The Theresa E. Connor and Cape Sable may not be sea-borne, but that doesn't stop visitors to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic from boarding the wharf-side vessels. Once aboard, they can explore above and below deck while retired fishermen and captains demonstrate their fishing skills and recount tales from their seafaring days. Inside the museum's 19th-century buildings, three exhibition floors share space with a 7-foot high vista tank, and 11 salt water tanks that comfortably house oceanic critters such as lobsters, eels, and Atlantic whitefish. More animals including scallops and sea anemone occupy the wharf, whose Tidal Touch Tank lets visitors stroke a bumpy sea star or share their first kiss with a mermaid.
Elsewhere in the museum complex, guests can launch a model schooner, watch fish-filleting demos, learn about Prohibition-era rum running, or take in fishing-related films in the Ice House Theatre. The Old Fish Factory Restaurant & Ice House Bar and the Salt Store Gift Shop, housed in a former salt storehouse, provide souvenirs both edible and otherwise.
The museum's season lasts from mid-May to mid-October.
Surprisingly spry for a 90-year-old, Gus the gopher tortoise greets Museum of Natural History visitors while strolling around the premises and snacking on clover and dandelions. As the museum's mascot for more than six decades, Gus has amassed a substantial following, and he keeps his 1,500+ Facebook friends abreast of the latest goings-on at his home's seven permanent galleries. Unearthed tools, arrowheads, and Tupperware of the Mi'kmaq and Acadian peoples await in the archaeology exhibit, and the pre-contact culture, religion, and language of Nova Scotia come to life in the ethnology hall. Life-sized models of feathered bipeds and four-legged furballs lurk in the mammals-and-birds gallery. Live snakes, frogs, salamanders, and honeybees call Netukulimk home, embodying a Mi'kmaq conception of the relationship between the human and natural worlds.