By: Deanna Rebro | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: December 2015
Take photos of the kids with Scuba Diving Santa Claus.
We all know Santa flies over rooftops with his reindeer and slides down chimneys. But have you ever seen a scuba diving Santa Claus?
The Oklahoma Aquarium is happy to welcome back this holiday attraction that has been a favorite since 2009. On specific dates from December 5 through Christmas Eve, Scuba Diving Santa Claus will make his appearance in the Coral Reef tank. Surrounded by a dramatic collection of Caribbean fish that includes colorful parrotfish, porcupine puffers, eels and many more, Santa will scuba dive into the tank, give the fish some food to make them happy, and then ask them important questions, such as “Have you been naughty or nice?”
Aquarium staff members and volunteers will translate the answers and explain what the fish have done to be naughty or nice. “The Aquarium is not just entertaining; it’s educational, as well,” explains Executive Director Teri Bowers. “We want to provide a fun environment for both children and adults to learn about acquatic species and their important role on our planet.”
When Scuba Diving Santa Claus is finished talking with the fish, he will come to the forefront of the tank so children can pose with him for photographs. Dates and times for Scuba Diving Santa Claus are posted on the Aquarium’s website.
With more than 100 exhibits and thousands of animals, the Oklahoma Aquarium is a perfect venue to bring out-of-town guests. It features one of the most unique and impressive shark collections in the world. The walk-through tunnel and dome allows the largest bull sharks in captivity to swim alongside you and even right over your head to create memories of a lifetime.
Each visit to the Aquarium on the west bank of the Arkansas River promises a new discovery as renovations and new exhibits develop. Around Christmas, an innovative new octopus exhibit will open. The octopus is known for its uncanny ability to squeeze through small spaces. No matter what size it is, this creature with no bones can get through the tiniest crack, crevice or hole. A cave-like structure will allow visitors to watch them shrink before their eyes and then reappear in full size.
Another new exhibit is the Banggai cardinalfish. These dramatic striped fish from Indonesia swim in tight schools that produce different design formations. The Banggai cardinalfish is an endangered species, so the Oklahoma Aquarium is only showing captive bred.
The alligator snapping turtle tank has been refurbished, so the turtle, estimated to be 120 or more years old, is now back on exhibit. At the other end of the age scale, a newborn American alligator is on exhibit a few tanks over.
Teri says that thanks to many generous donors and Vision 2025, the goal was reached to complete construction of a new Sea Turtle expansion. This $2 million exhibit will open the latter part of 2016.
The Oklahoma Aquarium is also a popular spot for holiday and corporate parties. A few openings may still be available. For more information, call 918-296-FISH. For feeding schedules, visit the website at www.okaquarium.org.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.
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