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