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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I love that they tried to include animals that children would recognize from cartoons. My son loved to find Dory, Nemo, and Pascal.
I never knew an octopus could be cute, but this baby one is adorable! We even got to see him eat shrimp for lunch.
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!
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.
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!
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.
I got in on the interaction with this albino python!
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!
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!