All along the highway there are Ripley’s Aquarium signs showcasing the different types of activities at the aquarium. By the time we got to the building, we were excited!!
Basic Information for Ripley’s Aquarium:
Online price: 1 adult aquarium ticket + one other attraction = $30.00
1 child aquarium ticket + one other attraction = $19.00
The are group rates and annual passes.
Hours of Operation:
- Monday; Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday: 9am-10pm
- Tuesday and Friday 9am-11pm
- Sunday: 9am-9pm
- Open 365 Days a year!
When checking in, guests are given a flier that has the times and locations of all the live shows.
What We Did at Ripley’s Aquarium:
When we arrived at the aquarium, we were greeted by lovely waterfalls outside the building. These were nice spots to take family pictures.
Once inside, we received the map and live show schedule. We were greeted by a huge fish aquarium at the entrance. The children enjoyed watching the fish. There was a photographer that would take family pictures in front of a Ripley’s backdrop. Families could pay for the pictures later during their visit.
The aquarium consists of one large room with 4-5 halls leading away from the main area. We started in The Swarm area. My son loved putting his hand into one of the tanks to have the fish come over and investigate his hand. The kids giggled as the fish tickled their skin! This room included groups of crabs, eels, and jellyfish. It also included other types of animals. There was much to read, and having 3 little kids who don’t want to stay in one area long, it made it hard for me to read why certain exhibits were in the room. And honestly, I wasn’t quite sure why it was named “The Swarm.”
From there we traveled into the Rainbow Rock area. It was a large aquarium. Large enough for divers to get in. We would come back to this location for a live show of feeding the fish.
The 340-foot long glidepath was in the Dangerous Reef. THIS was my favorite part of the entire Aquarium experience!! We stepped onto a glidepath and then we were surrounded by water and SHARKS!! It was too cool!!
The kids were then ready to explore the hands-on activities in the main area. There were horseshoe crabs to touch, fun things to climb on, a slide to play with, and other video exhibits to experience.
The feeding of the fish was next, so we headed back to that area. We got to sit right in the front as the diver came in and squirted food onto the coral for the fish. It was neat to watch the fish follow her around. Then the diver and the announcer did a show for us. It lasted roughly 15 minutes and we were able to interact with the diver some once the show was over.
We attempted to go to the live Mermaid Show, but it was PACKED, wall to wall people. So we went and stood at the top of that diving tank and we watched as the “mermaids” came up for air. I was slightly disappointed in this because I have seen other mermaid shows where the actors wore small oxygen tanks which allowed them to do the show entirely under the water. But the tank the girls were swimming in was amazing and filled with STING RAYS!! They swam around and around and some were quite unusual.
It took us about 2.5 hours to walk through, and experience, the entire aquarium. I wanted to travel the shark exhibit again, but the kids were getting hungry. It was also getting quite crowded. There is a Snack Bar at the aquarium. There are also extra features that families can choose to do for extra fees.
There was a HUGE souvenir shop and the Exit door was on the other side. That proved quite difficult to maneuver through with 3 children who enjoy toys.
Overall, we had a good time and saw some really cool sea life. The aquariums are well maintained. I have been to other aquariums and this one seems more commercialized than others. While it does offer some unusual opportunities, I have to say that it was not a good value for the price.
The different hands-on activities were well manned. The staff was very friendly. And it was a fun experience. But the aquarium did not match the hype of the billboards leading up to it.
Ripley’s Aquarium is receiving 3 Aliens out of 5 Aliens for Homeschool and Family Field Trip Friendliness!