AQUATIC ADVENTURE: Lots of family fun and discovery at Bayworld

BY LIANDè BARNARD - AUGUST 11, 2014

With summer on the horizon, you probably have started looking around for family weekend activities. I urge you to discover something new in our city - and at Bayworld Museum, Oceanarium and Snakepark, situated along Marine Drive, Humewood, Port Elizabeth, there is always something new to experience.

One of my fondest memories of the Bay was when I was about 5 years old and visited Bayworld with my parents and younger brother. Not having been there ever since, and after recently settling here from the Western Cape, I looked forward to seeing what the now-revamped complex has on offer.

We arrived just in time for the day’s second seal show. The excitement on the packed pavilion was totally palpable as everyone anxiously waited for the show to kick off. We were not disappointed!

The stars of the show, two Cape fur seals called Kelpey and Lexi, have huge personalities. They performed many amazing tricks including standing on their front flippers, playing dead and backflips. My oooh-aaah moment was when they shot about 1.5 metres out of the water to gently snatch a fish off their trainer’s fingers while making it look so effortless!

Kelpey also created awareness about pollution. When his trainer threw litter into the pool, he jumped in, picked it up, got out and threw it in a nearby bin. When the astounded crowd started cheering and applauding, Kelpey joined in and clapped his flippers before taking a splash - what a showman.

Afterwards, we were escorted to another pool where we were entertained by various penguin species who were being fed. It felt like I was in the middle of a scene in Happy Feet.

A while later we explored the Oceanarium and saw lobsters, octopi, colourful tropical fish, star fish, and much other sea life. We then toured the adjacent museum where I upgraded my knowledge on meteorites, dinosaurs, marine mammals, birds and maritime history. The museum also has cultural costume and history halls, as well as a curiosity corner, a Xhosa Beadwork Gallery and regularly hosts a diverse range of temporary exhibits.

We concluded our tour at the Snake Park where we indulged our fascination with snakes (including the large and the venomous), lizards, crocodiles, tortoises and terrapins.

I was pleasantly surprised by what Bayworld had to offer. It was a day well-spent and the entry fee is R35 for adults, R30 for students and pensioners and R25 for children. I will definitely visit again - this time, I won’t wait for two decades to elapse. To find out more, call 041 584 0650.