There's something about aquariums that intrigues little kids, and I have my own infatuation with salt tanks as a previous enthusiast (before kids!). While recently visiting Ben's family in Cheyenne, WY, we decided to take a day trip into Denver to visit their aquarium and give the kids something different to do.
Now, the Denver aquarium is tiny compared to our humongous Atlanta aquarium, but I really enjoyed this visit because it was more intimate and definitely not as crowded. The tickets weren't nearly as expensive (under $20 each per adult, kids under 2 free) and they had a couple add-on activities, like the outdoor carousel and short 3D movie, that seemed fairly priced if the aquarium didn't satisfy your desire for adventure.
When we first entered after ticket purchase, we were greeted by a line. Turns out it was the "check wristband and wait for a forced picture" line but we opted out on the picture since both Ava and her cousin Emma were all comfy in their strollers. We visited the restaurant first for lunch before going into the aquarium. The restaurant got mixed reviews on food from our table; Grandpa's was delicious, mine was not impressive at all, and Nana's contained an ingredient she asked to be on the side. Either way, the food was greatly overpriced and I would suggest eating before so you can save a bunch a money.
The restaurant did have a huge fish tank in it where you could purchase tickets to scuba dive in, but I thought it was distracting watching people in skin tight gear flounder about while we were eating, not to mention the family members swarming around to snap pictures and interrupting the meals of those sitting tank side. So, like I said, eat before you come!
We left the restaurant and headed towards the exhibits. I liked the way they set up their exhibits here, a mixture of dark, tank focused displays and then natural daylight displays mixed throughout. It was a photographers dream as you had the challenge of taking photos in dark areas with the relief of taking easier photos in the natural light areas. Each exhibit was themed and some contained other animals like birds or a tiger... yes, a tiger at an aquarium!
One exhibit that was very different was the Flash Flood zone. It had timed "storms" that would come through a desert environment, and then water would rage and show you what a flash flood experience would be like. You have the possibility of getting splashed a little and the floor is wet, so use caution. They also had a "pan for gold" exhibit but unfortunately they weren't doing any panning when we went through. The large shark tank was also neat with its floor glass displays you could observe through, it was a big hit with all ages. And the mermaids, can't forget about the mermaids! They had mermaids swimming around in the walk though tunnel exhibit, doing underwater flips and waving to all of the kids staring in awe. Very neat and also, very different and unique!
Once you finish walking through the exhibit, you open up to a large area that has little carnival style games, purchase tickets to scuba in one of the tanks, and do your "two-finger" petting of the rays in the large tank. The tank had a very large access wall so we waited only a few short minutes and we easily all fit in to look and try to touch the rays.
This aquarium had a very relaxed vibe to it, and the walking pace was casual so we had plenty of time to enjoy each tank or exhibit. Many exhibits had steps or landings in front of the tanks so the smaller kids could climb up and see. This aquarium was very family friendly and all of the fish and animals seemed healthy and well cared for. If you are in Denver with a few hours to burn, I would recommend checking out the Denver Aquarium!
Do you have any experiences to share about the Denver Aquarium or your favorite aquarium? Please comment below!
Happy Road Tripping!