Mumbai: Free entry to aquarium spells housefull on first day, first show

The footpath outside the aquarium was crowded with people coming from Charni Road station and Marine Drive. News of free entry on the first day had spread like wildfire. The aquarium had no security checks and frisking which has now become a major part of public buildings. This was to the relief of the crowd on Day 1 at Taraporevala Aquarium.

Young and old were clicking and posing for selfies and pictures near the tanks. The entrance to the aquarium has an overhead fish tank arch which makes everyone look up in awe as they enter. A fountain with lotus in the basin leads to the main aquarium entrance with the amphitheatre to the left which was not yet operational.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the newly furbished aquarium, looks at the Giant Gourami

Hundreds of people were standing and staring at the sea turtle who was seen getting accustomed to his home. There are railings to ensure that people don’t get too close to the tanks. A television screen with information about the fish, their species, and breeds, where they are found and habitat in English and Marathi was very helpful. But the crowd did not allow enthusiasts to read all the information at leisure.

There was the smell of urine in the air as the washrooms were stinking with many visitors not knowing how to use the newly-renovated toilets. The three security men were finding it very tough to manage the crowd. There were many who were touching the tanks, especially that of the Singaporean turtles. The tank was open from the top.

Numerous announcements were being made for visitors to not touch, feed or harass the fish. These were in English and Marathi which were unheeded. Miniature tanks, shells and corals as well as decorative sea items were impressive but the crowding was even worse in this small viewing space.

With rates set to be Rs 30 for children and Rs 60 for adults from today onwards, the crowd at the aquarium will drop during weekdays but weekends may see a large number of people. There will be an additional fee to click pictures inside this marine marvel. All in all, it is upto the people of Mumbai to stick to rules and be more dis-sea-plined on their aquarium visit.

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