The New Aquarium in Draper Utah is up and running, here’s a review and some tips on how to make your visit better.
“Fishy, Fishy!” He exclaimed over and over as he attempted to scale the rock wall, trying to reach that small window of aquatic life. Almost creating his own punk ballet with the motion of his body. Bobbing from side to side-tippy toe to tippy toe and straining his biceps for all he was worth, so close and yet so far. Sir bounce-a-lots excitement bubbled over and attracted the attention of every adult around.
This, after a full on wrestling match with the little man, including several Nazgul screams and many, many, kamikaze escape attempts. We’d finally made it inside the aquarium. His body calmed, his eyes grew big-only to be eclipsed by an uncontrollable excitement. He had to get down and explore. ‘Fishy, fishy!’ That was my favorite moment of the day, the moment he realized why we were here.
The aquarium has been closed for months as they were changing locations to a brand new building, and boy what a building. The hubster took spring break off, and had the genius idea to take us all to the aquarium–instead of going on our monthly date night out. I’m really glad we did.
Not only did we have a great time but through the end of April you get bounce back tickets. Basically you get to keep your April tickets which are good to get you inside a second time before the end of August, free! Score! Two trips for the price of one.
Update: This deal is no longer available.
While we did have a great time I do have some suggestions if you plan to go as well.
Skip the stroller
Don’t bother bringing a stroller-most exhibits are too high for kids to see from a sitting position. The aquarium does have a stroller area under the stairs-so if you’re the trusting type you can park one there. We opted to take ours back to the car-one less thing to worry about.
How long does it take?
We spent 2 hours at the aquarium, including lunch. It felt like the perfect length to me. A fabulous morning and home in time for naps. There were several school groups there and it didn’t feel too crowded either.
My guess is that it would take 2 ½ hours during the busy summer hours to see everything. Although it might be longer as by summer all the exhibits should be up, right now several exhibits aren’t ready-no octopus, snakes, or alligators to name a few. I think that’s why they have the bounce back tickets. It’s still worth it in my opinion.
We didn’t see any signs but according to the website no outside food or drink is allowed in the aquarium. The seating inside is for café patrons only; truth be told there isn’t much seating in the cafe area any way. If you go outside realize you have to exit through the gift shop. Lame and really annoying, having to keep little hands out of things. Plus the possibility of ending your lovely trip on a fit. That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Any way if you go outside to eat there’s plenty of room and a low wall to sit on. Around the side of the building is grass in the shade as well. To save on cost we packed a small cooler/lunch bag. With it being only a few hours that worked great for us. We packed chicken salad sandwiches, apple slices, cheese, almonds and water bottles. It was more than enough, and oh so delicious.
Where to start and end
Start in South America-it’s hot! Uncomfortably so. If you go in there to begin with, you’ll have time to cool down the rest of the visit. Plus they have an awesome rope walk which can get long lines. We got lucky with a 5 minute wait. When we went back around the line was 10 times longer.
So hit that early to avoid the line-it’s pretty cool. Sir bounce-a-lot needed help, but man oh man did he love it. Everything else, see in whatever order you want, except the sharks. The shark tank is by far the best exhibit and hard to top, I’m not posting pics of it because I want you to be surprised by the awesomeness. Trust me on this, see the sharks last.
Wear shoes that will be good for climbing and be on the lookout for ways to touch and play. I saw one little boy in flip flops and he was so frustrated that his shoes were getting in the way. Help your little ones by putting them in good tennis shoes. We found little dens to observe otters and starfish; Sunny loved being enclosed in these new worlds. There’s the rope walk in South America and a fabulous shark mouth to pose in.
Both of our kids loved the petting pools, sure the manta rays didn’t come near their splashing (which I’m secretly happy about) but they loved the water and feeling like they might touch them. There was also the chance to touch starfish but the height of that touch pool made it very difficult for our kids to do so. Keep your eyes peeled and let us know what you find.
Overall the aquarium was fabulous to see. They’ve added much larger tanks for the creatures, and with that more creatures. The otters are far more playful in their new home, and the penguins were really fun. You can see them either up top or watch them dive down and swim. There’s plenty to see with activities smartly placed in between to break it up. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium gets a thumbs up from our family. Hope your trip to the Aquarium is fabulous!
Have you been to the aquarium? What was your favorite exhibit?
I was not compensated for writing this review. Going was all our own idea and the opinions expressed are my own.