“This invention relates to educational devices, and has particular reference to an apparatus for facilitating the observation, study and photography of subterranean life, especially the life and habits of insects and smaller animals who live underground.” So began Frank Austin ((1873 – 1964)’s application to the U.S. Patent Office, filed on June 21, 1929, for his storied Ant House (also known as the Ant Farm).
A simple design based on glass panes and soil or sand allowed a curious viewer to observe as ants or other insects furrowed their way through the ground. Word has it that Austin paid local boys $4.00 a quart for ants brought in alive, and that carpenter ants were his preference as they were the largest and most interesting. His patent application consciously stated that that “other objects of the invention reside in the simplicity of construction and mode of use of the device, the economy with which is may be produced and the general efficiency derived therefrom.”
Photographed in Chamber Boutique on 23rd Street, West of 10th Avenue.
No matter where I am, I love having a new adventure. Just last month, I spent a few days vacationing in Boston (my first visit) on the back end of a cruise to Bermuda (recommended) and was a bit overwhelmed by all of the fun things there are to see and do in this historic, seaside city. If you find yourself in Boston and want to make the most of your time there, I suggest making a point to check out the New England Aquarium, a destination which is fun for all ages!
I have visited public Aquariums all over the country and would say that the New England Aquarium is comparable in size and scope to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, although it also has many impressive distinguishing features.
The New England Aquarium, which opened in 1969, is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation, and is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year. It is a great place to bring kids because the focus is very much on education, and they have lots of animal shows and talks that you can attend for free as part of your paid admission. Please enjoy some photos and highlights from our visit!
One of the first things we did during our visit was attend a Fur Seal Training Session. Many of the seals at the aquarium were at one time sick or injured/abandoned animals that were rescued and rehabilitated at the facility where they now have a safe home.
There are moms and dads and brothers and sisters all living there together. The show is about 15 minutes and you get to meet a family of Fur Seals and hear facts about them while the swim and do simple tricks like waving and spinning around, being rewarded with some tasty fish. Kids will love it.
They have very interesting feet!
This one, above, is still a baby.
On the ground floor, there is a huge habitat for adorable African Penguins, where they have lots of informational signage about these birds as well as feedings, facts and presentations ongoing throughout the day.
It is lots of fun to watch them swim!
They have a huge touch pool also where you can “pet” the stingrays and small sharks. Everything is very well-supervised by Aquarium employees who give informational talks about the inhabitants of the touch pool.
This is a North Atlantic Right Whale Skeleton suspended from the ceiling, and below you can see the Penguins swimming.
The most impressive feature of the New England Aquarium is its four-story Giant Ocean Tank, located in the center of the building. The massive tank features a brand new coral reef, an underwater communications system and hundreds of Caribbean reef animals including sea turtles, stingrays, eels, small sharks and multitudes of colorful fish. I took the above photo from the very top of the tank just as a presentation was about to begin.
Be sure to pick up a visitor’s guide when you buy your ticket so you can check the schedule of all of the various talks, shows and presentations and plan your time to attend as many of them as you can.