Record your memories of Napier's Marineland

By PETER FOWLER

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The High Court has upheld the Napier City Council decision to close the former Napier beachfront tourism venture Marineland.  Hundreds of thousands of people passed through its gates in the three decades it was open. 

Whether you agree or disagree with the decision to close Marineland, many people have lasting childhood memories of the place.  While the marine park will not last, there's no reason why memories of this important part of Hawke's Bay history cannot.  Use the comment section below to add your memories of Marineland.

To kick things off, Peter Fowler recalls a visit to Marineland in Napier when he was a child. 

I have a permanent reminder of Napier's Marineland on my right thumb in the form of a big scar.

It was the 1970's and I was on a field trip with the Havelock North Cub Scout group to Marineland.  We watched the dolphins perform and after the show we got to wander around and look a the penguins, seals and other marine life that we would otherwise never get to see and have an appreciation of.

As I wandered around I came across the Otter grotto.  Remember this was the 1970's and things were a bit more relaxed back then.

The Otters were in an enclosure that had no wire mesh or glass.  The walls went deep enough into the ground to stop the otters getting out, but the way it was designed you could actually reach out and touch them.  Except for the sign of course that said "THESE OTTERS BITE.  DO NOT TOUCH."

But to me, the intrepid Cub Scout,  these really cute furry things who had come over to look at me were irresistible.  How could they possibly hurt me.  I just had to pat one.

No sooner had I put my hand over the safe line than an otter had jumped at me and latched on to it, hard!  Otters have very sharp teeth and it dug in almost to the bone.  Somehow I managed to get it off and with blood spurting from my thumb I quickly wrapped it up in writhing pain hoping no one would notice the idiot who had decided to touch the otters.

So To this day, 30 years later,  I have a reminder of why you should take note of warning signs and the Otters of Marineland in the form of this scar on my thumb.

Ironically today you'd be hard pressed to find a zoo or marine park where you can have that closer encounter with wild critters.

What are your memories of Marineland? Leave them in the comment section below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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