Back in January we learned a new attraction would be opening at the end of the month, Sea Life Aquarium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We were very excited to check it out, but knew that it would be complete craziness for the few months as many families dived at the opportunity of a glimpse under the sea. Grandma invited us on a visit to the aquarium in the beginning of March, thinking things may have slowed down and we'd be able to look about without it being so crowded. The weekend day we had planned on heading out was completely sold out. Sea Life has allotted time slots you can sign up for on their website (also you can get a discount on your tickets on line). While you sign up for an assigned time you are welcome to stay as long as you want. They allow a few openings during each time slot for walk-ins, but you risk them already being at capacity and having to wait or being turned away. We opted to squeeze our scheduled visit in during a Wednesday.
A weekday visit seemed like the best way to go. While we had a mad dash to get from school to the aquarium during rush hour for our chosen time slot, there were only a handful of families there. So we were able to really get a close look at everything, and spend as much time examining things without feeling like we needed to move on so others could get a look. The younger kids were given explorer books they could get stamped at varies checkpoints throughout the aquarium, then earn a small prize for completing all checkpoints.
I found it really interesting to see all the different sea life creatures. My boys absolutely LOVED it!!! The aquarium had calming sea sound music playing over the loud speakers. There was actually a lot more to see than I expected, from jellyfish and seahorses to sharks and stingrays. There was a huge tank that houses many different fish as well as some stingrays that looked like they were smiling at you and a couple sharks. I think that tank was my boys' favorite. There were a couple bubble windows near the back of the tank, and my kids parked their behinds in them and were in complete awe just watching the fish being fish. Joey who had been a bit on the hyper side with the rushing to get to the aquarium and the excitement of visiting somewhere new, was more calm watching those fish than I have EVER seen him.
They had a touch-pool with starfish, coral, and shrimp. Jordan being the brave one was the first to let a shrimp walk on his hand. I finally gathered my nerve and having those little guys climbing around on you really tickles. The touch-pool attendant informed us that the tickling was actually the shrimp cleaning our hands. Having a shrimp clean under your nails is a feeling all of it's own, a couple times I had to really focus not to jerk my hand away from the tickling feeling. Grandma learned that the starfish were not nearly as squishy feeling as they look to be. Besides the huge tank with the sharks this was a favorite spot for just about all of us.
At the end of the loop of tanks there was a play structure for the younger guys. Jordan and I really wanted to take one more look at the fish before calling it a day, but the other boys want to climb for a bit. Papa and Grandma stayed with the younger two while Jordan and I walked through one more time taking goofy selfies with different fish along the way. Then a final visit back at the touch-pool to play with the shrimp one last time.
While the tickets were a bit pricey, the experience was well worth the money.