I love to find new activities to do with my toddlers and the SEA LIFE Aquarium is a perfect place to bring toddlers. Especially now that the weather is starting to get cooler, and we spend less time playing in the backyard.
SEA LIFE Aquarium opened this past January, and although we have ventured out to Great Lakes Crossing a handful of times, we had never visited the Aquarium. I heard great things about it, so we were excited to check it out for ourselves.
Elijah was super excited when we told him what we were doing on Monday. He kept talking about hammerhead sharks (which he says he learned about in school, but he’s three, so you never know where he actually learned about them. My guess is from the Wild Kratts.)
It is such a great activity to do with toddlers, it wasn’t super busy so I could let Emaline walk around and not worry about her getting trampled by bigger kids or losing her in a crowd, since she tends to be a sneaky wanderer.
The interactive touchpool was a hit with Emaline. She was very brave and touched the chocolate starfish.
Elijah flat out refused to touch it, he must get that from his mama. The aquarium employees were so great with little ones, explaining the different creatures and asking questions.
Both of the tiny humans loved crawling into the viewing bubbles and watching the fish swim around them.
At admissions, they give you cardboard goggles the kids can wear when they go in the bubbles. My toddlers love pretend and dress up so that was so fun for them.
Elijah even pretended to actually be underwater and hold his breath.
It was so hard to get good pictures, because you can’t use flash around the sea creatures and the lights are pretty dim throughout the aquarium.
I really appreciated the side activities that they offer in addition to looking at the creatures. Each kid got a little Dive Log Book that they could stamp at stations throughout the aquarium.
Eli was really into finding the stations and Emaline liked to do the stamps on her own. At the end the kids each got a little medal for completing their log books. Emaline wore her medal until bedtime and Elijah wanted to wear it to preschool the next day.
Each dive station teaches kids different facts about the sea and creatures, but that part of it was a little too old for a three and a half year old and 19 month old, so we stuck to just stamping the books and then talking about the creature that we stamped onto it.
There were iPads at many of the tanks with more information about the creatures in each tank. Clearly, my kids are experts at the iPad, so they would touch the different creatures and I would read the names.
It was fun to look at the images on the iPad and then try to find the specific creature in the tank. Elijah was pretty bummed that we only saw one octopus, and he was hiding in his tank.
Elijah was his normal silly self and made fishy faces.
The variety of tanks was cool. It kept things interesting that some were in the wall and then some, like this one, were in the center at their level.
Eli and Emmy could walk around it and get different views, I feel like this area was designed for toddlers.
Some tanks were up higher, so toddlers have to stand on the boxes to view.
We spent a lot of time at the clown fish tank. Which, according to Eli, had “so many Nemos and so many Doris!”
I loved watching Elijah be the sweet big brother, making sure Emaline could see all of the things that he thought were cool.
Emaline was so serious, and interested in everything. I enjoyed watching her discover the different fish and how she was so inquisitive.
The jellyfish tank had buttons you could press to change the colors of the jellies. Eli, of course, would press them super fast so it was sort of a strobe light effect. The jellyfish were probably my favorite. They are so whimsical.
This tank was huge and circular around, so you could see how the fish swim together. Elijah sort of ran around chasing them, and Emaline had to follow him.
The shark tank was near the end, and what Elijah was most looking forward to.
The tunnel was the only time that the aquarium felt crowded. A school field trip was there ahead of us and some kids came back through, and it was tight with our stroller and two toddlers walking and a dozen older children running by. But then…
The hammerhead shark swam right over us. Elijah was so excited I thought he would explode. He talked about that hammerhead all afternoon.
That hammerhead was definitely the highlight of our adventure.
And of course, like any other attraction, the exit takes you right into a gift shop.
So, inevitably, there were some tears when we told him we weren’t buying any of the toys. But, that’s real life with toddlers.
The tickets are kind of pricey, but if you order them online before your visit you save a little. (and if you visit midweek, you save $5 through October 8.) Children under 3 are free.
We spent a little over an hour walking through the SEA LIFE Aquarium. We could have spent more time, but we let the tiny humans take the lead if they wanted to walk to another tank or skip past one. If we didn’t have to worry about Emaline needing a nap, we could have gone out and walked around the mall and grabbed some lunch and then went back in, since your admission includes reentry.
I could see us returning to SEA LIFE Aquarium on one of the many freezing Michigan winter days when the kids are completely stir crazy. It would be perfect for a wintertime playdate with friends.
We had such a fun Monday Adventure at the Aquarium.
We were given tickets to Sea Life Aquarium in exchange for a blog post feature about our adventure. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.