Stingray Discovery At Aquatica

Discovering Treasures Of Life

Everyday, we are given chances to discover something beautiful and inspiring. Discoveries that rejuvenate our spirit and brings us to moments of pure happiness. Some discoveries lead us to love, others lead us to fun and excitement while others lead us to a meaningful spiritual journey that will forever change our lives. Some are simple yet endearing like finding out your child made a card for your Birthday while others grand and spectacular like a travel to a place of your dreams. Big or small, each of these discoveries becomes a cherished treasure that we will always carry with us wherever we go.

The most memorable and happiest discoveries I made were the ones I shared with the people who never gave up on me.

Discovering A Magical Time At Aquatica

We wanted to surprise our son last Saturday. I had a day off and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to surprise him with a trip to a water park filled with fun rides and fascinating sea creatures?”

We left Houston around 07:00 A.M. heading to Sea World San Antonio’s latest exciting waterpark called Aquatica. Our son looked thrilled that we were going out of town. He doesn’t know where we were going. All he knew that morning was that we were to visit a friend. Half way down our trip, he started making his countdown. Excitedly, after reading a road sign he shouted, “Yipee! 30 more miles to go!”

We finally arrived at our destination with 30 more minutes to spare. Just before we turned towards the parking lot I asked him, “Hey, can you read that sign?” He replied eagerly, “It says…Sea World. What? Your friend lives in Sea World?” Me and my wife laughed so hard my hands started to shake as I held on to the steering wheel.

As we rushed to the park’s entrance my son curiously asked, “So, who’s your friend dad?” I told him,  “You don’t know who is my friend?” He answered back, “No. I don’t know.” I replied cheerfully, “It’s Shamu.” We looked at each other then we both started to laugh.

Discovering The Fun Rides And Surprises

First ride was the Stingray Falls. It’s a raft ride that drops down from about 3 stories high into a tube with many twists and turns, passing through a cascading falls followed by a huge splash. After which, we all entered a grotto that looks like an Aquarium with swimming Stingrays and bright, colorful tropical fishes. My son and I were laughing and shouting at the top of our lungs while my wife was shouting too but of the terrified kind. She thought the raft would flip over. I felt bad that she felt scared. We gave her a hug and soon enough she was fine and was back on her feet.

After jumping and swimming at the Big Surf Shores, we had a more relaxing time at one of the pools. It was about 4 feet deep with Stingray shaped floaters. My son tirelessly jumped from one floater to the next. I was swimming beside him making sure he does not collide with another jumping kid. Eventually, I got exhausted and pretended I was a floater too.

We discovered that this owl was a local inhabitant of the park who now proudly serves as an animal ambassador. Her name is Chloe. She had a very touching story that made us realize everyday, we humans take their homes by cutting trees for various reasons. Meeting her was a great way to understand our role in preserving Nature.

Our most thrilling discovery of the day was venturing at the mesmerizing world of stingrays at Ke-Re Reef. Me and my son were able to book a close encounter with these gentle, fascinating creatures. My son was a bit scared at first but after touching the first of the 170 stingrays, they won his heart.

As we fed the stingrays, several of them would swim around us and flap their wing-like fins creating splashes of water. It was the happiest 15 minutes ever!

When the stingray ate the fish, I felt like my hand was being suctioned by a vacuüm cleaner. It was scary and strange for the first several seconds, then after that, I felt like I was a kid all over again, having one of the most magical, beautiful discoveries of his life.

I was all fired up at the end of the day. We all had a great time discovering the many adventures and surprises of Aquatica. I was so happy that we all shared the day’s discoveries as one family. Happy enough to have the energy to drive another 3 hours back to Houston. That night, my wife sounding amazed told me, “Wow! You drove a total of 6 hours today.” I smiled back with my eyes all ready to drop, “Yes I did and my body felt it 100%. But, I’ll do it again for another unforgettable discovery!” I can’t remember anything after that. I must have passed out.

We should never miss a chance of making a new discovery with the people who means everything to us. We should never miss a moment of creating a discovery that may change our life or their lives for the better. The possibility that there is always a tomorrow should not be an excuse of making delays of something we all could have done today. The things we may discover today may not be the exact opportunity tomorrow.

Today’s Weekly Image Of Life is titled “Discovery.” 

Discovery is a way for us to open our eyes and heart to the beauty and joy around us. Discovery is a key to a lifetime of amazing journeys.

Thank you once again for sharing your day with me. May this post inspire you to embrace and see the beautiful images around you.

Today, discover the inspiring world of these blogger friends.

Helen “Knittinggalore” of http://citylifepicture.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/weekly-image-of-life-exciting-escape/

Francine of http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/weekly-image-of-life-exciting-escape/

Indigo of http://freezeindigo27.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/weekly-image-of-life-exciting-escape/

Deepa of http://perceptionsofareluctanthomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/exciting-escape-camping-at-a-high-altitude-lake/

Patricia of http://lifeofaministermom.com/2012/09/11/weekly-image-of-life-exciting-escape/

For those who wish to join in this week’s challenge, here’s a link and the widget. Have a great time making unforgettable discoveries.

http://thismansjourney.net/2012/06/13/weekly-image-of-life-happiness/ 

All images taken using an iPhone 4 camera with Camera + App. My friends, have fun discovering and creating the most beautiful images everyday. They are a part of the unforgettable memories you make in this lifetime.

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
This entry was posted in Travels, Weekly Image Of Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to Stingray Discovery At Aquatica

  1. These stringrays are so beautiful… wow.

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  2. adinparadise says:

    What a memorable day you and your son had. It must have been really special to touch and actually feed those stingrays. :)

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  3. restlessjo says:

    This was a discovery and a half! What a fantastic day you had. Feeding stingrays? Superb! I love the things you do to make your son happy.

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  4. Northern Narratives says:

    Water parks are so much fun. You took lots of great photos too :)

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  5. Angeline M says:

    You know what I think? You are just a big kid!!! Sounds like you might have had the most fun of everybody …except for the driving six hours part.

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    • Thanks Angeline. Yes, my wife also says that but I think we should never forget the little kid in al of us. When we embrace the world and it’s adventures like a kid, happiness is at its purest. It’s a great way to get rid of stress too.

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  6. You son was brave to walk among the sting rays. What a fun trick you played on him. Amazing all the fun and discovery you can squeeze into one day.

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  7. Madhu says:

    I agree with Angeline, you seem to have as much or more fun than everyone else :-) But who wouldn’t enjoy a day out like that! Amazing photos!

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    • Honestly, I just want to make the best and happy memories as I can with my family. Recently I heard news of death among friends at an early age and makes me realize more that we really do need to live our life to the fullest because we don’t know what tomorrow brings. Thanks Madhu.

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  8. cocomino says:

    It’s very interesting to touch with animal in water. Nice post. :smile:

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  9. Valentina says:

    One lucky boy! Did you know that stingray has the most delicious, white and delicate meat? I buy them often when my trusted fish monger brings them in.

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  10. The Guat says:

    I love the sting ray picture the one with your son and then the lonely dude with a massive amount of sting rays just hanging out near him. Wow. I think I would have freaked out at first and then after a little bit just jumped in for an interesting 15 minutes. As always great photos!

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  11. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I love sting rays, never been in the water with them but been able to stroke them, just wonderful!

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  12. Pingback: TRAVEL THEME: RED « mywordwall

  13. Imelda says:

    What a nice surprise. Children are almost always thrilled by the water and playing in the water.
    I am glad to be able to join this week. Thanks for the link-up, IT. :-) http://mywordwall.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/travel-theme-red/

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  14. Pingback: WEEKLY IMAGE OF LIFE: DISCOVERY « Francine In Retirement

  15. fgassette says:

    I enjoyed reading and seeing your wonderful photos of your trip to Aquatica. I enjoyed your discoveries. Since I had posted my discovery on my recent trip to the Grand Canyon, I took a different turn on this weeks challenge. I hope you enjoy it. http://wp.me/p23TG1-1iQ

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    Like

    • I love your entry and wish to share the comment I made in your post.
      My dear Francine, I wish to run the race with you and discover that we are never alone in both the highs and lows of the race called “Life.” Not only were images inspiring but the words touches my very heart and give it the encouragement to run the best way I know how. thanks for sharing this amazing post. Beautiful, “Life is a race, full of endless discoveries. We are all a part of this race, that can lead us through many twist and turns. Sometimes our path is clear before us. Often the road may be obscured and we have to find our way through the crowd. “ Thanks for sharing your amazing world!

      Like

  16. What a joyous experience for your family–thanks for letting us share the experience.

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  17. Marianne says:

    What a lovely surprise for your son to discover so many new experiences. I´m sure it was a day he will never forget!

    I swam with stingrays at a place where there is a huge shallow sandbank a few miles out into the sea from the Cayman Islands. It was quite surreal!

    Wonderful photos – and a great challenge.

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  18. I want to “swim” with stingrays too! :)

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  19. deepa says:

    Lovely! Brought back memories of our trip to sea world in California many years back! We didn’t swim with the sting rays though! That must have been a great experience!

    Like

  20. Pingback: Weekly Image Of Life: Discovery « City Life Picture

  21. Again you have such wonderful photos! Thankyou for mentioning city life :) Here’s mine for this week http://citylifepicture.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/weekly-image-of-life-discovery/

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    • Love your post! What an exciting discovery.The loggerhead sea turtle is a joy to see. I always wanted to
      see a sea turtle in their natural habitat. I bet it was an enchanting moment. Beautiful photo. Thanks for sharing. have a blessed day…best wishes to your family.

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  22. Sunshine says:

    What a great surprise for your son and a wonderful memory for your family…your reflection is very uplifting. Thanks, Island T.!! :)

    Like

  23. likeitiz says:

    What a great treat! The stingray thing freaked me out a bit though. Not sure I’d be willing to do that!

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  24. viveka says:

    Wonderful post – isn’t fantastic when especially kids have a chance to interact with nature in a nice way … just love. Great shots too.

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  25. Amazing story! Now I can’t wait to have a son! And a wife too! This whole thing sounds like family to me. Now I think I love family! :)

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    • There was a time I thought I would be single for a long time but when you meet the right one, you can wait to see forever with that person. And a child completes everything and the adventure begins. I wish you the best my friend. I know soon destiny will knock on your door.

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  26. What a fantastic experience! That´s what life is all about enjoying it and making discoveries, and memories, with those you love! Feeding the stingrays sounds like an amazing experience, I would have loved it as a child, still would now! Thank you for sharing, I really enjoyed reading it! Great theme for the week! G :)

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  27. Amy says:

    I felt I could hear you and your wife laughing when you replied that your friend was Shamu… What a joyful day! The Sea World is so awesome!

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  28. Fergiemoto says:

    What a great experience! I think I would have enjoyed the sting ray encounters. Wonderful you had such a special family day of discovery.

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  29. That looks like a wonderful adventure!! I love the stingrays, I was able to see a stingray in the ocean when I was snorkeling in the Bahama’s, I will admit though I was only in water up to my neck because I was to chicken to go deeper but I was fortunate to see him swim right below me, very cool and a wonderful memory :)

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  30. Sartenada says:

    What a wonderful day You spent there. I have never been in Water World theme park, so this was very interesting to me to read and admire Your photos.

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  31. Paula says:

    We are given chances, that’s true, but it does not mean we always take them ;). I enjoyed this as much as your previous posts …..

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    • That’s true but sometimes I have thoughts like,”What if…” and I don’t want to realize later that I have many regrets of things I wanted to do but didn’t. It’s impossible to predict what happens tomorrow. A lot of us live our days like it’s infinite but we all know it is not. Thanks Paula.

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  32. auntyuta says:

    It’s wonderful to see how you as a family always enjoy doing things together. Looking at the photos I can see you had another action packed day. It seems. Aquatica is a fantastic place for a family outing. Thanks for sharing this wonderful day. Stunning pictures as always!. Thank you.

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  33. It looks like you had a most incredible day. All that driving though, UGH! And you would have discovered just how claustrophobic I really am if you ever tried getting me into that tube! Fabulous discovery, IT. :-) Hope to be back…

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  34. Ron says:

    Loved the journey IT but the noncostlng and most beautiful things to bring enjoyment and pleasure are Gods creations, His animals etc good to see your boy enjoying them.

    Blessings
    Ron

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  35. Connie T says:

    You always have beautiful pictures, but you always show the back of the head. Why never a face?

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    • Well, I’m not ready yet and my son is at a vulnerable age. Plus I don’t really want my co-workers to know yet. The internet age is accessible to everyone and much as I wish to share everything, I need to retain that part of me that is still private. I will slowly show my other bigger family though and the next post is just the beginning. Thanks Connie.

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  36. eof737 says:

    Such fun in the sun… makes me want to splash around a pool… :-)

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    • Ha, ha, ha….indeed fun! The first few hours, the water was icy cold though. Autumn cooler mornings are starting to affect the water temperature. I will miss Summer for sure! Thanks.

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  37. MythRider says:

    I like your introduction to this post. Very wise.

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  38. dearrosie says:

    You are the BEST Dad driving 6 hours for a day’s outing. Beautiful.

    I hadn’t heard of Aquatica. What a wonderful place. How fun to get into the water and feed the stingrays!

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  39. Tammy says:

    I love this kind of discovery! The touch of a sting ray is amazing.

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  40. ristinw says:

    Oh, such a close encounter!! ^^ it must be so fun!!!

    Like

  41. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday & Discovery « Canadiantravelbugs's Blog

  42. I’m back! I have missed a lot of challenges lately. Been so busy with work I have run out of weekend before I have time to post for the different challenges. ;)
    https://canadiantravelbugs.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/weekly-photo-challenge-everyday-discovery/

    Like

    • I appreciate a lot that you joined this week. It is hard to balance work , life and our passion to blog. I’d been working hard too with 1-2 days off in between. I have been delayed with my responses and I’m really thankful for the patience of my blogger friends. Thank you and have a blessed day.

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      • Thanks… it is hard to keep up most days. I try to post and respond regularly, but that means I miss out on reading all the blogs I follow :(. Putting things in priority is also making hard choices.

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  43. Food Stories says:

    I love stingrays & those are beautiful :-)

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  44. munchow says:

    What a wonderful surprise for you son. He must have be in awe. It certainly seems like you all had fun. And, yes, you are very right, we ought to cherish every small or big moment of joy and love in life. Stingrays are quite some animals. I was actually stung by one many years ago way out in absolutely no-where-land. That wasn’t so fun at all…

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    • Sorry about that. Yes, stingrays in the wild are dangerous. I treated a patient in the islands where the tip of the sharp ragged edge tail pierced his back. We had to make an incision to pull it out and stitch it back. The one in Aquatica, the sharp tip is clipped off like when we clip our nails. Thanks.

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  45. Pingback: “3 Sisters” (Divesite), The Damaniyat Islands | Andy in Oman

  46. Judy says:

    Love your Discovery adventure! The stingray photos are awesome! Your son must have really enjoyed the whole thing! And….unless I’m wrong…his dad did too! ;) Here’s my Discovery..all about Dahlias….I’ve met a new flower and I love it! http://jayjaysfavorites.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/weekly-image-of-life-discoverydahlias/
    sorry I’m so late.

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    • Thanks Judy. Dahlias reminds me of the Sun…radiant, glowing, warm, beautiful. My sister is a fan and made a collection of it. It is a perfect centerpiece in any garden. It’s a joy to see these images coming to life through your words and very vivid capture of the flowers. And I agree, ““Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Have a great day my friend.

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  47. Barb says:

    As always, your photos make me feel as though I’m there. You’re right, each discovery, big or small is a treasure.

    Like

  48. Pingback: Weekly Image of Life: Discovery « Life of a Minister Mom

  49. lifeofaministermom says:

    This pictures are so vibrant and gorgeous! Isn’t it amazing what we can do with our phones nowadays?! Anyways, this post makes we want to get up and discovery some new things about myself, find new adventures to enjoy with my family, and be grateful for every opportunity to get out and explore the world. I love this and you bring every experience you share to life! Here are some discoveries through the eyes of my precious baby girl. http://lifeofaministermom.com/2012/09/18/weekly-image-of-life-discovery/

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    • lifeofaministermom says:

      *These* pictures. Typo. ;)

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      • Thank you Patricia. Your daughter simply lights up and brings a cheerful joy around her. She reminds me of my son at that age. Each smile and growth milestone is a magical moment that we will always cherish in our hearts. It is a joy to discover you and your family making a beautiful difference in this world, inspiring others to love and embrace their amazing faith. You truly are blessed with the best treasure of all, you family and your God. Take care and best wishes to your family.

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  50. Pingback: Discovery of a temple’s history | perceptionsofareluctanthomemaker

    • Thank you Deepa. What an amazing discovery. The temple, its legend and the amazing life and beauty around it is truly one unforgettable personal and spiritual journey. I am a fan of various cultures that celebrates their roots and takes pride and joy in their heritage. A priceless, beautiful discovery. Exciting images and fun surprises. the monkeys had me jumping with excitement. Thanks for sharing this wonderful event. Have a blessed day.

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  51. Iamrcc says:

    I enjoyed your Weekly Image of Life:Discovery. Thank you for visiting my blog and liking my Weekly Challenge post Solitary.

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  52. What an mazing experience.

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