DO Touch the Fish! — SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium

Thanks so much to SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium for a the family pass! I'm sharing this post in gratitude for the amazing experience.

I'm have a confession to make — I didn't see the ocean until I was 23. True story! I grew up in a land-locked state and we didn't travel unless it was to visit family, none of whom lived by an ocean. When my then-boyfriend (now-husband) took me to the beach, I was in awe of the tide pools. I'd never seen starfish and sea stars in person before, but I was still too big of a wimp to touch anything.

I still live in a land-locked state, but now I have much easier access to not just sea life, but creatures from all over the world. SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium is my family's new favorite destination to be indoors while still experiencing nature.
seaquest_sky_iguana.JPG

Believe it or not, SeaQuest is in a mall. Layton Hills Mall, to be exact. I thought it would be small, considering the location, but it's over 20,000 square feet. They even have a Fiiz at the front counter! The first room you enter introduces the atmosphere with a large canoe, perfect for photo ops.

seaquest_canoe.JPG

Each room highlights a different region with not just fish, but reptiles, birds, and other fauna native to that area. Some of them have separate rooms where you can interact with an individual species. The iguana room is dominated by a large, orange guy named Chester.

seaquest_iguana_chester.JPG

My favorite part of the aquarium is this rule: If you can reach it, you can touch it. Just use two fingers and be gentle. It kept my son busy the entire time, reaching in the water to pet everything from tortoises to trout.

seaquest_view.JPG

There are, of course, some things too dangerous or delicate to touch. Those are kept behind tall glass so there's no chance of them, or you, getting hurt. This lionfish is as beautiful as it is deadly!

seaquest_lionfish.JPG

I love that they tried to include animals that children would recognize from cartoons. My son loved to find Dory, Nemo, and Pascal.

seaquest_dory.JPG
seaquest_nemo.JPG
seaquest_chameleon_pascal.JPG
seaquest_aquarium.JPG

I never knew an octopus could be cute, but this baby one is adorable! We even got to see him eat shrimp for lunch.

seaquest_octopus.JPG

You can purchase food for a lot of the animals you can touch. I was super excited for this in the parakeet and lorikeet rooms. The parakeets are beyond friendly and will land all over you. They really enjoyed the fringe on my shoes!

seaquest_parakeets_leg.JPG
seaquest_parakeet_arm.JPG
seaquest_parakeets.JPG

Another fun element SeaQuest has included are mermaids! They're next to the stingray tank and are available for photo ops. They even give out colorful, glittered shells.

seaquest_mermaid.JPG

The stingray tank was a favorite of my son. They're so friendly and swim right up to the top, hoping for food. The tank is so large, you can schedule times to snorkel with them!

seaquest_stingray.JPG
seaquest_watch_stingrays.JPG

I love that the employees are so knowledgeable. You can find them walking around with individual animals that you can pet and sometimes hold! They'll answer any questions you have about them. Erin, the owner of SeaQuest, showed us just how friendly the animals were.

seaquest_erin.JPG

I got in on the interaction with this albino python!

seaquest_albino_python.JPG

My absolute FAVORITE interactive part of the aquarium is the Fish Spa. For an additional fee, these little toothless nibblers suck the dead skin right off your feet! I am insanely ticklish, so I was nervous about the experience, but it wasn't bad at all! The best description I can think of is it feels like Pop Rocks!

seaquest_fish_spa.jpg

Thanks to Erin and everyone at SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium for an amazing experience. We've already been back and will use our family pass well!

Women Need Women

I received products from Coca-Cola's 5by20 program; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I'm incredibly passionate about empowering women to accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Unfortunately, there are women throughout the world who, no matter how big their dreams, are limited by their circumstances. Whether they lack resources, skills, or opportunities, they are unable to provide for themselves or their families. This is where Coca-Cola's 5by20 initiative comes in.

Coca-Cola saw the need for female entrepreneurs in developing nations to receive the tools and training they need to lift themselves out of poverty. With the 5by20 initiative, women are turning Coca-Cola packaging into decor and accessories sold at the 5by20 shop.

The PCF Narrow Ring-Pull Bracelet was created in the Philippines from locally sourced recycled aluminum ring-pulls and elasticized thread. It hard of the metal coordinates well with the delicate of the Coletivo Piraquet Handbag. Created in Brazil, its inspired by the scales of the ancient Pirarucu fish found in the rivers and lakes of the Amazon. Recycled PET "scales" are hand-sewn onto mesh for this delicate purse.

This Classic Flower was made by an entrepreneurial woman in Mexico.

The cop(m)adam Bottle Cap Purse from Turkey makes a statement.

This may be my favorite item I received. It's an Acacia Creations Soda Can Giraffe from Kenya. It's made with recycled aluminum cans and bound with recycled telephone wire.

Giraffe.jpg

The materials used to make these items would typically be considered garbage. Thankfully, there are women in developing nations that are creative enough to see its potential. Just as they see more in the materials, Coca-Cola saw the potential in women throughout the world to grow their businesses, families, and communities. Watch the "Chain of Inspiration" here.

The program has the goal to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020. Thus, the 5by20 Initiative. Why women? Well, we're more likely to reinvest our income to our children and families through food, education and healthcare. When women rise, our communities rise.

So ladies, let's support each other, not just in business, but in day-to-day life. We'll reap the benefits and so will society.

Attitude of Gratitude — Free Print

On occasion I can be a bit of a Negative Nellie. When I let jealousy creep in, it's easy to forget just how blessed I really am. But once November rolls around, I'm surrounded by people counting their blessings. It motivates me to count my own. I decided to create a physical reminder for my home to have an "attitude of gratitude."

Here are the top 3 on my list of blessings…

  1. A Father in Heaven who knows and loves me. Who I can turn to whenever I need help.
  2. My supportive husband and children who may see me at my worst, but love me regardless.
  3. Friends that inspire and motivate me to be a better person.

If you'd like your own reminders of gratitude, I'm sharing these 8x10 prints with you. Just click on the image below for the link to your preferred color choice.