Laugh me to scorn as I admit that the last time we were here, we bought Nat’l Aquarium membership packages because it was too hot outside to wait in the inhumanely long line for the day passes. We justified it because if you go just two times in a year you’ve made up the ticket prices, but really, really…it was the heat and the line. I’m pretty sure they’ve engineered that line to get you to buy the memberships. Brilliant.
So we headed up there yesterday for our break-even visit. The boys were ecstatic. Peppers wanted to run and run indefinitely; Salty wanted to stop, look, and point at every fish in the whole place; and Fluffy wanted to see the mermaids. So basically, nobody got what they wanted. And that is the essence of compromise.
This time we were determined to a) see the dolphin training, b) save enough energy to try out the paddle boats in the harbor afterward. We headed straight to the dolphins and just made it! Major success! The dophins clapped; Salty clapped.
This time we went straight to the elevator up to the shark ramp instead of winding through all the escalators and exhibits to the top. Saved 40 minutes that way and had time to see the jellies as well!
The kids were all over the jelly fish, squealing, “Bubbles! Bubbles!”
I practiced my artsy shots with my lens that performs well in very, very, very low light.
Fluffy was so looking forward to the dragon boats. You know you’ve got the wrong size family when you can’t all fit in a single dragon boat, but you can’t really justify taking two. As Kent pushed off and I turned to walk away, Peppers who was then strapped to my chest realized that everyone was going boating but him, and he. was. livid. He wailed and raged, and then slumped over and fell asleep. Little guy had done a lot of running in that museum.
Fluffy wasn’t impressed with the actual paddle boat experience. It wasn’t like Pirates of the Carribean or It’s a Small World, and there were no mermaid sitings, so really, what was in it for her?
Try this outing:
Difficulty Level: Very Difficult. The museum has a strict no stroller policy; a tricky multi-building floorplan, and a lot of very dark exhibits for kids to run away and get lost in. Do not try this museum three-on-one until the kids are old enough to walk the whole time and really stay with you.
- No strollers means bring a baby carrier or two, and at least a backpack. There is a stroller check and locker rental, so more money for them.
- The dolphin show (now called “training”) is no longer at specific times. I tried calling and looking online, but they all insist you must now go straight to the dolphin exhibit when you get there and ask them when the training will be on that particular day. Good news is, the show is now included with admission.
- You can scuba dive in the ray tank and Atlantic reef tank! Kent bought me this adventure for my birthday a 3 years ago. It was great!
- The frogs are so fabulous if your kids have the patience and vision to search for them. This book is a great preparation: Frogs.
- If you take the paddle boats in the harbor next door and it’s just you paddling several kids around, stay local. It’s a real work out.
Fluffy Fun Factor (Preschooler rating): Super Fun! “I loved every, every part of it!” About the dragon paddle boats next door, “I thought there would be more fun things and games for us to play, so I didn’t really have that much fun.”