Oregon aquarium will delve into dark waters with ‘Swampland

Oregon aquarium will delve into dark waters with ‘Swampland

How do you feed a 16-foot anaconda snake? “Very carefully” could be one answer. But another is that it takes two people: one to provide live food and the other to watch his or her back. Anacondas aren’t man-eaters, but their size and strength combine to make them potentially deadly squeezers.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, visitors to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Ore., will be able to see the anaconda (during feeding time too) and other reptiles and amphibians as part of “Swampland,” a two-year exhibit original to the aquarium that will highlight all that slithers and flourishes in dark, murky habitats.

The show tells the story of three distinct environments: the Pantanal, which stretches across Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay; a Florida mangrove swamp; and a southeastern U.S. cypress swamp. Vast wrap-around wall murals by aquarium artist Michael Cole depict animals and plants found in the various regions.

Oregon aquarium will delve into dark waters with ‘Swampland

“This exhibit explores the differences and commonalities in these types of swamps,” says aquarium spokeswoman Cindy Hanson. “The main goal is to show how vital wetlands and swamps are to our global environment.”

Live animals on display (these will change from time to time during the exhibit’s run) will include a 6-foot alligator, piranhas, red-tail boas, an alligator, a snapping turtle and tropical fish that thrive in mangrove roots. Visitors can crawl through a simulated alligator burrow or “swim with piranhas” at an interactive tank (no, you don’t get wet or get eaten by carnivorous fish.)

Oregon aquarium will delve into dark waters with ‘Swampland

The aquarium is on the coast in the town of Newport, west of Corvallis, along U.S. Highway 101. Tickets cost $15.45 for adults, $12.75 for 13-to-17-year-olds and $9.95 for children 3 to 12. Contact: Oregon Coast Aquarium, 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road, Newport; (541) 867-3474.

– Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Photo (top): A 6-foot American alligator will be on display at “Swampland.” Credit: Cindy Hanson / Oregon Coast Aquarium

Photo (middle): Part of a mural by aquarium artist Michael Cole depicting cypress swamps in the southeastern United States. Credit: Michael Cole

Photo (bottom) A red-tail boa is one of the reptiles that will be displayed at the two-year exhibit. Credit: Cindy Hanson / Oregon Coast Aquarium

By LA Times

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