Today, we took the kids out to Sea Center in Lake Jackson to visit the hatchery. What we thought was going to be a ‘tour’ was actually a full behind the scenes look at just how intricate and scientific growing a million fish really is!
When you walk in, one of the first things to see is a giant ‘touch tank’. Filled with crabs of all kinds (hermit, blue, spider and more), sea anemones, urchins and other things to feel and explore, the touch tank dominated the kids’ attention for a good long while. There’s also a table with plates to make crayon rubbings of different sea creatures, and several big aquariums to check out.
To keep the kids interested, we split into two groups with a guide for each group – Mr. Andy for the littles, and Mr. Jerry for the bigs. We took a walk outside to check out the water systems, from the created wetlands, to the big holding pond, outdoor filters and tanks, to the indoor pump and filtering system inside. Then we went through the big tank room where there were giant tubs filled with red drum and flounder. Then we toured the incubation room, where we learned about eggs and how the ‘fry’ look when they’ve hatched, and what they eat for the few days before they’re gathered up and brought to the grow ponds outside. We also got a run-down of what types of education the kids might need to pursue if they wanted to have a career with one of the three hatcheries in Texas.
We also got to hang out on the pier of the learning pond and feed the fish – and saw a variety of giants in the water, then took a stroll down the boardwalk over the wetlands that were built to replace some that were destroyed when the hatchery opened.
If you get a chance, call them to schedule a tour. It’s well worth the drive!