New York Aquarium: Plan a Fun-Filled Visit & Celebrate World Oceans Day
My two boys absolutely love going to an aquarium (they’ve been obsessed with fish since watching Finding Nemo), so we were super excited to pay our first visit to the New York Aquarium last month. While the Aquarium is still rebuilding after damage from Superstorm Sandy, there is still plenty to see and do for a day of family fun right off the Coney Island boardwalk.
First up when you enter the NY Aquarium is Conservation Hall, where my kids were in absolute awe at the array of tropical fish to see (they also loved watching two staff members in scuba gear cleaning out one of the massive tanks!). Aside from the fish (we even saw a little orange and white guy that looked a lot like Nemo), we learned about different types of coral and what the Aquarium is doing to preserve marine life. At the hall's end, there’s also info about maintaining a tank at home and taking care of pet fish—interesting for us since the boys have been asking for this all year.
We then moved outside to the Sea Cliffs, where penguins, harbor seals, California sea lions, sea otters, and walruses swim and rest along a 300-foot-long swath of land that resembles the North Pacific’s rocky coastline. One of the highlights of the day was definitely getting to see one of the walruses being fed. A staff member handed fish to the mammal—who sucked down every one and waved to “say” hello to the crowd.
After a quick snack, it was on to the Sea Lion Show at the Aquatheater (showtimes are at 11am, 1 and 3:30pm). Be sure to line up early because the seats really fill up fast. Luckily, the outdoor theater has been completely renovated with stadium seating, so even the littlest guests get a bird’s-eye view of the show, in which the sea lions dive and dance with their trainers.
Before leaving, we were sure to check out the SpongeBob SquarePants 4D film, The Great Jelly Rescue. It’s a 10-minute movie that has SpongeBob and friends on an adventure chasing down some rogue jellyfish. The kids loved wearing the 3D glasses, as well as being splashed by the ocean waves, getting sprayed with “perfume” and popping lots of bubbles throughout the show.
For those planning to visit soon, be sure to check out the Aquarium’s World Oceans Day event, which takes place on Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. This is an international event in which participants celebrate the beauty and importance of the ocean, as well as what we can do to protect it. Some of the Aquarium’s programs for that weekend include recyclable crafts, a demonstration by the Aquarium’s volunteer divers, interactive displays about marine life, and a special appearance by Molly and Gil of Nickelodeon’s Bubble Guppies.
The Aquarium continues to rebuild and expand. By 2016, two major exhibition halls—Explore the Shore and Alien Stingers—will reopen, and a new one, Ocean Wonders: Sharks! will be unveiled. In the meantime, there is a reduced admission price of $11.95 for ages 3 and up; parking is $13. We recommend the convenience of buying tickets in advance online. And before you set out, check out complete directions and public transport info.
My kids are already talking about our next visit to the New York Aquarium.
This post is sponsored by the NY Aquarium.