Charni Road's Taraporewala Aquarium has been seeing schools and families in large numbers since the summer vacation began. And nothing's better than treating eager visitors with seven estuary sea horses (of species Hippocampus Kuda) and five sea snakes as new attractions. However, the aquarium's promise, made last year, of online booking has still not taken off.
Curious visitors take in the sight of a sea snake, part of the new additions at the Taraporewala Aquarium
"It's been two years since the aquarium was inaugurated and people get bored of seeing the same things. That's why we decided to procure something new," said Fisheries Commissioner Madhukar Gaikwad, in-charge of this aquarium. All the creatures are adults, and special water tanks have been created to accommodate these long sea snakes.
The new marine additions were brought in phases from Ratnagiri last week and kept in quarantine. Now, save for four sea horses still in quarantine, others have been kept on display.
An estuary sea horse at the aquarium. Pics/ Sayyed Sameer Abedi
"Since these animals come from their natural habitat, they are not used to crowds, lights or noise. Sudden exposure might lead to mortality. That is why we keep them in quarantine to acclimatise them," said curator Ajinkya Patil.
The authorities had declared last year that people would be able to book aquarium tickets online but have failed to deliver yet. The reason for the delay, they said, is that the MTDC is planning a tourism package for Mumbai.
"This aquarium will feature in the list of various tourist attractions. So, people will be able to book the entire tour online. The MTDC is going to develop the website and the booking facility," an official stated.
The Taraporewala Aquarium is one of the largest in the country. Built in 1951, the aquarium was shut for two years for renovation in 2013. It was renovated for a cost of Rs 22 crore and re-inaugurated in 2015 by the state chief minister. It has over 400 species of salt water and fresh water fish.