14 September 2015

Under the Sea...A Trip to the Aquarium

We had a dreadful August here in Istanbul. Between the heat and the humidity it's taken every ounce of will power to drag myself out of my apartment to go to school and run necessary errands; I've had no energy left over to go out to do anything. And let's not even talk about what my hair has been doing. Recently though I was able to drum up enough motivation to drag myself somewhere air conditioned-the aquarium at the Forum Mall.

M going down into the "submarine"

The Forum aquarium, which is apparently the smaller of the two in Istanbul, was pretty impressive.  Especially considering the last aquarium I visited was DC's. Bet you didn't know DC even had an aquarium...there's a reason you don't know. Ticket's are a fortune, it's in the basement of some building, and the tanks look like they've been filled straight from the Potomac.

Forum's aquarium is pretty great though and I love the way it's been set up. The beginning resembles a submarine and all the signage tells you that 'your dive' continues this way or that. As you move through the aquarium the decorations change to resemble deep sea diving, forests, and more!


My pictures don't do the various tanks any justice. They were beautiful but made in such a way that distorted your vision if you weren't looking straight on. I got a bit of a headache to be honest. What was cool was that a lot of the tanks had small (child-sized) underpasses or bubbles in the middle so you could get under and see from "inside" as it were.

Tree hugger!

Shudder. As ugly as they are yummy.

I lost count after a while of the various tanks. Every time we thought we might be near the end there was yet another section. I can't believe this is the smaller of the two!  Almost every tank was accompanied by an electronic display with descriptions of the fish in both Turkish and English. Although the descriptions did not always match which fish were actually in the tank...so bonus points for having a dual language information system but I'm taking away points for lack of accuracy.

One of the best perks about a part-time, work from home job are that you can take off on a Thursday afternoon and go to the aquarium; where I get to hang out with one of the sea's weirdest creatures-the jellyfish. I wonder if it bothers them that the lights in their tank change colors every few seconds or if they enjoy the trip?

As we made our way through the aquarium we graduated from smallish tanks filled with the pretty tropical fish and sea-life to giant tanks full of larger fish (that looked like good eating), sting rays, and small sharks. I've been seeing ads all over the city for months now crying that the aquarium has köpek balık (dog fish) and as we went through I kept looking out for them because I needed to see what the heck a dog fish was. Apparently dog fish is too literal a translation as köpek balık is a shark. Sharks are cool and all but I wanted to see some dog fish.

When we finally got to the huge section housing the sharks we were greeted by the most dramatic music ever created! After about 15 minutes admiring the various fish, sting rays, and sharks M and I had to leave. The music was just so incredibly dramatic we felt like we were in the middle of a movie building up to a denouement that NEVER HAPPENS! We were at denouement edge going no where and it was driving me insane. So we escaped to the turtle hospital which houses a turtle so strange looking I think it crawled out of one of the something-ic eras.

The absolute best part of the aquarium was yet to come. On the back side of the very, very large shark tank with the overly dramatic music and imitation Mount Nemrut statues was a tunnel. We probably spent the same amount of time in the tunnel as we did the rest of the aquarium. It was so peaceful watching the sharks and stingrays glide about...while at the same time a little ishy looking at the creepy grinning "faces" on the stingrays' bellies as they swam against the sides of the tunnels.


All in all, the largely calming Forum aquarium is definitely worth the trip.  If for no other reason than to pick up an incredibly adorable pirate turtle in the gift shop!

His name is Rocky

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