Sunday, March 15, 2015

Best Friend Friday No. 23: Adventure Aquarium

This past week has been filled with lots of fun activities. My parents, Marissa, Nate, my grandma, aunt, and Abby spent the week visiting Lauren and me in Philadelphia! Their hotel was literally next door to our apartment which made meeting them for breakfast and other outings so easy. We spent the majority of the week taking care of errands (Ikea, Target, Trader Joe's) that Lauren and I can't get to easily without a car, and doing touristy things. But on Friday, March 13 (yup, Friday the 13th!), we spent the day somewhere completely new to me: Adventure Aquarium!
The aquarium is actually located in Camden, New Jersey which is only a half hour drive from Philadelphia. Although Camden is known as the murder capitol of the United States, I didn't feel at all frightened driving to the aquarium. We did visit in the earlier part of the day, so I'm not sure how the area is at night. Also, we didn't go anywhere in Camden besides the aquarium, so I can't speak of the safety for the entire city.
We spent several hours at the aquarium, and looked at pretty much everything there. I'll admit though, we didn't linger for too long in the kids' areas. Way too many little people for us. Plus, I wasn't a huge fan of the tiny play structures and I didn't feel like squeezing in between children to touch the bat rays, so we quickly walked through those exhibits.
Adventure Aquarium is much smaller than the Monterey Bay Aquarium that I've gone to in the past. While there weren't as many things to see in New Jersey, I spent more time looking at what they did have. My mom was really excited that Adventure Aquarium has two hippos, animals I've never seen in person before (that I can remember, at least). Unfortunately they were sleeping when we went, but their ginormous sizes took us all by surprise and we were convinced the aquarium installed magnifying plexiglass.
Since Nate is now a freshman at Dominican, our family has become huge lovers of the school's penguin mascot. My mom loves everything penguin now, so it was a delight that the aquarium housed "Penguin Island".
I have to say though that my favorite parts were probably admiring the jellyfish, the colorful varieties of fish, and the little swimming turtles. Sure there were plenty of sharks and other rarer sea life to fall in love with, but I was never the kid who loved animals. Does that make me a terrible person? I loved all of the brightly colored fish and ever-changing shapes of the jellyfish though.

The evening was all about being open to trying new things. Lauren and I really wanted to go to our favorite restaurant in Philadelphia, Su Xing House, which happens to be completely vegetarian. While half of my family members don't mind eating tofu, the other half are a little more skeptical. But, being the gracious people that they are, they didn't complain one bit! We ordered more than a handful of dishes and together we pretty much devoured everything. There was only a small portion of veggie fried rice to take home. To show our gratitude for eating a completely vegan dinner without being bitter, Lauren and I agreed to go on a ghost tour of Old City later that night. I'm not a fan of anything supernatural, but not everyone in my family has that same opinion as me, and that's okay. What has somewhat recently become a philosophy for me, is that I don't care what people believe in/don't believe in. I'll respect whatever it is that a person believes/doesn't believe, so long as they too truly respect the other person's differing opinion. I don't want to miss out on time with my family solely because they want to do something I don't completely agree with. If they can find the energy to support what I want, then I should also be able to put my differences aside and be there for what they want to do. While going on the ghost tour wasn't really my favorite part of my family's visit, I'm glad I was able to spend the entire Friday with them and my bestie (of course!).

My family just left yesterday, so it was a welcomed treat to have been able to spend all Friday (and the entire week) with them, especially since I won't be seeing them again till July.