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Planning a trip to New Zealand? Looking for fun things to do with your kids while you are there? You have to add the Auckland Aquarium to your list of must-do activities. Your kids will love it. And they might even learn something while they are there! Here is why you need to visit the Auckland Aquarium and everything you need to know before you go.
Reasons to Visit Auckland Aquarium With Your Family
We are big fans of zoos and aquariums. We visit them every chance we get. When we traveled to New Zealand a few years ago, the Auckland Aquarium was one of the first things we added to our list of things to do. We loved it. It is definitely one of the best aquariums we have been to in the world.
Here are our best reasons why you should visit Auckland aquarium (whose official name is Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium) during your New Zealand vacation.
- It’s educational. During our visit, my son learned, among other things, that penguins can make over 100 different sounds.
- It’s entertaining. We had a blast watching the sharks and rays. My son also loved the turtle rescue station.
- Penguins-the Auckland aquarium has the world’s largest collection of Antarctica penguins. Their exhibit is designed so you can view them from three different sides.
- The play area-the aquarium has a play area designed for little kids. This is perfect when your little ones need to burn off some energy before continuing on with the animal viewing.
- It’s fun for the whole family. Sometimes it’s difficult to find things that adults enjoy as much as kids. But this aquarium is one of those things that everyone in the family will have fun with.
One of the first exhibits you will encounter when you enter the aquarium is the penguins. We felt it was one of the best exhibit in the aquarium.
Kelly Tarlton’s has the largest exhibition of Antarctica penguins in the world. The exhibit is quite large, giving you a chance to really observe them without feeling crowded by other guests. There are quite a few viewing windows, which allows you to see the penguins swimming and on land.
Kids will love how the penguins come over to the glass and look at you while you are watching them.
There is actually two parts to the sea turtles area of the aquarium: a tank with some fish and real sea turtles and the sea turtle rescue.
The tank is great for kids because the glass goes all the way to the floor, making it easy for the little ones to see the turtles. It is a pretty large tank, too, so there is plenty of space for everyone to see the turtles at the same time.
The sea turtle rescue is an interactive learning experience. It was a highlight for my son. It has 5-6 stations for kids to work their way through.
To start, a child chooses a card with a particular breed of turtle on it. The first station tells you what’s wrong with the turtle you chose. At each remaining station, your child nurses the turtle back to health step by step, by giving it medication, feeding it, and other things. At the final station, your child releases the turtle back into the wild.
The shark tank is cool no matter how old you are! It is a long oval with tunnels on the long sides and a conveyor belt. You stand on the conveyor belt and are slowly moved around the oval while lots of large sharks, fish, and giant manta rays swim all around you, including over your head. It gives you a unique view of these amazing creatures.
This exhibit is so amazing. I could stand there for hours watching the sharks and rays float through the water.
The Logistical Details
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is located at 23 Tamaki Drive in Auckland. It is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm everyday of the year.
Currently, they are limiting capacity due to the global COVID 19 pandemic. So, you will need to prebook your visit on their website before you go.
Admission is $39 (New Zealand dollars) per adult and $22 (NZD) per child.
Tips for Visiting Auckland Aquarium
- Devote a half day to visiting the aquarium in Auckland. This will allow you to take your time and experience everything it has to offer.
- Get there early. I recommend getting to the aquarium early in the day so you can enjoy all the exhibits without all the crowds.
- If you or your kids need to take a break, head to the play area or snack bar. This will give you a chance to fill up little bellies and give your kids a chance to run around a bit.
- Check out the sea turtle rescue interactive exhibit. Here, your kids can pick a sea turtle and then go through all the steps necessary to rehabilitate that turtle and release it back into the wild.
- To save some money, look for discounts on admission to the aquarium on their official website.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium is an amazing way to spend half a day in Auckland. It is entertaining and educational for kids of all ages. The shark tank and penguin exhibit alone are well worth the price of admission. During your family’s next visit to Auckland, be sure to visit the Auckland aquarium. You won’t regret it!
For more help planning your family trip to New Zealand, see our ultimate guide to planning your New Zealand trip, free things to do with kids, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, the Navy Museum, things to do with kids on New Zealand’s North Island, Te Papa, Mama Brown’s, our New Zealand road trip, and mistakes to avoid in New Zealand.
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