Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Visit to the Georgia Aquarium

Going to the Georgia Aquarium last week reminded me that there's plenty of "natural" creatures out there that can be used in a D&D game. You don't need orcs and goblins for the adventures to fight--a squid close up is creepy enough, as are giant japanese crabfish, which can grow up to 12 feet long.

From Wikipedia

Okay, so I forgot to bring my camera--the main attractions don't allow cameras anyway.

The entire place is geared more for children for the most part. One of the main attractions, Dolphin Tales, tells a story of the Starspinner who's lost his ship. The ship was sunk by an evil sea monster, have fiery turtle, half battleship-thing with a bony tail. The dude playing the Starspinner even got up in front of the audience and sang while his dolphin minions and their trainers frolicked about in the pool below him.

At one point, he called upon the audience to help raise his ship from the sea. And me, being gullible, actually thought they were going to raise a physical ship from the pool, and maybe have the dolphins leap over it and stuff. But no. They showed a CGI ship on the big screen over the pool. Then the Star Spinner, with the help of his dolphin allies, and his newly resurrected ship, defeated the sea monster thus making the ocean safe once again. He spun a new constellation in the sky that looked like a dolphin in remembrance.

I'm sure there's an adventure plot in there someplace. At the very least folks like Jack Chick would object because it had magic, a devilish looking sea monster, a spirit of the air that blew the Star Spinner's ship out of the belly of the beast, and lots of singing.

The only exhibit that might not be children-friendly featured lots of dissected specimens all over the place. It was odd, because the Aquarium prides itself on having millions of gallons of water to support all of this life, and then I come into a room with a dead emperor penguin with its guts exposed. An eel had been sliced into thin segments--each segment until glass. A white shark with most of its guts missing.

(Maybe it was good thing after all that I forgot my camera.)

I felt like I was in some mad scientists lair, some dude searching for the meaning of life by cutting animals open and putting them on display. Any moment the sea elves would appear and beg me to stop him.

I believe that going to the places like the Georgia Aquarium is good for gamers. We all need to step away from the table from time-to-time and rekindle our sense of wonder in the world around us.

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