It’s 5 pm. on Friday May 3, and I’m writing at the counter in the lobby of Center in the Square. Beside me the massive reef aquarium has come alive before my eyes and the eyes of dozens of school children and educators — not to mention everyone who has come through today.
In the aquarium right now, a school of 100 green chromis is moving about in the open water, while two dozen yellow tangs nibble on macro algae in one corner of the tank and two dozen more hippo tangs (think Dori from Finding Nemo) have found their own section of rock with it’s own patch of algae. Below them a pair of endangered Banggai Cardinal fish hover near a crevice in the rock.
Scattered about the tank are dozens of lyretail and Bartlett’s anthias, dottybacks, royal grammas, and clownfish. The entire spectacle is as soothing and relaxing as promised.
I know I’m a fish geek but I can’t take my eyes off of it.
What’s great is that neither could the second graders from Fishburne Park Elementary School nor the teachers and aids who came with them. The kids were sort of a test group this morning. They came in school buses to visit a Center in the Square that is not yet open to the public and a lobby that is really only half finished.
Yet, they sat in chairs and watched as the very first clownfish (Think Nemo) were added to the aquarium. What fun.
Center is coming together nicely. But it should not be lost that today was big.