Living in Philadelphia makes us very close to the Camden Waterfront where Adventure Aquarium is located. My family has been visiting for years and there’s always something new to learn and discover on each visit. Adventure Aquarium has a total of two million gallons of water that features over 8,500 aquatic species in their unique exhibits. It has the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only great hammerhead shark. It’s the only aquarium in the world to have hippos exhibited and one of six facilities in the United States to have Little Blue penguins as permanent residents. Another unique exhibit is the Shark Bridge – it is the longest bridge of its kind in the world! When we visit the aquarium, it’s usually for a few hours. We’re not able to explore the entire aquarium in one visit because there’s so much to see and do. Here’s a sample of some of the exhibits we enjoyed during our visits. We look forward to going back to experience more of what the Aquarium offers!
In this exhibit, visitors come nose-to-nose with stingrays, various sharks, blue runners, sea turtles and other ocean species roaming in 760,000 gallons of seawater. While looking at the ocean animals through wall-size windows, I highly suggest taking the time to read the information about the various species living in the water. One of the activities I enjoy doing with my kids is looking at the pictures of the animals and identifying them in the tank.
Stingray Beach Club
As you step into the Stingray Beach Club, you are transported to a tropical island where it is always warm and sunny. The beach club is an open space with palm trees, a sand castle, and thatched roof structures to give you that feel of a beach. It’s as if you are on an excursion with your family as you wave your hands in the water waiting for a stingray to come your way so you can touch it. Not only can you touch the stingrays, but you can hand-feed them too! For the younger guests who are not ready to touch stingrays, there is Sand Castle Island. This is an interactive play area that features a moat, drawbridge, water wheel, and, of course, a sand castle! It also features a small touch pool for the little ones to get their hands wet.
Hippos, such enormous creatures and interesting to watch! When visiting the Hippo Haven, you will be presented with a bright and colorful landscape and a lively theatrical environment that makes you feel like you are on an African river. As you walk along, you will able to view the 3,000+ lb hippos above and below the water. When you view the hippos from below, you are right in the face of two hippos. It’s amazing to watch them underwater as they bob and bounce, entertaining the onlookers. While watching the hippos, you are educated on the Nile hippos and their relationship with their environment and some of the other animals that live along the river.
This exhibit has always been one of my favorites at the Adventure Aquarium. It’s so cool to walk through a 40-foot shark tunnel made of glass holding 555,000 gallons of water and be surrounded by more than 20 sharks and 200 ocean creatures. It’s quite the adventure because it feels like the sharks are watching your every move. I like to take my time walking through and be amazed by the beauty and magnificence of the animals. And don’t worry, the glass tunnel is made well — it won’t break! Enter if you dare!
The Shark Bridge boasts being the longest of its kind in the world, and it is one of the best experiences one can have. The coolest way to experience sharks at the aquarium is going over a V-shaped rope suspension bridge with about 30 beautiful nurse, sandbar, and sand tiger sharks along with other animals swimming below you! Dare to cross? As you walk through the net, you will be just inches above the 21-foot deep Shark Realm exhibit. Walking over this bridge gives you a different perspective of the 550,000-gallon Shark Realm exhibit. In addition to enjoying the sharks below, you will be able to get a glance of the biologists working behind the scenes of Adventure Aquarium.
This is a special area geared towards children under age seven. The KidZone provides them with many multi-sensory opportunities to learn about aquatic creatures on a level that they will understand. Children will enjoy various interactive activities and exhibits that encourage them to get their hands wet while they touch vibrant ocean animals. They will get to see all kinds of animals at eye level while walking through this area. In between learning about the various species, kids will have the opportunity to utilize their gross motor skills because of the various climb, crawl, and play areas. If you’re visiting Adventure Aquarium with very young children, this is a must-do exhibit. Even the older kids will enjoy some of the experiences that KidZone offers, and if they have a younger sibling, as my kids do, this will provide them with some time to play together, which is always a plus for my family.
Along with the experiences mentioned, there are other exhibits, attractions, and animals to enjoy at the aquarium. They also host special events throughout the year that you can enjoy. The last time I went to Adventure Aquarium was with Ayden for a class trip back in early November 2017, and their special event was “Mermaids.” It was exciting to see mermaids swimming in the water and interacting with the visitors. Ayden also had a chance to take pictures with the beautiful mermaids and get an autograph from one of them on a postcard that displayed a mermaid group photo. He was in awe! There are also opportunities to get up close with animals, talk with shark experts, meet divers, and participate in animal feedings and interactive shows. Families can also upgrade their visit and plan for a behind-the-scenes encounter where they will go beyond the glass and receive hands-on learning and interaction with the animals! How cool is that?
If your family has visited Adventure Aquarium before, can you share with us an exhibit or event you enjoyed? We would love to learn about it!