Thursday, September 14, 2006

How I Spent My Birthday Vacation

Before we begin, remember one thing: click-y pic-y make-y big-y. Now, onward...

Greenport, NY is a charming seaside town on the North Fork of Long Island. Increasingly billed as "the Hamptons of the North Fork," it still retains a more low-rent feel, although the ratio of natives to city folk and bleach-blonde face-lift victims is decreasing.

Some typical residents of Greenport, NY:

Because it was raining much of the time, we didn't go to the beach, but we did get to eat, drink, and attempt to take artsy-ass photographs.

Atlantis Marine World is an aquarium affiliated with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and located in Riverhead, Long Island. After waiting for them to open in the morning (and simultaneously watching the sea lions get fed) we proceeded to the tank where we would "Snorkel with the Stingrays!"

We did not wear gear like this.

We did, however, see many aquatic creatures, including those below (accompanied by the occasional loud and whacky sound effects from the adjacent arcade).

Hello, I am a fish. I have beautiful, wing-like fins that I will only extend when your camera is not ready. Ha Blub Ha.

I am a bamboo shark. They say that I am both attractive and completely safe to snorkelers. See how non-threatening I am? Why don't your bring your delicate, fleshy fingers a little closer, and you can see just how safe I am...

Aloha. I am a Humuhumunu...nuku..pu-pu.. oh, screw it, I'm a Hawaiian Triggerfish.

Wanna Manta? Don'tcha wanna, wanna Manta?*

I'm, Too Sexy For My Mask...

Once we finished the snorkeling, which was delightful for me, although Mrs. Nator nearly froze to death (I choose to believe it was due to an ill-fitting wetsuit rather than, say, having 95% less body fat than I do), we proceeded to check out some of the other exhibits. This was when we realized this place is seriously strange.

Fairly compact in size, Atlantis makes up for it by blitzing all comers with incongruous animals, bizarrely sculpted exhibits and constantly blaring some of the cheesiest music ever played. (This is not an exaggeration. All the music was recorded specifically for the aquarium, resulting in such instant classics as a "We Are The World"-style anthem about how "sea turtles rule" and a disco ditty about shoreline conservation. I am not making this up.) I give you some examples:

Why are there iguanas and an emu in a marine aquarium?

And, for that matter, parrots, who... OH MY GOD HE'S TRYING TO KILL ME!

Mrs. Nator models beside one of the ubiquitous sculptures in the ancient-ruins-of-Poseidon's-temple vein...

But one ancient culture is not enough! So, here we see some Egyptian... penguin... stelae?

Complete with faux heiroglyphics including drawings of penguins, I shit you not...

But why stop there? Let's invent an ancient civilization that... well, we've got snow monkeys, so let's say they worshipped snow monkeys, mmkay?

Dr. Zaius, is that you? I mean, seriously, WTF?!!

All in all, it was a bit congested with squalling humanlings and entertainment, rather than education, oriented for our tastes. However, we did enjoy the snorkeling, and, if I weren't already planning to return for our behind-the-scenes tour of the marine life rehabilitation facility, I might do so anyway, just to do the shark dive.

After that, there was nothing left but to schelp home, where our cats and turtles vociferously protested our forgetting to bring even one little souvenir fish back.

I hope you enjoyed our little tour. If that was not enough for you, you can see more extremely-professional-and-probably-worth-money photos** here.

Glub, glub!

*Okay, so it's not a manta, it's a stingray. But you try getting the Fanta jingle out your head once it's stuck there.

**Fine, so some of them are blurry. But do you really want to miss out on the incredibly disturbing MEXICAN CAVEFISH WITH NO FREAKING EYES? I thought not.


claire said...

Oh my god, yes.

The Riverhead aquarium is just BIZARRE. It's all super-commercial and weird, just trying to pry the money out of your pockets with kitch. The whole Poseidon-themed thing is just overdone and unnessesary. I don't know, the place just rubs me the wrong way. I'll always take Coney Island over Riverhead. Ugh.

Was there an animitronic Poseidon statue there still? Its been awhile since i've been there, but i remember being throroughly creeped out by that.

Da Nator said...

Gadzooks! If I'd seen an animatronic Poseidon, you'd best believe I'd have taken footage of it! As it was, I recorded video of the entire 5-minute "submarine simulator" ride, then deleted it after deciding it was just too pathetic and boring (think of a ride on some of the earlier MYST games, with no puzzles and less impressive graphics).

Ms. Dope said...

Hey, no fair, I couldn't find the cavefish! Please, kind Nator-lady, tell me which of your pictures might be they?

Da Nator said...

OK, you probably couldnt tell because it's rather blurry, but it's here, and IT HAS NO EYES! EEEEEEK!!!

Ms. Dope said...

Ahhhh! Pink eyeless fish! Ahhhhh!

Thanks for pointing it out. Hate to miss that.