The Treasure Chest

Touching sea creatures is fascinating fun

The Treasure Chest as the name suggests is an exciting area in the uShaka Sea World aquarium where you can spend time unearthing the amazing gems of the shallows.

Spend time under the watchful eye of our guide as you explore the weird and wonderful ways of the brightly coloured sea anemones and starfish that are found in the colder waters of the Western Cape coastline.

You are allowed to touch, but with two fingers only, because these seemingly hardy animals are sensitive to disturbances in their environment. Put the tip of your finger into the mouth of a sea anemone and feel the gentle suction as it closes over your fingertip, mistakenly thinking that you are a tasty morsel. You will also feel that the water is very cold, just like the water in their natural habitat.

You also have the opportunity to look at and touch some amazing driftline species that wash up along our coastline. The guide will reveal some fascinating facts about shells and might even let you listen to the sound of the waves as you put a cowrie shell to your ear. Have you ever seen a piece of baleen that whales use to sieve their food as they swallow huge gulps from the sea?

Did you know that in order to grow bigger, crabs and crayfish literally pop out of their skin and shed the old skin while the new skin underneath hardens into a new shell? All these wonders are there for you to touch and explore.

When last did you look through a microscope? Probably when you were at school. Take time to sit quietly and look into the microscopes in The Treasure Chest. Have a look at the closely overlapping dermal denticles that make up the skin of a shark. Have a look at tiny microscopic organisms called artemia or brine shrimp that form a food source for many of the animals that live in sea water. Finally, have a close look at the skeleton of coral and imagine a tiny world of organisms that make up a complex coral reef ecosystem.

A guide explains who's who in the pool

If this is not enough for you, dip your hand into the Magical Mystery Tank and figure out why the water doesn't overflow. It is there to tickle your brain and test you.

When you've seen and touched everything, sit and relax while you watch a DVD that tells you about the wonders of the animals that live in the rock pools along our coastline.

Young and old alike, there is something for everyone in The Treasure Chest – look out for it when you are in the aquarium!