The mysterious depths of the sea have always held a certain spell over me. To live on land and barely breach an entire world teeming with life is incredible.
For the sake of being completely honest, the ocean terrifies me as well. The dark waters drum up intense fears of sharks, oxygen deprivation, sharks, jellyfish, and, oh yeah, sharks. However much of a sissy I am about it, the sea has always been fascinating.
With my fascination and fears in tow, Dan and I stopped in at the “Fantastic Sea Monsters” exhibit in the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canal Centre. It was the perfect opportunity to separate fact from fiction without getting a single toe wet.
The “Fantastic Sea Monsters” exhibit holds a nice balance of facts and myths, photos and objects, learning and fun. Produced by the Musée du Fjord, the exhibit is touring Canada with its current stop being St. Catharines.
Sharks, whales, giant squids, octopi, and sea snakes are on display with their fascinating stories of legend. Any ties to actual science and history are presented alongside these mysterious myths.
Imagine my surprise at the display featuring the mighty Megalodon, a gigantic shark sized at up to 66 feet, who was a hunter without equal. It even ate whales! WHALES! At first, my brain insisted it had to be a myth and then was shocked to discover it as a very real creature. Fortunately, for my sanity, the Megalodon died off over two million years ago.
Being familiar with some Kraken stories, I wasn’t aware that it was actually a legendary Canadian sea monster. Apparently many sailors had approached the Atlantic coast with warnings of a large beast with tentacles that threatened their vessels. According to the lore, Kraken could grow to tremendous sizes and wrap their tentacles around the hull of a ship and pull it under.
A large section of the exhibit is dedicated to Mermaids. The sad, cruel history behind the mermaid myth is the widespread hunting and capture of Dugongs, who were at the source of Mermaid legends. Their unique body shape was commonly mistaken for the typical mermaid description. It was interesting to see how mermaid lore also was tied to sirens, as I was under the impression that the two were different.
I don’t want to cover too many details on this exhibit because you really should go see it yourself. It was a pleasant stroll, being able to pull at individual story threads along the way.
It can often be a challenge to find activities that are fun and also educational. With so many stimulating stories, television interactivity and impressive displays, taking your family to this exhibit is an easy decision. Plus, admission by donation means that you can pay a price that fits your budget.
The “Fantastic Sea Monsters” exhibit in the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canal Centre will be on display until March 24, 2013.
“Fantastic Sea Monsters”
St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canal Centre
Located at Lock 3 of the Welland Canal, the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre welcomes you to explore the history of St. Catharines and the Welland Canals. Watch as ships work their way through the canal. Enjoy our amenities, including our gift shop and snack bar or stroll, bike or rollerblade along the Recreations Trail.
Open Daily 9AM to 5PM
Admission By Donation
1932 Welland Canals Parkway
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2R7K6