A relatively unknown Wellington gem, the Island Bay Marine Education Centre is a great way to better understand what lives beneath the waters surrounding Wellington. Set up 25 years ago it has grown steadily more popular, annually attracting 9,000 kids during the week on school trips, and 12,000 people on Sundays when it is open to the public.
An open tank allows visitors to handle starfish and similar animals, usually resulting in squeals!
The star attraction is the octopus, which is rotated every 4-6 months as they only live for 5 years. They are brought in after accidental catches by lobster fishermen.
There’s generally a feeding session late morning on Sundays when it is fed a live crab or something similar. I’m glad I wasn’t doing the feeding!
The only non-native animals are the terrapin.
There are a number of colourful crayfish, which are related to lobsters, and are native to North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
There’s an impressive variety of fish for a small place.