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Trip Aquariums Aquariums   All the reviews and photos of the aquariums that I have visited since 2015. Walter C (US)
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Aquariums

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All the reviews and photos of the aquariums that I have visited since 2015.

  • 10Aug 2015

    1 Adventure Aquarium 08/10/2015 USA —

    Camden, USA

    Description

    Located across the Delaware River from Philly, in the town of Camden, Adventure Aquarium is a nice aquarium to visit. But is it good enough to make it worth making a detour to Camden?

    This aquarium is divided by 4 zones, which are…

    Zone A – collection of wildlife by rivers, with the highlight being Ocean Realm Theater. This is where you can sit down and view sharks, hammerheads, and turtles swimming by, with some nice music playing in the background.

    Zone B – the only outdoor part, with African penguins and stingrays. There is a playground as well, but only appealing if you have kids. The enclosure for the penguins is small, but check it out when it is feeding time.

    Zone C – on Level 2, basically about frogs, where there are different types of frogs. Plus an interactive exhibit, but again, mainly for the kids. Nothing really special about it for me.

    Zone D – the best part of the aquarium, where they have a couple of female hippos on display. And you can view them underwater. Also there is a shark tunnel, where you can view sharks swimming over you. Plus an exhibition on prehistoric marine creatures, with statues of them and descriptions of them. A nice little exhibit.

    Not a big place, you can see it all in a few hours. My recommendation, is to come either really early, or sometime after 2pm, to avoid the crowds of school groups. And safe to say, avoid the weekends as well.

    Just outside of it, you get nice views of Philly from across the river, and the Ben Franklin Bridge, that connects Philly to New Jersey.

    While it is a nice aquarium to visit, I don’t think it is a must-see, being that it is out of the way from everything else in Philly. And while it can be a good option for a rainy or hot day, I can think of a few other places that would be better, and more closer to the touristy areas.

    I give this place 3 1/2 stars.

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  • 25Sep 2015

    2 SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium 09/25/2015 USA —

    Bloomington, USA

    Description

    Located in the Mall of America, I visited an aquarium back in 2008, when it was called Underwater Adventures. I was very disappointed by it. Since then, this aquarium has gone through renovations and has been renamed SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.

    Going down some escalators, it starts out with a pool of stingrays, where one can touch them. Then it gets into separate parts, with different types of marine life. Starting with one of the highlights of this place, the room with cylinder tanks of different types and colors of jellyfish in a dark room. Looked more like some kind of nightclub room.

    After that, there also a variety of crabs, seahorses, and other types of fishes on display as well. They are nice to look at, as they have been added during the renovations. Some of the descriptions are on a computer pad, which you have to scroll to get to read all of the description. The problem is sometimes they can freeze.

    The other big highlight, the Tunnel, which is an underwater shark tunnel. Divided into 4 separate parts, representing the different parts of the world, which include Amazon, Rainbow Reef, Atlantis, and Sturgeon Lake. The 4th one is more of a local focus in Minnesota. Easily, the Tunnel was the best part, and nice to walk through, as you will see different types of sharks and sawfish and others.

    Last part is the Mysteries of the Rainforest. A small replica of the rainforest, with some reptiles, amphibians, and something called an Oscar. And exiting that part, comes to the end, where you may also see a vet room.

    So how does this version of the aquarium compare to its older version? I would say, it was a huge improvement, as they seem to have added more to this place. A lot more, and I feel like, getting much more of my money’s worth!

    Speaking of money, definitely buy online, as it is cheaper that way than buying at the ticket desk. That will save a few dollars. But that could only be done at least 1 day ahead of time, and NOT on the same day. Something to remember.

    If you are already planning to visit the Mall of America (and I think, you should), then SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium is definitely worth checking out, with an extensive collection of marine life. I give this aquarium, 4 ½ stars out of 5.

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  • 26Sep 2015

    3 Great Lakes Aquarium 09/26/2015 USA —

    Duluth, USA

    Description

    Located in the town of Duluth, the Great Lakes Aquarium is along the waterfront, not too far from the Lake Superior Zoo and the canal itself.

    Not sure how to get there by public transportation, but they do have their own parking lot. It costs $5, and you do have the option to pay inside along with admission inside the aquarium.

    Entering the place, the exhibition starts on the 2nd floor. It starts with the evolution of life, from water to land, along with the beginning of planet Earth. There were a few fish tanks, but quite a few descriptions to read there. That makes this place just as much of a science museum as an aquarium, if not more.

    Some highlights do include seeing a tall, cylinder fish tank, and seeing some rare ones like an electric eel. Plus there is a section that focuses on the local environment in Minnesota, and the steps needed to keep the waters clean. And some interactive exhibits to play around with, which may be worth it if having kids.

    There are living marine life in the place, not really organized by region or species. There are some tanks on the 2nd floor, as well as more on the 1st floor. Nothing that really stands out, as it has a relatively small collection.

    Worth checking out as a bad weather option, as I find this place to be okay. As an aquarium, I find the collection to be lacking. The museum parts does make it up for somewhat, but not enough for me to really recommend this place if the main reason is to see marine life. As a science museum, it is definitely worth a look, with one part that has a more localized focus.

    As an aquarium, I give this place 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

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  • 04May 2017

    4 Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino 05/04/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    Located in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a public aquarium inside the casino itself. It is quite a walk to get to it, if coming from the tram, as you have to walk through the casino floor, basically going from one end to another.

    There are 2 different parts to this place, with the first one being the aquarium itself. This is the self-guided walkthrough, first taking you through the ruins of a temple, where you see the golden crocodile and piranhas. Then going “inside” the temple itself, with the stingray pool, where you can touch them. Plus jellyfish and a few other marine life. And finally, inside a shipwreck, where you can see a variety of sharks. And you do go through a couple underwater tunnels, which are nice to do.

    The second part is Polar Journey, which is included in the admission. Located separately from the aquarium, this part is basically an interactive exhibition. Basically playing around with touch screens and even a simulation ride. While this may be fun for the kids, I honestly thought it was not worth my time. Very short, and it did not really appeal to me.

    The cost of admission is $25 (as of this review), and can see the price has increased pretty fast over the years. And it can be done in less than an hour. So I do think admission is overpriced. Otherwise, I do think it is a nice aquarium, with a good collection, with very good exhibits.

    If time permits, I definitely think this place is worth a look. I would give this place 4 stars out 5.

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  • 25Aug 2017

    5 National Aquarium 08/25/2017 USA —

    Baltimore, USA

    Description

    Located on the Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium is one of the most well-known attractions of Baltimore. Often, it is one of the recommended sights to see for any visitor to Baltimore. And considered one of the best aquariums in the country, if not the world. So does the aquarium live up to the hype?

    Well, as you enter into the aquarium, there is the Maryland Waterfall, which is nice to see. And it is only the beginning, as there are some really nice exhibits to see after that.

    Let start off with one of the well-known parts of the aquarium, which is Dolphin Discovery! This is where you can see bottlenose dolphins, inside a large pool at an amphitheater. There are talks throughout the day, where a keeper shows some of the things that a dolphin can do. This is okay, and worth a look, if you really like dolphins. And nearby is the underwater views of the dolphins, which is always a delight. I’d say, definitely make time to see this.

    Other notable parts include the 2 aviaries, along with animals from that part of the world. One is the Australia: Wild Extremes, and the other being Upland Tropical Rainforest. Both are really nice to walk through, and give a little feel of those part of the world. Plus Shark Alley, where it is a multi-level walking path, which allows you to see the different types of sharks. And the Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance, which has the different types of jellyfish.

    Of course, there is a lot more to see, and would be too numerous to list here. While I will agree that admission is very pricey at about $40, I do think that it is not a rip-off at all. And if you can, visit Friday after 5pm, and admission is half off. Also, Fridays is the only day of the week, when it is open late, until 9pm.

    If there are any setbacks or issues with this place, one would be the assigned entry times. As each half-hour has a limited amount of tickets, you could find yourself waiting a while if you go during the more busy times. Also, some parts of the aquarium close earlier than others. For example, I believe that Australia: Wild Extremes close one hour earlier than the stated closing time. So you may have to ask, and try to visit those parts first, if you arrive in the later in the day.

    With very impressive exhibits to see, the National Aquarium is a great place to visit, as I do think it is the top attraction in Baltimore. To answer my earlier question, I do think it does live up to the hype. So if you are already in Baltimore, definitely make time for this attraction.

    I give this 5 stars out of 5.

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  • 13Sep 2017

    6 New England Aquarium 09/13/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Located along the waterfront, the New England Aquarium is a few blocks off from the Freedom Trail. Being in such a good location, it is not hard to get to, from the Freedom Trail. From the Old State House, you can go straight to the waterfront, where you should find the place. And there is a subway stop named Aquarium that takes you near there.

    As you enter the place, there is one animal behind the admission area, which is the Atlantic harbor seals. Seems small and very foggy, making it hard to see (and photograph) as well. But that is only the beginning, and the only part you can see without paying admission.

    Once inside the building, there is enough things to keep you entertained for at least a couple hours. A variety of fish tanks, showcasing the different marine life from the different parts of the world. They are really nice to see.

    There are 2 notable highlights to this aquarium. One is seeing the different species of penguins in a pool, going around the place. They are divided into smaller sections, so they do not interact with each other. But it is very interesting to see the different types, in an indoor open area. The other being the Giant Ocean Tank, which is a huge cylinder tank that is 4 stories high. You can see it from multiple floors, and at the top of it, seeing the different animals in it.

    With nice exhibits in a nice location, and a nice collection, that is not out of the way from the historical sites, the New England is definitely worth a visit. Especially if traveling with families, and for anyone who wants to do something different in Boston, that does not relate to history.

    I would give this place 5 stars out of 5.

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  • 28Mar 2019

    7 SeaWorld Orlando 03/28/2019 USA —

    Orlando, USA

    Description

    SeaWorld Orlando is one of 3 parks of the same name in the US. Opened in 1973, it started out as a place to see marine life only. But as the need to compete with the other theme parks grew, rides were installed. Now a hybrid of both aquarium and amusement park, this review will only focus on the aquarium side. I won't get into the politics side of things here.

    There are different types of marine life, spread throughout the different parts of the park. And this alone, can take up all day, as it is not just seeing the display of animals, but also the animal shows as well.

    The collection of marine life is very nice, including some that cannot be seen anywhere else in the US. One of them definitely includes killer whales, or orcas. As SeaWorld will be phasing them out in the coming years, the opportunity to see them in person, are numbered. So definitely see them before they are gone from the parks forever.

    Another is the Antarctic penguins, in the attraction called "Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin", where you can see them inside an enclosure. But be warned, as this place is very cold! Still, very much worth visiting! There are different smaller aquariums, around the park to see. Like the Manta Aquarium, and Shark Encounter. A variety of things to see.

    As for the shows that cannot be missed, I would definitely recommend "Pets Ahoy!", "Dolphin Days" and "One Ocean". The dolphin show is one where trainers interact and do tricks with the dolphins, while One Ocean is the same type of show, with orcas. Pets Ahoy is probably the best one, as this is the only indoor show, with cats, dogs, birds and even pigs. There is also the Sea Lion High: The New Class, which is okay, but if time is limited, this is the most skippable one. Unless you have kids, who will definitely love it as much as the others.

    The food is really good, and I would recommend the All-Day Dining Plan. Best place to get a meal, is Voyager's Steakhouse. But it can get crowded really fast, especially around noon.

    As an aquarium, this place is definitely overpriced. But have to keep in mind, that this is a theme park more than just an aquarium. Still, if only seeing the marine life, I highly recommend this place, as a very nice alternative to Disney or Universal parks. And something completely different.

    With the admission, there is a combo ticket with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, that makes the price more manageable. I think you will definitely get your money's worth at this place.

    I would give this place, 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

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  • 27Sep 2019

    8 SeaWorld San Diego 09/27/2019 USA —

    San Diego, USA

    Description

    Located in the Mission Bay area, SeaWorld San Diego is the original park of the SeaWorld parks. It is reachable by bus, by taking one from the Old Town trolley stop. This review will be about the aquarium part of the park, and not the rides. Also, I will try not to compare to the Orlando park here, which I did in the blog.

    This park has a good collection of marine life, including some rare ones, like orcas and dolphins. And those animals can be seen in scheduled shows, which you will need to check beforehand. And there are underwater views of them as well, which are worth seeing. And if you can, check out Dolphin Interaction Check-In, to see if the trainers are feeding the dolphins, as well as seeing dolphins doing some tricks. Definitely worth it, especially with crowds being much smaller.

    Now, some issues that I have with this place, and that it seems like everything has to be out in the open air. Starting with the stadiums, where there are no covers to protect people from the sun or the elements. For someone who prefers the shade, this is a major problem for me. And on that note, there was only 1 eating place that is completely indoors. Others have outdoor seating with a roof, but not necessarily block out the sun (depending on the position).

    If the sun does not bother you at all, then seeing both the orca and dolphin shows are absolute musts to see. Be aware that the front few rows of seats can get wet. The pirate show with the sea lion is okay, but the kids may love it.

    Also, being very pricey, you may want to look for some discounts for tickets. I was able to get a weekday discount from Undercover Tourist, so you may want to check out it there.

    Still, even if being out of the way from the main attractions of the city, I'd say, it is worth visiting for those who want a different type of experience, with an aquarium and amusement park rolled into one. But I would place this a lower priority than Balboa Park or the zoo, for those who are in San Diego for a few days, and if their first time visiting. A nice place to visit, but not a must-see.

    I would give this place, 3 stars out of 5.

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