By Jana Tingom
We’ve been members to this fabulous aquarium (located in the Arizona Mills Mall) for over a year now and visit every 6-8 weeks. It never gets old! We love that viewing is specifically designed for children – so lots of eye level tanks, big glass viewing windows, and hands on experiences. Here are our top 5 favorites!
1. Tide pool – this is a recreation of a small cove you might find along the ocean. Fish, sea stars and crabs abound! A fun addition is the sudden wave that washes through.
2. Touch tank – two tanks are available, and anything inside is touchable. Our daughter loves the sea stars, it’s pretty much her highlight of the tour. The employees have always been full of information and helpful with those little ones that might need guidance with being gentle.
3. Sea horses – fascinating creatures, and we love to just watch them swim around their homes, latching and unlatching onto sea weed. There are several small viewing tanks with facts posted around.
4. 360° tunnel – who wouldn’t love fish, turtles and sting rays swimming above and beneath you? It can get crowded in this section but take your time and you can backtrack after a group has passed. It’s worth the stay, almost mesmerizing and makes for fabulous photos.
5. Stamp stations – when you purchase admission, you’ll be given a stamp book. Each stamp can be found at various locations in the aquarium and it’s a fun hide-n-seek game for kids. Plus the book has great facts about sea life and animals, perfect for taking home to continue learning. (Be sure to redeem your completed stamp book at the photo counter for a special prize!)
There is also a new exhibit featuring octopus. During our June visit we actually didn’t see any of these creatures, and our daughter wasn’t very interested because of this. It was also heavy on reading to learn more. But we will be back! It’s a great addition and we look forward to seeing what develops.
The play area and gift shop are a nice way to finish off the aquarium visit. Sea Life has done a wonderful job bringing aquatic life to us land locked desert dwellers! Even if a membership isn’t your thing, it’s definitely worth a visit. (Also look into purchasing tickets online for a discount.)
Sea Life Arizona
5000 S Arizona Mills Cir
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: (480) 478-7600