Australia: Sydney seahorses

Pregnant male pot-bellied sea horse. Photo / Chris Woods
Pregnant male pot-bellied sea horse. Photo / Chris Woods

Female seahorses have got this pregnancy caper worked out.

They place their eggs, sometimes hundreds or thousands, into a special pouch in the male's stomach and let him do all the hard work while they go about their business unencumbered by kids.

Maybe because it was the school holidays, but this interesting fact picked up at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium's new exhibition, Seahorse Safari, seemed to stick in my mind.

As well as seahorses of all sizes, the exhibit includes sea dragons and other weird marine creatures such as pipefish and razorfish.

My children were astonished that some of them - like the pot bellied seahorse and White's seahorse - can be found around Sydney and were fascinated with how the delicate animals move and can camouflage themselves in reeds and seaweed.

One of the great things about the exhibition is that it's dispersed throughout the aquarium, rather than in one place, which disperses the crowds and makes it less likely you will be jostling with a throng of people in one area.

While my five-year-old and eight-year-old were happy simply to ogle the displays, the aquarium has added a number of other features to keep even the most bored child entertained.

This includes a trail guide passport that can be stamped at various points, a quiz and even lessons on how to do the "seahorse dance", which owes a lot to Psy's Gangnam style.

Along with the seahorses, there's a wide range of underwater wonders in the aquarium.

The dugongs, sharks and rays which can be viewed through underwater tunnels are mesmerising.

But some of the smaller critters are just as fascinating, including the glow-in-the-dark moon jellyfish, and the aptly-named burnt sausage sea cucumber, which looks like, well, a burnt sausage.

You can even touch one of the burnt sausages in a small marine pool, along with starfish and shark eggs. Just make sure you get the kids to roll up their sleeves first, or you'll end up with soggy arms for the rest of the visit - as we did.

IF YOU GO

GETTING THERE: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is on the city side of Darling Harbour, near King Street, in Sydney. It is a 10-minute walk from the CBD and can also be reached by taxi, bus, train, ferry, monorail and light rail.

STAYING THERE: For accommodation in and around Darling Harbour go to visitnsw.com.

PLAYING THERE: The aquarium is a great attraction for a family, with its labyrinth-like layout taking you through so many areas you can easily spend hours looking at the diverse displays.

The regular price for a single pass visit, bought online, is $26 for adults and $15.40 for children.

Family passes are available and you can also get discounted multi-tickets to the neighbouring Wild Life Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussaud's attractions in the Darling Harbour area of Sydney, along with a number of other Sydney attractions, which are valid for 30 days.

For more, call (02) 8251 7800 or visit sydneyaquarium.com.au.

The writer was a guest of Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 24 Sep 2014 03:05:34 Processing Time: 2565ms