A very welcome Christmas gift to our family from my mom’s college roommate — and best friend of each of our younger kids in succession — was a family membership to the aquarium at Newport on the Levee. There’s something idyllic about little kids gazing up at fish swimming over their heads in a glass tunnel while the undulating patterns of light and shadow play over their faces.
My only point of comparison with Newport Aquarium is the Baltimore Aquarium. The latter is of course larger, and had beluga whales (and narwhals??), dolphins, and seals. But Newport was lacking nothing else that I remember. And its layout was excellent for kids.
Some of our family’s favorites were the spiny lobsters, to which Owen Barfield’s line to C.S. Lewis applies: “The trouble about insects is that they are like French locomotives – they have all the works on the outside”:
…the bonnethead shark (a sort of a tiny hammerhead); and the penguins, which took turns diving and swimming laps for our kids.
There was also an open-topped tank where kids could “pet the shark.” Talia and I passed on that, but the boys had a good time with it.