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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Getting buggy

Having been away from my family for two weeks, selfishly enjoying myself in Japan and Taiwan, today was the day to reconnect with my daughter. Amber, fortunately, harbors no resentment of my annual solo vacations, though the prospect of getting presents from Dad when he comes home certainly helps to soothe any separation anxieties. As does the opportunity of getting up close and personal with some of nature's critters, so when I broached the idea of visiting Shàng​hǎi's 上海 Natural Wild Insect Kingdom 大自然野生昆虫馆 this morning, she immediately answered in the affirmative.

Having been told by my guidebooks not to expect much, the museum turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Yes, it's geared toward the little ones, but there's a good collection of animals (insects, in fact, are in the minority) and enough information in English to make a trip worthwhile. It's still best visited if you're a parent, but the bugs and reptiles on display managed to hold my interest for the couple of hours that we were there. But, then again, who could say "no" to a giant monitor or freshwater ray?

First things first: lunch, consisting of beef with rice, fried chicken and spring rolls. The 牛肉饭 was a little on the spicy side for my daughter, but the milk tea helped to keep the fire under reasonable control.

Outside the entrance, and obviously excited at the prospect of going inside

Feeding some ravenous carp and goldfish. The tank across from Amber held a large snapping turtle, not the kind you'd want to encounter if you were wading through an American creek or swamp.

A pair of Japanese rhinoceros beetles

A display showing how crickets have traditionally been kept as pets in China

One of the many frogs that can be seen at the museum

It wasn't all creepy things. Amber was happy to have the opportunity to feed some goats, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The play area was a hit with the kiddies, with stepping stones placed in a large but shallow tank of water that was stocked with small goldfish. Not to mention docile giant crabs.

After visiting the museum, we talk a walk over to the Huáng​pǔ River 黄埔江. Note the couple in the background having their wedding photos taken, a common sight on both sides of the river.

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