Wendy De la Garza
St. Pete Pier: Lionfish and a Song
Updated: Feb 28
We drove to the new St Pete Pier to dissect a lionfish (Pterois volitans) at the Tampa BayWatch Discovery Center. The Pier was beautiful + hottt. The aquarium is small, so sign up for a class to make it well worth it. We paid just a little more with our admission fee. Next time, we will come with a towel for the splash pad though! And I insist on snow cones. We could hear live music outside the aquarium while we ate lunch, so we decided to create a song about the fun facts we learned. This process also improves recall. It’s not too hard, just use a well-known song and change the wording. This one is a Rogers and Hammerstein number from the musical “South Pacific”. Lionfish are invasive—eating everything and anything native—and nobody eating it! They were brought in and discovered here in Florida in 1985, originating from the South Pacific.
The dissection was clean, well organized, and fun! The kids enjoyed learning about, touching, and visualizing fish body parts and functions. We measured using scientific measurements, cut, learned how to use a digital scale, and took notes on a data sheet. Definitely, we plan to go back and try the squid dissection!
Here’s the song the girls and I put together from the Lionfish facts posted specifically on their tank and what was taught during the dissection. I took photos of the facts we got, and wrote them down all on one sheet of paper at home. I put some parameters on the song to what was most important to remember.
Lionfish are invasive species, and should be removed (eaten? Yummy) before they eat all the native species and destroy native habitat.