Oct 5, 2010

Oklahoma Aquarium

Not the Oklahoma Aquarium, but an Oklahoma Aquarium

As I slog closer and closer to 30, it seems as if moments of inspiration come less frequently than they used to as a naive young whippersnapper. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to fashion my jadedness into some badge of honor, nor am I trying to claim any old man wisdom beyond my years - it just happens to be an inescapable, and unfortunate, part of getting older.

So when something does make an impact on me, no matter how trivial, I try to really embrace the moment.

Which is why I now own an aquarium.

You see, Lacey and I stopped by the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks a few months ago (pre-OK Dispatch) on a whim. What was meant to simply kill an afternoon, turned into something a little more lasting, as we found ourselves truly affected by the beauty and mystery of what was inside. Within days we had our own aquarium (pictured above), and we've had nothing but fun ever since learning how to keep a mini-eco system alive and healthy.

So with a little aquarium experience under our belt, we decided it was time to head back to the very institution that had inspired our newest of hobbies.

What I love about the Aquarium is how immediately you are put face to face with creatures that, up until relatively modern times, have gone completely undiscovered by mankind. I can't help but feel a slight bit of Lovecraftian fear peering into the tanks of plants and animals that exist in the most seemingly alien of conditions.

I am continually blown away by how each tank is a self contained living work of art. The compositions of color, movement and light are almost enough to overshadow the unique little critters that reside inside of them. Of course a lot of what you see is the natural product of functionality - keeping these self contained habitats alive and well calls for certain circumstances of plants, earth, and lighting to come together in a way that is completely memorizing.

Look close - That's a fish, not a rock! Scary.

I know most people dig the sharks and stingrays, but I am way more into the the aquatic plants and immobile animals like anemones. There's just something so foreign about them in comparison to my typical mammalian existence that I can't help but be fascinated by.

Of course the most amazing of all these types of creatures is the jellyfish.

It’s easy for me and Lacey to sit and stare at the hypnotic living swirl of the jellyfish's movements for uncomfortably long periods of time. Pretty impressive for a non-sentient psychedelic blob of goo.

The octopus tank is incredible, and yet again, terrifying in an existential sense. Seeing this guy slither around his tank was probably the most impressive thing we saw on our trip - which is saying a lot considering how incredible just about every display is!

The aquarium has an entire section dedicated to aquatic life native to Oklahoma. It's pretty amazing to see first hand the kind of unexpected wildlife present right here in our back yard. Compositionally speaking, these are the coolest tanks in the whole facility. There's something about the dark lighting and swampy vegetation that (like usual) appeals to my metal-head aesthetic.

I know I was dogging on sharks a little earlier, but honestly you HAVE to experience the shark tunnel. The water tunnel enclosure would be cool enough without anything floating around in it, but add some enormous under water predators, and you have a recipe for blown minds!



  1. I think that fish was eye-balling ya, Austin! Great pics by Lacey. I totally agree that these tanks are like living artwork.

  2. Christopher TwymanOctober 6, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Some days I feel like that shrimp standing on top of the eel...thanks guys for the great photos and the homegrown take on another of the awesome places to visit in Oklahoma.

  3. Thank you for the compliment, Lindsay! It's easy to shoot photos in such a colorful place, and I just love that it's an enjoyable trip at any age. I'm almost MORE amazed by aquariums now then I was when I was little!

  4. Wow, what a great narrative and fabulous photography! We have thought about having a photo contest, but you'd make it awfully tough for the competition!