Day 30: Visiting The Fish Hatchery

Apparently, my mom took my sisters and I to the Allentown Fish Hatchery multiple times when we were little. Either she mistook me for one of my sisters (very plausible) or I was in diapers, because I have no recollection of ever being there. In fact, the first time I even thought about visiting the fish hatchery was about two years ago, when my mom took a young girl from our neighborhood to see it. The idea of a fish hatchery sounded fun and exciting, and I was slightly disappointed my mom was taking this young girl, when her own daughter, ate age 22, hadn’t even experienced it.

I’ve thought about it off and on since then. I love animals and therefore love aquariums and zoos so I put the fish hatchery on my blog list. I was planning on taking this trip a couple of weeks ago, when we were having a rainy, cold day, but then my mom informed me it was outside. Bummer! So I rescheduled. Today, my mom was free and the weather was warm so to the fish hatchery it was.

Seeing the 'fish frenzy' for the first time

When I pulled in, I realized that I had to immediately alter my expectations. This was not going to be the trip I had imagined. I had envisioned a small museum housing information about the hatchery, and outside there would be paths around shrubs and gardens with bigĀ  pools that held fish in them along with signs that explained the kind of fish that were there and what is done to “raise” them.

What I got instead were cement sidewalks around big vats that held fish you could barely see due to the dark-colored vat, dark water, and dark fish. There were also no signs of information and at the back of this cement attraction was a tacky, trailer-sized office that held some stuffed fish on shelves and plastic, blue chairs. And this was what I took in looking through the windows, as the building was closed. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a nice museum or I might have actually been bummed about it not getting to go inside. It’s a good thing these baby fish don’t understand human things or they would’ve been depressed that they got stuck with such a lousy, ugly nursery.

Oh well, it was the fish I came for, not the aesthetics. As we walked between the vats of fish, an aroma made its way to my nose. Fish and fish water. I immediately felt like I was in New Hampshire, fishing from our rowboat, surrounded by this smell. A great memory, but not a great smell.

My mom bought me a $1 bag of fish food (yes, you can feed the fish!) and I felt like a little girl, smiling with anticipation. We came up to the first vat of fish and I threw in a handful of food. Woah! Talk about a fish frenzy! The fish went crazy jumping up and around each other to get to the food. You’d have thought they hadn’t eaten in a week. And this is where I got sad. Some fish weren’t going to get any food. I then started to throw handfuls in different areas so that the fish on the ends could get some too. That made me feel a little better.

We walked along the sidewalks, my mom taking pictures, and me throwing food into each vat, wishing I had bought ten bags so all the fish could eat. It wasn’t until I was at the bottom of my food bag that a sobering thought hit me. I was doing it all wrong! If I had spread out all my food into just one vat, most, if not all the fish would’ve gotten some, and the fish in the other vats would’ve never known what they didn’t have a chance to get. But instead, I had spread it out between vats, and even though my intentions were good, I probably caused so many more fish heartache when they were too slow to get to the food thrown in their vat. And they all knew what they were missing.

It was on this depressing thought that we headed back to the parking lot. I’m now sitting here, deciding I need to go again and wondering if my budget will support all the fish at the hatchery.

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2 Comments on “Day 30: Visiting The Fish Hatchery”

  1. MaryEllen Says:

    Just in case you didn’t know… those fish you were feeding… or like I like to put it, fattening up for the kill… get “stocked” in the Monocacy (..among other places) and provide food/entertainment to tons of fisherman…Well then…what about that POOR LOBSTER? Honestly…I could become a vegan without much effort. XXXXOOOO

    • Sarah Sullivan Says:

      MaryEllen, I wouldn’t even let myself think about what the fish were being raised for… And let’s not talk about the lobster :)


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