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Ten Year Old Manages Belize’s Only Aquarium Attraction

– by Dorian Nuñez – I visited St. Georges Caye about five years ago when I was invited to write a review of the St. George’s Caye Resort. It’s a wonderful island, secluded from the busy life of the city and much more laid bad than even Caye Caulker. There is only one resort on the island and most homes are for city folk who escape to the island on weekends or holidays.

If I had not gone exploring the island on foot, I would not have came upon a wonderful discovery that pretty much made my stay on the island even more pleasant. I stumbled upon what probably is Belize’s only aquarium.

And this week I bumped onto an article about the St. George’s Caye Aquarium written by Diana Lambdin Meyer, a special contributor to the Dallas Morning News. I was happy to see that the aquarium is still up and running and, as Diana pointed out in her article, a young boy by the name of Karly Bischof is running things there.

“As it turns out, Karly was not only our tour guide, but he also is the owner and founder of the aquarium that fills the boathouse on his parents’ property on the southeast end of St. George’s Caye,” stated Diane in her article for the Dallas Morning News. “He wants to be a marine biologist when he grows up, and if his impressive little aquarium and his knowledge of the 100-plus fish inside is any indication, he’s going to be a good one.” (Read her entire article HERE)

Below is a reprise of my experience at the St. George’s Caye Aquarium where a much younger Karly impressed me with his knowledge of the sea creatures and marine life in Belize.

Karly’s Aquarium Wonderland

St. Georges Caye Aquarium
“Mr! Three US dollars to view the aquarium, do you want to see?” said young Karly who we bumped into while explored the island. I had seen the sign up front but the place looked abandoned. Much to my surprise, when I went in, the place was full of life. The St. George’s Caye Aquarium has rows of glass aquariums filled with a variety of marine life found in our tropical waters.

There were fluorescent yellow seahorses, anemones, puffer fish, moray eels, scorpion fish, large snappers, lobsters, tube worms, the now-rare sea urchins, shrimp, a baby turtle, starfish, and many other colorful tropical fish.

My favorite was the six year old jewfish that had grown to about three feet long. He was the master of his own seven foot long, three foot wide aquarium and cradled itself at the corners. The few fish has become quite accustomed to its onlookers as it stared straight into my eyes when I got close to the glass – amazing!

Owner of the aquarium is Karl Bischof who has made St. George’s Caye his home for 25 years now. He is originally from Austria and has lived in Belize for over 27 years now. His love for marine life drove him into creating such a wonderful place where he builds his own aquariums and nurtures sea creatures before setting them off into the wild. At the moment he is taking care of a baby sea turtle that some friends found injured near the island.

Karl’s son, Karly is quite knowledgeable of all the creatures and gives a perfect tour of the entire place; he was quite verse in his explanations. Karl explained that they give tours to tourist who visit the island and often receive clients from TMM Catamaran Charter. He has even supplied San Pedro residents with tropical fish and aquariums.

So when you find yourself in St. George’s Caye remember that the St. George’s Caye Aquarium is a great place to visit. Tell Karl and his son Karly and Ambergris Today sent you.

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*I am happy to see that young Karly has taken up interest in running the aquarium and planning on becoming a marine biologist. I also have learned that as part of the Independence Day celebration, and to support the educational goals of Karly, the owners of St. George’s Resort will pay the admission for their guests to Karly’s aquarium for the remainder of the year. How cool is that!?

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