A Kiss From Ursula

Yesterday we took a family vacation day and went into Boston to the New England Aquarium. My favorite tank in the aquarium holds the cuttle fish, which come up to the glass and eyeball the visitors. Wiggle your fingers and look at them with right attitude and they change colors, with patterns sweeping across their skin in patterns more complex than the most high-tech LED billboard. There’s also a large tank that you can put your hand in and rays swim under and over you. Silky, gentle and magical. We were at the aquarium in time to see the Fur Seal Training Show. Although what these animals are taught look like “tricks” – the behaviors are essential for giving them care and keeping their minds active and bodies fit. Still, seeing a seal swim in a circle on cue is cute. When the trainer asked, “does someone from the audience…” my hand shot up before she could finish saying “… meet Ursula.”

I got to touch Ursula’s flipper, which felt like rubber.

I got a kiss,

and I smiled the rest of the day.

On the way out, we passed the rehab and veterinary area. A sign said that a moray eel was being treated for prolapse and egg binding. Who knew that eels had the same problems as our chickens?!


  1. Ahh that seal is so cute !!! Poor moray eel, I wonder if they will be giving her a hysterectomy ? No so surprised that she would have the same problem, any creatrue that lays physical eggs would have the same problems. I have seen several turtles and iguana’s have to hysterectomies done because of egg binding.

  2. I visited that aquarium many years ago. Sounds like you had a fun vacation day. We have a great aquarium out here in Monterey. They are so educational and such a fun place for kids and adults.

  3. Growing up in Portland, Oregon meant summers at Cannon Beach and Seaside. The small, charming Seaside Aquarium was mostly dark, with mysteriously lit pools that held octopi and colorful sea anemones. The most delightful and noisy exhibit was the harbor seals. They swam, clapped, and barked for fish we threw them. I didn’t think about captivity in those days, but these seals were per ported to be long lived and well treated. Your experience reminded me of those decades-long ago favorite times.

  4. Hi Terry..Completely off the eel and seal subject but the article in Hobby Farms and chickens in the classroom was great with you being cited several times! Even at the beginning and end of the article! Congratulations!

  5. Hi Terry,
    When you take your son to San Francisco to school you should visit Denise in Monterey and while you are there visit the aquarium there. It is most amazing, especially the jelly fish exhibits. It is a little bit of a drive but it is beautiful!

  6. Yes, Yes! Karen is right. Do visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They also have a shore bird exhibit (my favorite) where a gentle surf washes up constantly and the birds nest and forage. You can watch up close from inside the exhibit. Fantastic!

    I love the seal kiss. How many people can say they’ve been kissed by a seal? I don’t blame you a bit for smiling all day. Sounds like you and your family had a great day. :)

    • I don’t know how Ursula got her name, but it’s a lovely one, and I think I should have a chicken named Ursula, don’t you?

  7. I met the lovely Ursula today! What incredible creatures. I was amazed at them, but equally as pleased that I was walking the same turf that Terry Golson had walked not too long ago! :)