To celebrate SeaWorld's 50th anniversary, SeaWorld San Antonio is unveiling what they're calling a "Sea of Surprises." Here's what's in store:
Run by Texas State University, The Meadows Center introduces visitors to the lush diversity of the San Marcos Springs and intricate system of waterways. Glass-bottomed boats set out for guided tours of Spring Lake, gazing at the aquatic life and University midterm papers below. Above the springs that bubble up from the bottom, soft shell turtles and bluegill sunfish swim in the clear waters and songbirds survey the sky. Eight endangered species populate the springs, including beetles and two species of salamander. On land, visitors can explore gardens of native Texan plants or a hall of nature exhibit.
Though the Austin Aquarium spans a mere 22,000 square feet, its exhibits encompass marine habitats from around the world, housing more than 3,000 species from Oregon to Indonesia in its tanks, aquariums, and aviaries. Among the activities, visitors can feel the skin of rays, hear the barks of fur seals from Uruguay, or tempt birds or younger siblings with handfuls of seed. One of the biggest enclosures houses several Asian small-clawed otters, who tumble, play, and swim with their peers in one of the largest colonies in captivity in the world. The aquarium also hosts behind-the-scenes tours and sleepovers in which kids can get a glimpse into the ocean at night, when even the mightiest sharks cower in fear from plankton's elongated shadows.