Goldfish Carnage

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So being that we're in Austin, without our stuff, and with very tight funds, we like to find free things to do.

Today I thought we'd make a little outing to Cabela's. I've never been and heard that there was pretty much a whole taxidermy museum in there, along with a good sized aquarium filled with large river fish. Sounds like fun for kids right? Off to Buda we went!

The store is huge and in the center is a small mountain with taxidermied animals all over it. It's nice that most of them are labelled as well for learning purposes. There's also a small section with animals from Africa.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the mountain, little waterfalls and animals posed thereon but the aquarium was definitely the highlight of our trip, at least for the boys.

Within the giant freshwater tank swim Catfish, Crappie, Sunfish, Carp, and Black Bass among others. We also saw a Pig-nosed turtle and some snapping turtles. Then we noticed all the goldfish in the tank. You would think we would have seen them first, being that their orange color was vivid in comparison with the drab colored fish around them. But we hadn't because they were all clustered at the top of the tank in a back corner. About that moment it dawned on me why this was.

A snapping turtle swam right in front of us with a wiggling goldfish in its mouth. As the turtle swam, it chomped on the fish and suddenly a goldfish head was floating to the bottom of the tank, the body still in the turtles mouth. My boys made exclamations of "Awesome!" and "Cool!"  I hoped my daughter hadn't noticed. But when I turned toward her, she was staring, horror stricken at the decapitated goldfish head on the pebbled floor of the tank. I was about to say something to her when we both watched a large catfish swim over the fish head, and suck it up into it's mouth.

"No!" she cried out. "Not goldfish!" Goldfish are too cute to eat!!!" Her eyes were huge with concern and brimming with tears.

I patted her on the back and tried to explain to her about the circle of life and why it was okay that cute little goldfish were getting torn apart or swallowed whole. Luckily she kept the tears at bay and while her brothers sat transfixed, happily watching goldfish get plucked off one by one, she kept cheering them on in their pitiful attempts to get away. I love her tender heart.