The village, the history and the park museum
Genoa the Aquarium
The first thing that strikes Syusy at the Genoa Aquarium are the famous manatees. The biologist Daniela Parodi, who accompanies her in this brief trip in the world of the sea animals, explains that manatees are sea mammals like seals, dolphins and whales. The male exemplars are different from the females, which resemble sirens and, it seems, even gave rise to the myth of the sirens.
Zoe and Syusy discover that the manatees are never freed. The explanation is simple: for animals born in a protected place like a zoo or an aquarium, it is dangerous to return to their natural habitat. To avoid getting exemplars in a natural state, however, a programme for exchange of animals has been created between structures that deal with scientific popularization.
The visit by Syusy and Zoe continues towards the shark tub: bull, grey, zebra – which actually is spotted – and sawfish are the inhabitants of the shark tub. Syusy, who is enthusiastic, wonders what the saw is for. So we discover it is used for removing sand and searching for prey.
After admiring the sharks, Syusy and Zoe visit the part devoted to the marine protected areas in the Mediterranean, where there are also green wrasses and blue damsel fish that, living close to rocks, have developed the ability to hide themselves. Besides, their red colour “disappears” underwater.
Another attraction of the aquarium is the videos. The one on the birth of a dolphin, for instance, which is delivered in a podalic position, so not headfirst, because the tail has to become stiff. When it is still inside, the tail is soft so as not create problems for the mother, but for the dolphin to be able to swim the tail must be completely rigid. Further, it is precisely at this moment that they develop the signature whistle, the characteristic sound of every exemplar, which allows the mother to recognize her own offspring when it goes away.
In another sector there is even ice for penguins that, as Syusy reminds us, are neither mammals nor fish but birds! This is the area devoted to the Antarctic.
With Emanuela Ratto (the person responsible for the Press Office of the Aquarium) Zoe crosses a very particular area, in which there is even a green python. This is an area added in 1997, devoted to the theme of biodiversity. In the Aquarium there are also sea turtles, and they even see a giant one. It is an exemplar of a green turtle and its story is particular: it is called Cuba and it was left in front of the aquarium by some strangers that rescued it from the Cuba beach.
Further on you pass in front of the reconstruction of the coral reef, which gives the visitor the feeling of being in the middle of an immersion. The barrier reef is a symbolic example of biodiversity.
Speaking of biodiversity, the Aquarium also has a space called the “sphere of biodiversity”, the reconstruction of a true tropical environment with plants, birds, turtles and ... scarlet ibises! Continuing the visit, Zoe finds herself faced with races. Visitors to the Aquarium can approach what is called the “tactile tub”, where you can come into contact with animals and stroke them.