“Zoo Day”: Chapter 4

Entertainment Oct 19, 2022

Entering the Aquarium, we passed the bronze penguin statue that sat at the front and pushed through the double doors under the large archway that said:

              “THE HILSTONBURY AQUATIC CENTER FOR MARINE LIFE”

Once you enter the entryway, you're greeted by a large circular “welcome” room, with a large model of a blue whale looming above you, hanging from the ceiling. The walls and information desk had been painted to look like a coral reef, and there was a faint soundtrack playing that had soft bells and an “ocean white noise” feel to it. We nodded politely to the woman at the information desk and continued on to the aquarium’s exhibits.

First up was a large space for a group of penguins. Half of it was land,  where they waddled around and cuddled with each other, and the other half was underwater, where they could dive down and swim freely. All of this was visible with a giant wall of glass. Daddy had me take another polaroid picture in front of the penguins swimming around, and then he made me laugh until I was almost choking because he started mimicking the way the penguins waddled. He was laughing with me, and once we both calmed down, he said, “Let’s keep going, little man,” and patted me a few times on the butt. He gave me a wink, and I felt a blush creep over my face.

We passed a couple of tanks with different types of fish in little schools, some seahorses, and little crabs, before getting to a section with four different octopus tanks. Each octopus was a little different in size and color, but they were all securely suctioned to either a rock or the glass of their tank. We looked at them in awe for a while, and Daddy told me that octopuses could unscrew a jar lid from the inside, which I didn’t believe at first, but then he looked up a video on his phone and he was right!

I started to feel a little bit of excitement because I knew that after this area, we would get to the underwater tube, where Daddy said I could use my pacifier if it was safe. The tube was a big dark tunnel that turned a few times before letting you out at the other end, so there was room for a little privacy if it seemed empty, which it did as we rounded the corner into it. The tunnel went through a giant tank space filled with sharks and stingrays and all kinds of fish like you had been transported to an ocean floor.

Daddy smiled at me and asked, “Does baby Rory want his paci?” I blushed again and nodded, about to say that I had one in my PlayPack, but he had already taken his off and unzipped it. My blush deepened as I heard the loud crinkle from the plastic-backed diaper in his bag again, and after what felt like forever, he pulled his hand out with a light blue pacifier. I smiled and opened wide without prompt, as this was a regular action for us, and he popped the paci into my mouth, making a buzzing sound and acting like the pacifier was a bee. I sucked on it triumphantly, and he took my hand in his.

We walked slowly through the tunnel, looking around at everything swimming above us until we reached the mid-point, where there was a small bench. Daddy sat down on the bench and patted his knee a few times. “Sit down, baby,” he instructed softly. I felt a rush go through my body, and I happily sat on his thigh, wrapping my arms around his neck and laying my head on his shoulder. I sucked on my pacifier and watched the fish swim by as he rubbed my back softly. It was so peaceful. Even after just a minute, I thought I might fall asleep.

But my senses rushed back to me as I felt Daddy’s hand slide down my back slowly and into the waistband of my shorts. Before I could squirm, he had expertly slipped his hand into the leghole of my safari onesie and was squeezing the back of my diaper. It made a considerable squish in his hand. “Whoo!” He exclaimed softly. “That’s definitely wetter than I thought it was, but I think this diaper can survive through lunch.” I giggled a little, and he squeezed my diaper a few more times while teasing me, “This one is just such a little super soaker! Yes, he is!” and I squirmed under his grip, giggling more. “Okay, okay,” he said as he let me up from his lap. We held hands again as we continued through the tunnel, and once we reached the end, he held his hand out in front of me, and I deposited my pacifier into his palm, which he put into an outside pocket of his PlayPack for later. “Thank you, Daddy!” I made sure to say.

After the tunnel area was a big Jellyfish tank, where they swam around together in a large cylinder. We watched them for a couple of minutes before passing into the last section of the aquarium, and my favorite, the touch tank! That’s where they had a giant shallow pool at waist level, and after washing your hands, you could touch the animals inside! They had different types of starfish and barnacles, as well as a bunch of small stingrays that would swim up and take food pellets out of your hand. It was a big hit with kids and had always been a favorite area for me. We washed our hands and played with the animals for a while, giggling every time a stingray took a piece of food out of our fingers.

We washed our hands again when we were finished and finally passed into the gift shop, which was built to look like a mini version of the entryway room. The counter to pay looked like the information desk, and they had a giant stuffed blue whale hanging from the ceiling. When I was really little, I remember they had some of those giant stuffed whales that you could actually buy, but they were like $100 each, and I hadn't seen them stocked in a long time. We stopped to look around a tiny bit, but I still didn’t think I was going to get anything at this gift shop. We thanked the cashiers and headed outside again into a large center area.

There was a small garden here to the left next to a small center to get lunch and snacks. And to the right was the Hilstonbury Aviary, where a large collection of different birds were kept. Neither of us was quite ready for lunch yet, and it would be easier to get back to the petting zoo from the food pavilion after eating, so we headed towards the Aviary first, hand in hand… TO BE CONTINUED.

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