My fourth grader loves ocean life. Unfortunately, we don’t live anywhere near an ocean. So, this weekend we did the next best thing. We visited the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, in Salt Lake City, and spent a fantastical day exploring several different habitats.
We received admission to the aquarium and Tuki’s Island as compensation for this post, but all opinions are mine and the members of my family.
The Aquarium has four main exhibit halls featuring different parts of the world. Honestly, I could probably write a post about each of the exhibit halls. The habitats are well designed for both the animals living in them, and the people viewing the animals. I particularly enjoyed the “stroller” viewing areas. That’s just my name for them, but there are places along all the habitats where a window has been placed low to the ground so that small children and children in strollers can still see into the exhibits. Also, there was a good flow to the exhibits so that people weren’t bottle necked around specific exhibits.
I was also impressed by the knowledge staff members had of the animals they cared for. I spoke to one staff member, in the South American exhibit hall, who knew some cool facts about the large fish found in the Amazon. She shared some really amazing facts about the Arapaima fish and agreed to let me record her.
Also, the Aquarium is just really well thought out in its design from a family perspective. The men’s and women’s restrooms have diaper changing stations, and there are mother’s rooms throughout the facility. Also some nice touches are the great places to take pictures of kids. The areas are more interactive – with statues the kids can climb on or be in – which makes for better pictures. And, there is an indoor play area, Tuki’s Island (click here for a post only about that area), which is a fabulous place to let kids run off a little energy. Also, the Aquarium has a 4D movie theater, and the cost of admission includes attending the movies.
As I wrote earlier, I could write a separate post about each of the exhibit halls. They were all incredibly amazing. But, I’ll just hit the highlights in each hall.
The Antarctic Adventure Exhibit is set up to give visitors the feeling that they are in one of the scientific stations in Antarctica. The highlights of the exhibit have to be the penguins. These cute, odd little birds are fun to watch waddle, and swim around.
The Oceans Explorer Exhibit has a fantastic array of interactive displays. My children were able to touch living star fish, poke their heads into aquariums, feel shark teeth, and walk through a tunnel full of sharks. My favorite part was watching the sharks being fed. The Aquarium staff members put on a fabulous and interactive show prior to the shark feeding.
The Journey to South America Exhibit is designed to give visitors the feeling that they are in the rain forest. There are free flying birds, an awesome anaconda, surprisingly tiny poison dart frogs, and a fantastic rope bridge visitors can use.
The final hall is the Discover Utah Exhibit. The highlight of this exhibit, for me, was the river otter habitat. They were so playful and fun to watch run and swim around. I’m from the desert and have never seen an otter before, so seeing them was especially delightful.
It was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday and a great educational experience for my family. If you plan to go, take your walking shoes, your camera (not just the one on your phone), and a water bottle. The Aquarium does have a snack bar and a souvenir shop, too, so some extra cash is helpful. The tickets cost from $17.95 for adults to $12.95. Check out their website at www.thelivingplanet.com for more information.