Updated: 2013-07-21 08:28
By Wu Ni in Shanghai (China Daily)
Children observe rare shrimp and crabs in the aquarium. Wu Ni / China Daily
Looking for a fun and educational trip for children over the summer vacation? Take them to Shanghai's Changfeng Ocean World where they can not only visit an exhibition of rare shrimp and crabs, but come face-to-face with beluga whales and other underwater animals from around the world.
More than 20 rare species of shrimp and crabs are on display in one of the city's largest aquariums located 13 meters beneath an ornamental lake in Changfeng Park.
Most of the shrimp and crabs are only a few centimeters long, and rest leisurely in a line of glass tanks set in the walls of a tunnel. Some of the animals are too small to observe, so visitors have to use a magnifying glass to find them. Beside each tank there is a detailed introduction about the habitat, size and range of the shrimp or crab.
"Most of the crabs and shrimps in this exhibition are rare. Some of them are imported from abroad and have never been displayed in China before," says Wang Tingting, director of Changfeng Ocean World.
There is the box crab that looks like a mini steamed bun and loves hiding in the sandy bottom. There is horseshoe crab with a coarse shell with the nickname "ocean fossil".
A very rare shrimp, Wang says, is the colorful harlequin shrimp that lives in the coral reefs. They can grow as long as 5 cm and are capable of blending in with the environment to escape predators.
Rob Hicks, an organizer of the exhibition and display development's director of Merlin Entertainment Group, says the rare species are very susceptible to environmental change so they try to display them in an environment similar to their natural habitat.
"Though they are very tiny, the species have their roles in nature. Some have cleaning roles, some will eat dead animals and many of the baby animals are eaten by the big animals, which is very important to nature's food circle," he says. "We hope this exhibition can show the visitors, especially the children, the importance of protecting the ocean environment," he said.
Occupying an area of 10,000 square meters, Changfeng Ocean World has more than 300 fish species. It showcases a colorful and spectacular underwater world with shows such as deep ocean diving and otter performances.
Three beluga whales from Russia also give a performance at the stadium at Ocean World, which can accommodate up to 2,000 people.