I believe that I can confidently say that if there is an aquarium.
Or a safari.
Or a zoo.
Or a wildlife reserve.
Or anything, within a two hour or so driving distance from our home, that involves animals.
That we will be visiting it.
Although I’m not certain that a two hour driving distance is a limit.
Because my kids are crazy about animals.
And sea life? Crazier still.
Yes, Discovery channel’s Shark Week is recording.
And when Madeline, for two years in a row, tells me that she wants to take care of animals when she grows up?
I’d put money on it.
Although the specific direction of her future career vacillates between working at SeaWorld and being a vet.
So when a neighbor told me about an aquarium that was a little over an hour away from us? We were on it like white on rice.
We didn’t tell the kids where we were going.
And they didn’t guess until we were almost there.
Ah those devilish ways parents can torture our kids.
Aquariums tend to be crazybusy, so we timed our arrival to be as close to when the Maritime Aquarium opened as possible (10 am).
And that was perfect.
There is a super convenient parking garage right across the street for the bargain rate of $7. Take that, NYC.
(We bought our aquarium and IMAX tickets online the night before, to cut down on potential lines the day of)
Very well maintained.
Plenty to see. Read. Touch. Do.
And really, really well laid out. The way the exhibits are set up, you are kind of intuitively guided through everything – which means we didn’t get lost or need a map, but managed to see everything, which I happen to think is pretty perfect (even the very rare, white albino alligator that was outside). The folks at IKEA could take a lesson on facility lay-outs. Although I think *they* do it on purpose. Just sayin’.
We watched the sea lion show.
Petted the sting rays and sharks.
Nick received an iTouch as a gift recently, and has been an Instagramming fool like his Mom.
Watched the IMAX movie (To the Arctic).
The second floor, where this picture was taken, has a play place for the kids, a frog exhibit (you can see one of the more unusual poison dyeing frogs in this post here) and more.
Spent our $10-limit in the gift shop.
All told, we spent about four hours there, which was perfect. It didn’t drag, the kids weren’t bored, and there was enough to keep them busy and entertained the entire time. (And there was even a pressed penny machine, so we added another one to our collection!) And I love that the proceeds from this one go to benefit the aquarium and their research.
Although we had plans elsewhere for lunch (and that’s a separate post coming soon), there *is* a cafe on-site as well.
They have a wide selection of animals that you don’t see everywhere, including the rare white alligator, river otters, meerkats, and more. The touch tanks include sting rays, small sharks, regular crabs, hermit crabs, and starfish. Of course just as the staff member was telling us that you could touch the starfish anywhere except the little hole on the top, where do you think Madeline’s finger went for?
Yep, that all-important breathing hole.
Whether you’re looking for a rainy day excursion, to beat the humidity, or are as crazy about animals as the O’Malley’s are, do visit the Maritime Aquarium. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed one bit.
Tomorrow? A delicious recipe for pork shoulder and a cookbook giveaway!
Wednesday? Saying yes.
Thursday? A book review.
Friday? A recipe for an amazeballs ice cream cake.