Adventure Awaits at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey
All aquariums have tropical fish, penguins and some sort of seal or sea lion, but what they don’t have are the amazing touch tanks offered at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey. Nearly every exhibit has a touchable component (think sharks and jellyfish) plus they have two hippos on exhibit!
Hopefully you read our post Six Thrill-Seeking Adventures for Kids in New Jersey, especially the part about swimming with the sharks at this very aquarium. We checked out the whole aquarium (well, not the swimming with sharks bit) last month and are certainly glad we did – it is totally worth the trip. You can trust me I have been to every aquarium in the northeast with my 5 year old sea creature–obsessed son!
The Adventure Aquarium is a great day or weekend trip for us aquarium-challenged NYers and what is more – you can get there without a car.
Looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend? Read on for more on this great destination, what else you can do nearby and how to get there.
Adventure Aquarium Touch Tanks:
The Sting Ray Beach Club is a brand new attraction that opened this summer. Offering an up close and personal encounter with large stingray species, kids (and toddlers in their own special area) have the chance to dip their hands into the water to try and touch or feed (at predetermined feeding times) Southern, Cownose and Yellow Stingrays flapping along side the Leopard Whiprays. As if that wasn't enough the staff at the exhibit randomly chooses visitors to wade through the exhibit with the aquariums biologist at various times during the day.
The Touch a Shark exhibit lets daring kids stick two fingers into the water and touch a real live shark. Obviously, no Great Whites here but Pacific Brown-banded, White-Spotted Bamboo Sharks and Smooth Dogfish Shark instead.
The Creature Feature area lets kids feel sea stars, anemones, crabs, snails and other invertebrates.
The Interactive Inlet allows kids to reach into a bunch of waist high tanks to touch lobsters, shrimp and other sea life - the highlight here is touching the luminous Moon Jelly Fish.
Other Awesome Exhibits:
The Shark Realm exhibit is simply amazing. You literally walk through a 40 foot, underwater, see through tunnel in the shark tank. While twenty different sharks and other sea life swim all around you.
The West African River Experience features two enormous hippos in their natural habitat. Watch them as they hang out on land or gracefully swim through the water. The back part of the exhibit shows them in their underwater dance.
Tips to Make the Most of your Trip:
-No sunscreen needed! 99% of the aquarium is indoors – pretty handy for the weather we have been having lately.
-The aquarium has a café on the premises with indoor and outdoor seating. Opt to eat here or bring your own. There is nowhere else to grab a bite beyond the hot dog cart on the street. There are lockers for stashing your lunch and the views of Philadelphia from the outdoor seating area are great.
Perfect day trip – we spent about 5 hours here which was more than enough time to see everything once and some exhibits twice.
Make a day or weekend out of it:
Other family friendly attractions in Camden, NJ:
Right next door is the beautiful Camden Children’s Garden with discounted admission if you enter from the aquarium.
Sahara Sam’s is a short 30 minute drive from the aquarium in West Berlin.
A short walk on the waterfront is the Battleship NJ Museum and Memorial. You can buy a package deal with discounted admission to the battleship and aquarium, too.
There is a ton to do, see and eat in the City of Brotherly Love. Some of our favorite must sees for families are:
The Philadelphia Zoo – the first zoo in the United States is currently running a fun interactive lego exhibit in addition to the animals.
The Franklin Institute – a fun interactive science museum where you can walk through an enormous heart. Plan to spend the entire day here.
The Please Touch Museum – Considered one of the best children’s museums in the country.
Reading Terminal Market – One of the best food halls around housed in an old train station. Try to visit when the Pennsylvania Dutch stalls are open for homey, simple fare.
How to Get There:
The Adventure Aquarium is located in the heart of the Camden Water Front District on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River - literally a stones throw from Philadelphia - less than a two hour drive from midtown Manhattan (without traffic.)
But, if you don’t have wheels there are many mass transit options available to get to this aquarium:
Take a NJ Transit train to Trenton and transfer to the River Line, a light rail that travels between Trenton and Camden, and get off at the aquarium. Get your ticket validated for $2 off on your aquarium admission.
Another way to go is to travel straight into Philadelphia (easy via Amtrak, Bolt Bus or Mega Bus) and catch the ferry across the river that drops you right behind the aquarium or a PATCO train from downtown Philadelphia to Camden then a short walk to attractions or a shuttle bus from The Independence Visitors Center straight to the Camden Waterfront.