Gangsta Monkey — Europe’s Largest Aquarium

Now that the semester is finally winding to a close (and after the fantastic news that I passed my insanely freaking difficult linguistics midterm), I decided to take a trip to Campona to visit Budapest’s Tropicarium, which is the largest aquarium in Europe. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only an aquarium, though! It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the animals. Quite literally.

Pretty much, you walk into the live environments in which the animals live. The birds fly free above your head, the guinea pigs scurry behind some logs at your feet, and the stingrays come up from the water to meet you and get some friendly pats. It was really cool, even if it was a bit more expensive than I would have liked. It was worth it.

It was smaller in general walking area than I expected, but it wasn’t small by any means. It was just constructed very well so that you didn’t have to do much walking in order to see a lot of stuff. You walk in and travel down this hand-painted tunnel depicting all kinds of animals and aquatic scenes.

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Once you pass through that tunnel, you enter a small area with freshwater aquariums before emerging into a jungle-like room, birds darting above your head and shrieking at each other. Snakes curl around logs on the walls and coil into cool water pools. Which end is the tail?

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Answer: NEITHER. I can’t find the thing’s tail.

Anyway, you can wander around in there with the monkeys, birds, and snakes, as well as some turtles and flightless birds. After that, you can cross a log bridge to reach a crossroads, underneath which is this grumpy guy staring up at you.

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I chose to take the left path and explore another aviary with some more monkeys and some insects and poisonous frogs as well. After I was satisfied with seeing all of those animals, I backtracked to the gator and took the right-hand path, which led to a long tunnel aquarium full of sharks and stingrays.

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Past that is a room with tropical fish of all shapes and sizes culminating in the giant tank where the stingrays eagerly wait for their human servant-visitors to stroke their faces and fins. I swear, those things were desperate. I’m not joking — they were jumping out of the water and scurrying against the wall in order to try and reach someone’s hand. They love it.

It sounds like it was pretty small, right? Not in the slightest. Like I said, it was just very well constructed to contain a lot of stuff in a small walk-area.

*****

I found it intriguing that, as I walked through, the characters of the animals really came through since they were free to do what they liked in their environments. I saw parallels with all kinds of human stereotypes, so that‘s how I’m going to show you some of the cool animals I found. More fun than just listing them off! 🙂

Of course, the Biker Gang Dude:

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The Gary Coleman “What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”

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The Awkward Obtrusive Friend:

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The Beavis and Butthead:

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The Diva:

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The Way-Too-Nosy:

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The Big Grinning Galoot:

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The “Oh You In Trouuuuble Now!” :

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The “I Forgot My Pants!” :

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The Balloon Static Head-Scrubber:

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The Couch Potato:

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The “Don’t Go Towards the Light!” :

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The Butterfingers:

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The Wise Mentor:

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The Happy Dreamer:

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The Best Friends:

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The Overly Arrogant:

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The Chameleon:

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(Ha! You thought I was going to show a lizard!)

The Sheltered Genius:

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The Grump:

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The Shy:

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And the Misunderstood:

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Hopefully that gives you a little better idea of how cool the place was. I strongly suggest that anyone who visits Budapest come to this place. It doesn’t take too much time to go through (unless you want it to!), and there are some really cool animals. I personally walked through it three times, finding new animals each and every time. Of course, because they’re free to roam, I’m sure I missed some that were hiding.

Still, it was great fun!

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