This living Amazonian Rainforest at the river’s bank may seem crowded at first, but one can find an underlying order by looking at its various parts. This exhibit was designed to mirror the complexity of the real forest found at the banks of the Amazon River complete with a full complement of fishes. The main difference between the real and the “imagined” experienced at St. Louis Children’s Aquarium is that the artificial one has clear (and not muddy) water and a clear separation of the aquatic and the terrestrial living areas. What you can see is a living forested section which is a combination of vines, trees, ground plants, shrubs and epiphytes, some growing out of a section of a fallen tree. Above the tree you see a living ecosystem of giant green iguanas, two-toed sloths, four-eyed opossums, all interacting. While outside of this area you find giant sized blue and gold macaws, Quaker Parrots, and an umbrella Cockatoo from the Australian Rainforest. All of this exhibitry occurs above a 3000-gallon re-creation of the Amazon River.
In the aquatic portions of the room, you will find several of the 2,000 fish species found in the Amazon River. Many of these species are harvested for the fish hobby trade. Some of the giant fish in the large aquatic exhibit are black pacu. The pacu in the wild eat fruits and nuts, however, they can also be seen on the grills of lucky fisherman who prize their sweet tasting meat. Visitors can even feed these fish. Bring plenty of quarters. Giant red-tailed catfish, giant oscars and armor plated catfish and other unusual fish come to the water’s surface to eat food fed by the visitors to St. Louis Children’s Aquarium.
Towards the bottom of the room, at children’s eye level, are ground-dwelling creatures from the Amazon Rainforest, including guinea pigs and chinchillas. Children and adults can pet these furry animals and observe them in their special habitats.
As a whole, one gets a small sense of the sheer density and enormity of the Amazonian ecosystem teeming with life in every branch and stream here at St. Louis Children’s Aquarium.