Painted turtles, goldfish and koi call the Des Moines Botanical Center’s two ponds home. It is difficult to get an exact count of each, but we guess there are approximately 10 painted turtles, nearly 40 koi of all sizes and colors, and a couple dozen goldfish of various sizes.
The fish have a pretty easy-going day. Every morning, they feast on the fallen leaves inside the Dome and investigate anything found in the ponds left by visitors, including shoes, sunglasses and beaded necklaces. They then devour a not-so-gourmet blend of protein, fat and fiber. Between the two ponds, you can tell who is on a diet or a picky eater. The fish in the lower pond take their time making their way towards the food, while the fish near the waterfall pond have collisions with each other trying to get first dibs! The rest of the day consists of swimming with friends as visitors rain shiny coins on them like they are royalty.
The turtles have a different agenda. In the mornings, you can find them floating in the water, minding their own business. Most of them don’t seem to mind fish feeding time. As the fish franticly swim towards food, the turtles often get bumped into, and not surprisingly, sometimes get pushed under water, as a fish swim over them. They just bob back up and grab any remaining food that comes their way. When high-noon comes, you’ll find them in groups on the ledge of the ponds sunbathing. They are still as can be with their necks stretched out, soaking in the rays…possibly the ladies of the group gossiping over the gentlemen floating by.
Everyday life as a Botanical Center fish or turtle is what some of us might call a much needed vacation in the tropics!
Visit the Des Moines Botanical Center today to see the fish and turtles. The Botanical Center is open daily 9:00 am-5:00 pm.