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Sunday, May 11

Macduff Marine Aquarium

On Tuesday, 6th May, we took a trip to the Macduff Marine Aquarium and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd tell you all about it. I'm always trying to think of new things to try and do because it makes me feel happy, no matter how simple it is. I learnt so much and I didn't even go for the learning aspect, I went just for fun - I was like a big kid.

Have you got an aquarium near where you live? I propose you take a trip one day, just to do something a little different, have fun and maybe learn a little something about what lives under the sea.

I was surprised to learn that only 5% of our oceans have been explored so far, can you believe that? That means a whole 95% of our underwater world remains undiscovered. It is thought that over 230,000 species of sea life exist, but imagine how many have yet to be explored.

The Macduff Marine Aquarium is a tourist treat for all ages and the entry fee is for an all-day pass so you can explore Macduff and go for lunch and then come back for more if you wish. I love the top middle picture here, it is of the Fireworks Anemone (a-nem-on-ee), which is quite a rare anemone and is on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan due to it being under threat. 

There are so many fascinating creatures to learn about at the aquarium and I never thought I'd call a sea creature cute, but the little guy in the top right corner was just too cute for words. He's a baby Thornback Ray and was smaller than the span of my hand, but there was a giant one that would have been bigger than my head if I held it up. These little Rays looked like they were smiling and I'm pretty sure they were posing for the camera. They are kept in little tanks until they are big enough to be released.
In this photo, you can also see a Codfish in the top left, who loved being at the front and centre of his zone ready for the cameras. I just love his little beard, don't you? Next we have the Cushion Starfish, who I think is a beautiful colour. Did you know that Cushion Starfish are male between the ages of 2 and 4 and then change to females when they turn 4 years old?
Finally, in this photo we have the Moon Jellyfish, which I think is spectacular. It is one of the most common types of Jellyfish and can be found all over the world. They swim using the top of their bodies and swim sideways, when possible, to catch food with their tentacles. 
This is the bigger Thornback Ray; he kept swimming around the surface and lifting his body up at the sides of the glass to have a little look at everyone.

Next up, we have some Sea Urchins in the top left corner. Sea Urchins are covered in sharp spines to protect it from predators. In the bottom left is the most colourful fish in Scotland, the Cuckoo Wrasse. The Cuckoo Wrasse is a blue and orange male fish, even though they are born female. Also in this photo is the Common Starfish. We were able to touch the starfish and were told that they get hard and rigid when under stress. They have five arms and eat molluscs by prying them open. Did you know that if a starfish loses an arm, it will just grow a new one?

In the top left of this next picture are some Brittle Stars. If you look closely at the bottom, there is a small Brittle Star. Well, actually this was the average size of most of them, the legs of the other one was a GIANT. There are thought to be about 2,000 species of Brittle Stars currently in existence and they are brittle, as the name would suggest. They can regrow an arm if they lose one, just like a starfish. Below the Brittle Star is a Wolf Fish. A Wolf Fish has large teeth, which can grow back if required. Their diet grinds their teeth down and a Wolf Fish can actually go through several sets of teeth in a lifetime. They do not eat other fish; instead they eat crabs, starfish, sea urchins and clams.

Next is a giant statue of a fish that reminded me of the one in Finding Nemo. Although there aren't actually any at the aquarium, I did a little research. This is an Angler Fish and uses a little light that protrudes from its head to hunt for its prey. They are usually very dark in colour, making them almost invisible at the bottom of the ocean. Moving along, we have a Short Snouted Seahorse. The Seahorses were very shy creatures and most of them were sleeping. They live among the Eel Grass and cling to the weeds with their tails.

Finally, we have a Smoothhound. The Smoothhound is a member of the shark family and was definitely not camera shy; in fact, I have about 100 pictures of him as he kept photo-bombing all of the other fish.

This is only a small snippet of what Macduff Aquarium has to offer. There are so many other creatures to explore, including crabs and lobsters and lots of other types of fish. So, if you live nearby, I would definitely recommend you take a day trip and enjoy the wonders of Macduff Marine Aquarium.

I hope you've learnt a little something today; if you'd like to learn more about our oceans, and the amazing creatures that live in them, I suggest you take a look at the National Geographic website. It has all sorts of wonderful pictures and information. If sea life isn't your thing, let me know what is and I'll be sure to write something of interest to you.

Now, it's time to go and give your day a Happy Little Lift, whether it's a visit to the local aquarium or something else; let us know what you get up to in the comments section below.

Kayleigh x

You will only ever come second if you try to be someone else, but you will always win 1st place at being yourself.