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Sharks, Tigers and Two Rivers


Denver’s new Ocean Journey Aquarium. © Scott Dressel-Martin/ Colorado’s Ocean JourneyIt's lunchtime at Ocean Journey Aquarium, and aquarist Libby Vincent has created a shark feeding frenzy. "I've loved sharks since I was a little girl," she says. "They keep the balance of nature, and they're spectacularly beautiful. Feeding them is definitely the best part of my day."

 

Encased in a sleek black and blue wetsuit, Libby calmly doles out mackerel and vitamins to each of her hungry sharks. Somehow she looks right at home scuba diving in the iridescent "Depths of the Pacific" tank, alive with rainbow hued damselfish, graceful angelfish, and torpedo-shaped wrasses.

The Depths of the Pacific tank is also home to many species of sharks. © David Wrobel/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey. Denver's unique Ocean Journey is a $93 million aquarium whose goal is to inspire visitors to explore, enjoy, and protect the aquatic world, opened in July 1999. Ocean Journey's 130 employees and 700 volunteers oversee some 15,000 specimens of fish, birds, mammals, two Sumatran tigers named Bali and Java, two endangered sea otters, and 1,000 plants.

Unlike a traditional aquarium with flat fish tanks, Ocean Journey is a multidimensional experience that immerses you in the sights, sounds and smells of two rivers found on opposite sides of the world: the Colorado River, and Indonesia's Kampar River. Walking through the exhibits is a sensory delight, an up close thrill of being eye to eye with a vast universe of fascinating wildlife.

THE COLORADO RIVER JOURNEY EXHIBIT

The Colorado River Journey exhibit brings you amidst the craggy granite walls and plunging waterfalls of the West. © Scott Dressel-Martin/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey. Step into this exhibit: the air is cool and pine-scented. Craggy granite walls line the pathway. A waterfall plunges over a rocky ledge. Starting high in the Rocky Mountains, follow along as the Colorado River travels 1,500 miles to the Sea of Cortez. Sunfish, bass, and perch glide through honey-colored water, as playful river otters swim in a pond.

Continuing through cinnamon-hued sandstone canyons, the river offers shelter to the humpback chub, found nowhere else on earth, and teams with northern pike and largemouth bass. Entering the desert, you'll meet the tenacious two-inch pupfish, able to survive one hundred degree temperatures in ponds and desert springs.

Finally, the Colorado River joins the dramatic Sea of Cortez, where crashing surf is home to seahorses, squirrelfish, spotted eagle rays, and king angelfish.

THE INDONESIAN RIVER JOURNEY EXHIBIT

Enter the lush, dense rain forest of the Indonesian River Journey exhibit, where sunlight is almost entirely blocked by the dense foliage of the towering, vine-covered trees. © Scott Dressel-Martin/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey. In this exhibit, meet the Kampar River, on a 300-mile journey to the South China Sea. Originating high in the volcanic Barisan Mountains dividing Sumatra, the Kampar descends steep slopes, carving fantastic sinkholes, canyons and caves.

Dropping into an emerald forest of dense vine covered trees, the river is home to exotic fish you've never heard of: zebra danios, kuhli loaches, harlequin rasboras. In the lower rain forest live two Sumatran tigers, brothers named Bali and Java. If you're lucky, they'll be splashing in the river, as these cats love swimming.

 If you are lucky, you will catch one of the two young male Sumatran Tigers, Bali and Java, splashing in the river or taking a dip in the pool. © Scott Dressel-Martin/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey. More than 90% of the Sumatran tiger population is extinct, due to loss of forest habitat, human overpopulation, and poachers who sell tiger bones as aphrodisiacs. Only five hundred Sumatran tigers now live in the wild, and Balinese and Javan tigers are nearly extinct as well. Admiring Bali and Java's magnificent copper and black striped coats, it's heartbreaking to think that one day there may be none left.

 

The Kampar River It’s lunchtime in the Depths of the Pacific. Doing the rounds, aquarist Libby Vincent feeds her zebra shark. © Amy Barnes Frey/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey.ends its journey in the South China Sea, home to sea stars and hermit crabs. And your journey ends at the 320,000 gallon "Depths of the Pacific" tank. Blue green angelfish, black and white clown triggerfish, cobalt surgeonfish and orange lionfish undulate slowly over green mounds of bubble coral. And there in the corner, Libby Vincent feeds her beloved blacktip reef shark. Happily at home in Ocean Journey's hypnotic watery world, it's clear this is Libby's favorite part of the day.

More Information

Ocean Journey is located in US WEST Park, 700 Water Street, Denver, Colorado. 80211

Telephone: 303-561-4450.
Fax: 303-561-4465.
Web site: www.oceanjourney.org

Hours:

Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. Weekends: 9am-8pm.

Admission:

Adults 18+: $14.95.
Youth 13-17 and Seniors 65+: $12.95.
Children 4-12: $6.95.
Children 3 and under free.

Discover the spectactular colours of underwater life, including this extremely venomous yet stunningly beautiful lionfish. Copyright Scott Dressel-Martin/Colorado's Ocean JourneyWhere to Stay

Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast is a regal 1891 ruby sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque style mansion with high turrets, balconies, soaring chimneys, and a grand porch. Eight guestrooms are elegantly furnished with antiques and have private baths. Stained glass windows, fresh flowers, city skyline views, and fireplaces create a serene atmosphere. Located in Denver's Historic District, Capitol Hill is walking distance to downtown and a 15-minute drive from Ocean Journey.

Reservations: 1207 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, Colorado 80203.
Tel: 303-839-5221 or 800-839-9329.
www.capitolhillmansion.com

Copyright1999 Sharon Lloyd Spence, email: 104464.2034@compuserve.com

 If you are lucky, you will catch one of the two young male Sumatran Tigers, Bali and Java, splashing in the river or taking a dip in the pool. © Scott Dressel-Martin/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey. More than 90% of the Sumatran tiger population is extinct, due to loss of forest habitat, human overpopulation, and poachers who sell tiger bones as aphrodisiacs. Only five hundred Sumatran tigers now live in the wild, and Balinese and Javan tigers are nearly extinct as well. Admiring Bali and Java's magnificent copper and black striped coats, it's heartbreaking to think that one day there may be none left.

The Kampar River It’s lunchtime in the Depths of the Pacific. Doing the rounds, aquarist Libby Vincent feeds her zebra shark. © Amy Barnes Frey/ Colorado’s Ocean Journey.ends its journey in the South China Sea, home to sea stars and hermit crabs. And your journey ends at the 320,000 gallon "Depths of the Pacific" tank. Blue green angelfish, black and white clown triggerfish, cobalt surgeonfish and orange lionfish undulate slowly over green mounds of bubble coral. And there in the corner, Libby Vincent feeds her beloved blacktip reef shark. Happily at home in Ocean Journey's hypnotic watery world, it's clear this is Libby's favorite part of the day.

More Information

Ocean Journey is located in US WEST Park, 700 Water Street, Denver, Colorado. 80211

Telephone: 303-561-4450.
Fax: 303-561-4465.
Web site: www.oceanjourney.org

Hours:

Monday-Friday 10am-6pm. Weekends: 9am-8pm.

Admission:

Adults 18+: $14.95.
Youth 13-17 and Seniors 65+: $12.95.
Children 4-12: $6.95.
Children 3 and under free.

Discover the spectactular colours of underwater life, including this extremely venomous yet stunningly beautiful lionfish. Copyright Scott Dressel-Martin/Colorado's Ocean JourneyWhere to Stay

Capitol Hill Mansion Bed & Breakfast is a regal 1891 ruby sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque style mansion with high turrets, balconies, soaring chimneys, and a grand porch. Eight guestrooms are elegantly furnished with antiques and have private baths. Stained glass windows, fresh flowers, city skyline views, and fireplaces create a serene atmosphere. Located in Denver's Historic District, Capitol Hill is walking distance to downtown and a 15-minute drive from Ocean Journey.

Reservations: 1207 Pennsylvania Street, Denver, Colorado 80203.
Tel: 303-839-5221 or 800-839-9329.
www.capitolhillmansion.com

Copyright1999 Sharon Lloyd Spence, email: 104464.2034@compuserve.com