Québec, and definitely recommend it as a destination particularly for traveling families. Whether in the playground, watching the seals or scrambling from tank to tank in the dark, young kids will find plenty to do, particularly on a cloudy day.

Back to the Aquarium – Everybody Else

And after the sharks, the jelly fish, the rays and the reef, there is all of the other amazing animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto.

See also: Shark Tank, Jelly Fish & Friends, Reef Madness and Call Me Ray

Back to the Aquarium – Reef madness

For its sheer variety of creatures and its rainbow mosaic of colours, the coral reef displays are high on my list when visiting the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto.

See also: Shark Tank and Jelly Fish & Friends

Back to the Aquarium – Shark Tank

Last Friday, I took my wonderful friend Victoria to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto, her first time there and my second. And of course, I had my camera along (which means I can only suspect Victoria was there, my face buried in my camera as it was).

Today’s pics are of the tunnel through the shark tank. Other photos will appear over the next several days.

PS I welcome you to check out Victoria’s blog: Victoriously.

Odds and sods at Toronto’s new aquarium

Okay…there is absolutely no theme to today’s photos from the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada except that there is no theme.

See also photos of: sharks, coral reef, jelly fish, interactive displays and dangerous fishes.

Deep and dangerous at Toronto’s new aquarium

An assortment of photos that don’t necessarily follow a tight pattern from my trip to Ripleys Aquarium of Canada here in Toronto.

See also photos of the shark, coral reef, jelly fish, and interactive exhibits

Coral reef at Toronto’s new aquarium

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada finally opened in Toronto.

Today, I am posting some photos from their coral reef exhibits.

Sharks at Toronto’s new aquarium

I love aquariums, both the smaller home version and the larger amusement park versions. Thus, after bemoaning the absence of one in Toronto (the largest frickin’ city in Canada), you can only imagine my enthusiasm when the Ripley’s company said they would build one in Toronto near two other major city landmarks, the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre.

Well, last month, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada finally opened, and on Wednesday, I finally visited it.

Over the next few days, I will display some of the photos I took at the aquarium. Today, I’ll focus on the amazing walk-through shark tank.

Tank’s – a screenplay (cont’d)

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Our continuing saga (see part one here) of impetuous young Tony and his pursuit of individuality at the possible expense of his life.

When last we left Tony, he had led a nasty caiman on a merry chase, faking it out at the last second.

Tony takes off, leaving the caiman to spit out stones.

The guys catch up to Tony, applauding. Tony bows.

JUAN

That was totally awesome!

CARLOS

I thought you were a goner.

RICKY

That was–

OLD FIN (O.S.)

Foolhardy.

Tony turns to see OLD FIN.

TONY

Grandfather.

OLD FIN

And dangerous. You must think you’re pretty hot stuff.

TONY

Escaped the jaws of death.

OLD FIN

You escaped an eating machine, son; an unthinking garbage disposal. And you risked everyone’s lives in the process.

TONY

It was just me and the caiman.

OLD FIN

You need to learn about taking responsibility for your actions; caring for the fish around you. Your father—

TONY

What about my father?

RICKY

Tony!

TONY

My father took responsibility for his community, and he got snatched by the Net. Maybe if he’d spent more time with his son and less on everyone else’s problems…

CARLOS

Easy, Tony.

Old Fin waves the boys off.

TONY

He was all about sacrifice, when it meant taking care of others, but when I needed him… You can keep your responsibility.

Old Fin reaches for Tony’s shoulder.

OLD FIN

I miss him, too. He had to be the fish he was destined to be. Just as you have to be the fish you will become.

TONY

That’s… C’mon guys.

The boys swim off.

OLD FIN

Destiny won’t wait, son. It happens whether you’re ready or not.

EXT. FURTHER ALONG THE RIVER – DUSK

Amongst the plants and rocks, four long pink legs extend to the surface. The boys take a wide berth, Tony lagging behind, kicking pebbles.

JUAN

Watch out. Danger from above.

Tony darts around the legs, but then he turns with a grin.

RICKEY

What’re you doing?

TONY

Nothing. Just stretching my fins.

Yawning, he tickles one of the feet.

EXT. ABOVE THE SURFACE – SAME TIME

The legs are attached to two cranes. SIDNEY screams and jumps into SEYMOUR’s wings.

SIDNEY

Something touched my leg!

Seymour angrily drops Sidney into the water.

SEYMOUR

You idiot. Those are just fish.

SIDNEY

Well, they’re cold and wet. It’s nasty.

SEYMOUR

Nasty? Sid, what are we?

Sidney thinks long and hard.

SIDNEY

Cousins?

SEYMOUR

Cranes, Sid.

SIDNEY

We’re not cousins?

SEYMOUR

Focus! What do cranes eat?

Sidney screws up his face, like his head’s about to explode.

SIDNEY

Hamburgers!

SEYMOUR

Fish! We eat fish!

Sidney whips out chopsticks.

SIDNEY

Sushi!

Seymour slaps the chopsticks away and then pushes Sid’s head into the water. Sid steps back, spluttering.

SEYMOUR

And this time, Sid, hold your breath.

Seymour plunges his head into the water, pulling up a fish, which he quickly swallows. The two start looking for dinner.

EXT. BELOW THE SURFACE – SAME TIME

Fish scatter in pandemonium. Clouds of silt explode from the riverbed as enormous bills dart from the surface and stab into the ground, slicing side to side to catch fish.

Plants are uprooted, stones flung in all directions, fish cower in crevices and under large rocks as the river fills with a cacophany of SCREAMS and thrashing EXPLOSIONS of air and water.

Tony and his friends flee, pursued by Seymour.

JUAN

You had to do it, didn’t you?

TONY

They’re gaining on us.

They careen around rocks and weeds as the cranes inch closer.

JUAN

Over there!

INT. OLD BUCKET – CONTINUOUS

Juan, Tony and Ricky dart to the back, breathing heavily.

RICKY

They got Carlos!

Juan dashes for the opening and is bowled over by Carlos.

CARLOS

Aaaaaaaah!

TONY (laughing)

Carlos, the bullet.

The THRASHING outside subsides. The guys float quietly.

CARLOS

Whaddya think?

A beam of light penetrates the darkening water outside of the bucket, which shakes and the floor tilts.

CARLOS (CONT’D)

Earthquake!

They swim for the mouth, which rises, the spotlight getting brighter. Seeing Carlos struggle, Juan and Ricky swim back to help him. Tony waits anxiously.

TONY

Harder!

CARLOS

I’m trying!

Tony swims to help, just as they push Carlos out. Before Tony can escape, however, the bucket breaks the water’s surface.

TONY

Nuts.

Tony races for the bottom and turns to make a break for the surface. As he makes his run, a net appears.

EXT. FLAT-BOTTOMED METAL BOAT – SAME TIME

A hand reaches into the bucket and fishes for Tony, who scurries around trying not to get caught.

TONY

Hey! Watch the scales. Let go!

The hand throws Tony into a clear bag of water.

TONY (CONT’D)

Okay. Now you’ve made me mad!

The hand tosses the bag into a cardboard box.

INSERT: BOX LABEL THAT READS “ECUADOR PET SUPPLIES”.

The lid of the box closes. Everything GOES DARK.

OPENING CREDITS

(to be continued)

Tank’s – a screenplay

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The following is the opening for my first screenplay. Tank’s  is the story of Tony, an impetuous young fish who gets snatched from his tropical homeland and transported to Tank’s, a pet shop in Rochester, NY. There, he quickly falls for Maya, a royal daughter of the salt water community, and runs afoul of the iron-finned rule of an eel named Kang.

(Image is property of owner and is used here without permission but my sincerest Tank’s.)

 

FADE IN

EXT. AERIAL VIEW OF A RAINFOREST – AFTERNOON

A canopy of trees extends forever to a distant range of mountains, birds swooping in and out. A break in the forest exposes a broad meandering river that empties into the sea.

One bird descends to skirt along the water. Crocodiles slide from the shore, disrupting the peaceful wading of cranes who take to the air.

A thicket of tree roots plunge into the river, large insects crawling along or flying amongst the gnarled roots. A squirt of water shoots up at a dragonfly, which splashes into the water, to be eaten by a large fish.

EXT. BELOW THE SURFACE – SAME TIME

Schools of fish swim among the roots. Larger fish swim alone, oblivious to the schools that scatter and reform.

A cloud of bleary water blooms across the bottom of the river, causing most of the fish to scatter to the clearer upper layers. A few fish swim between the layers, trailing bleary streams.

The serenity is shattered as four sleek black mollies fly by, weaving chaotically through the weeds. TONY, JUAN, RICKY and CARLOS, hyper adolescents, flip a pebble back and forth, while trying to evade tackle.

TONY

Carlos fades back for a long throw…

Chubby Carlos swerves the wrong way, sliding into the mud and being tackled by the others.

Laughing, they slowly climb out of the tangle. Carlos remains on the bottom, dazed.

TONY (CONT’D)

Hey, look! A flat fish.

Tony pumps his tail to reinflate him. Juan looks to the surface, catching the waning sunlight.

JUAN

It’s late. Gotta go help Mom with the brood.

TONY

A hundred and thirty-nine brothers and sisters and you have to help?

RICKY

Me, too. Summer school.

TONY

C’mon. You’re ruining things for Carlos. He can barely speak.

Tony slaps his fin over Carlos’s mouth.

TONY (CONT’D)

Hush, pal. Save your strength.

Tony slowly backs away. The guys follow.

JUAN

Duty calls, Tony.

TONY

Duties come later. Today is for adventure.

Tony grabs Carlos by the gills.

TONY (CONT’D)

Look at this guy. Ready to grab life by the gills and kiss it on the mouth.

Carlos recoils in disgust.

TONY (CONT’D)

We’re young.

Tony swims into a shadow. The guys stare, mouths agape.

TONY (CONT’D)

We have no fear!

JUAN/RICKY/CARLOS (scattering)

Aaaaaaaaaah!

TONY

Hunh?

Tony looks up and comes face to face with a grinning caiman.

TONY (CONT’D)

Oh.

Tony sticks a fin in the caiman’s nostrils, making it sneeze.

Tony flees, pursued by the caiman. As Tony leads the merry chase, other fish scramble to safety.

The caiman gets close but never quite reaches Tony.

TONY (CONT’D)

C’mon, armor-butt.

Tony suddenly favours his left fin.

TONY (CONT’D)

Cramp! Ow, ow!

The caiman pounces. Tony flits aside and the caiman gets a mouthful of gravel.

TONY (CONT’D)

Psych!

Tony takes off, leaving the caiman to spit out stones.

(To be continued.)