The Florida keys Aquarium offers a great selection of truly amazing and unique hands-on experiences for families to learn about and interact with marine life. We signed up for the Coral Reef Snorkel Encounter where we got to get into the huge saltwater aquarium with all kinds of reef fish to snorkel and feed the animals. In preparation for this encounter, we had gone to the beach the day before to test out and practice with our snorkel gear. I'm glad we did this because it made this day much smoother and our snorkel experience was more focused on the animals we got to see rather than the functional aspects of snorkeling.
The Florida Keys Coral and Reef Fish Coloring Book
I finally finished a working-draft of the fish coloring book! What began as a simple idea to make a kid-friendly version of my fish journal has morphed into a massive - and ongoing - project that I hope to improve upon over time. At the end of this post, you'll find two downloadable versions of the most recent edition of the coloring book: a printable version and one for digital use.
I think the first time I saw a wild scrawled filefish was at Molasses Reef near Key Largo. Before then I had only seen White Spotted Filefish and Orange Spot Filefish. Now that I am diving and snorkeling mostly in the Keys, I see these beautiful fish almost every single time. So it just makes sense to include this fish in the fish coloring book.
Although we are pretty unlikely to see a squirrelfish on a snorkel, I included squirrelfish in the fish coloring book partly because I thought it might be a fun fish to color, but mostly because it is my husbands favorite fish. He loves trying to spot their huge eyes peeking out from under ledges or catch a glimpse of their flowy tails flashing bright pink from within crevices.
The Surgeonfish Family
A tropical fish coloring book just wouldn't be complete without this ubiquitous fish; the Caribbean Blue Tang. Most people are pretty familiar with its Australian cousin made famous by beloved Dori. These somewhat less flashy, but still very beautiful Caribbean Tang are really important to coral reef health. Blue Tang and other members of the surgeonfish family help keep coral healthy by eating the algae that grows on it. Without this algae cleaning service, coral would have a hard time getting enough light to live and grow. You’ll see them swimming about the reef and stopping frequently head down to nibble on algae.