Our Day With the Jellyfish

Last week, my kids and I read a book called Night of the Moonjellies, by Mark Shasha. It told the story of a young boy helping at his family’s seaside food stand and of his discovery of moonjellies, a bioluminescent jellyfish. The story took place in coastal New England. Living in Minnesota, the sea coast is fairly exotic to us. We have seen the ocean on vacations, but it is not part of our everyday lives. Reading of the boy picking up sea glass stirred a longing in my daughter. Oh, how she wishes she could find sea glass at the beach and see jellyfish glowing in the ocean.

Fun fact: Due to its many lakes, Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined. (Still not the same as the sea…)

I thought it would be fun to seek out some of these sea coast experiences, right here in Minnesota. We headed to Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America. A new jellyfish exhibit was added in 2010, and we had not seen it yet.

We spent quite a while admiring the jellyfish. They are so pretty and really just fascinating to watch. Both my children got right down on the floor to draw pictures of the jellyfish.

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We enjoyed touring the other areas of the aquarium, too, including the shark area – the sharks, green sawfish, and rays were quite captivating. My daughter paused frequently to draw pictures of the different creatures she saw. My son also kept drawing throughout the afternoon, but all his pictures were of jellyfish. I think he really liked them!

We also ate lunch out while at the Mall of America. While it did not represent the same coastal region as the book, I still thought it would be fun to have seafood at Bubba Gump’s. We all enjoyed the atmosphere – by January in Minnesota, even the pretense of a beachy atmosphere feels pretty good – but the seafood didn’t go over with my kids. I enjoyed my shrimp, though.

Someday we’ll get to the beach again. Maybe even find some sea glass…

What is your favorite thing to do or see at the ocean?

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7 thoughts on “Our Day With the Jellyfish

  1. I see you had great expedition. I am jealous ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have never seen ocean live. Last summer, I was by the sea and I realized I’d prefer be there in winter. It was too hot and sunny, so I didn’t like it.
    I think, my favourite thing to do at the ocean could be listen waves… Yes, I’d be charmed.

  2. Yes, watching out for a jellyfish near you is a good thing! I suppose the ocean, or the sea, provides an experience for all the senses – the salty air, the crashing waves, the sand under your feet, the colors, the creatures… I am fascinated by the vastness of it.

  3. When we lived in Norfolk, VA., the condominium we owned was in an old pier warehouse that was renovated/retrofitted into a condo over the river. Our particular home was located directly over the Elizabeth River. From the bedroom side we experienced many boats being tied up during harbour fest week. From the kitchen, living room side we accessed our patio & then a sidewalk. From this sidewalk during what we called the jellyfish season, we could stop and look over the handrail & watch the jellyfish gracefully moving around. It was very fascinating for us to watch and enjoy.

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