At the Front Desk, the visitor receives an introduction to the museum including how to use the museum based upon its design, a museum map, as well as a preview of sharks, a Coati, and small sea creatures such as sea stars and a cute little clownfish named Charlie. The Coatimundi plays in his Coati Kingdom which twists through secret passageways into the Amazonian Rainforest. Coatis are quite acrobatic and use their extra long tails for balance. These creatures also have a sensitive sense of smell and keep smells on their tails when they find a smell they like. Males predominantly stay to themselves; females travel in packs.
Shark species found in this exhibit include the Horn Shark and Chain Dogfish. Horn sharks have a sharp barb before each of the dorsal fins. When predators try to eat them, the horns lodge in the roof of the mouth which hurts like heck. As a result, the horn shark is promptly spat out where it swims to safety. Chain Dogfish are deep-water sharks that can be found 500 feet below the ocean surface. Because there is little to no light that deep, chain dogfish see using infrared vision with funny visor-looking eyes. These sharks never move except when they’re eating; that’s why they’re called the slowest sharks in the ocean.
In addition to a friendly face, a joyful hello and a welcome, the visitor will learn about how to ensure their best possible visit and enhance their learning experiences at the front desk. Visitors learn how to touch the animals with one finger on the back or the side, learn how to pick up turtles like a hamburger, visitors also learn careful warnings about not wiggling fingers in front of the animals, not splashing in the water, no swimming in the fishtanks and, importantly, how to wash hands after interacting within the museum and touching the animals. Remember here at St. Louis Children’s Aquarium you can pet a shark!