I received complimentary tickets to the Adventure Aquarium to facilitate my review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Our family visited the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey recently and had a blast! It’s a nice place to visit year-round, no matter what the weather. It’s been especially cold here lately so it was a great way for us to get the kids out of the house and do some exploring indoors. Getting there was pretty easy; it’s just minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Delaware waterfront, with beautiful views of the Philly skyline. The aquarium “features more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water and is the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos and is also home to the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast – including a Great Hammerhead Shark!”
There are so many neat exhibits at the Adventure Aquarium! The Touch-a-Shark area is so cool…both kids reached right in and touched the bamboo sharks!
We also loved the Stingray Beach Club! We timed our visit to this exhibit so we could feed the stingrays. The kids were a little scared and ended up dropping the food in the water without hand-feeding them, but my husband took over and let a few eat right out of his hand . To the kid’s defense, the stingrays were HUGE! There was also a much smaller stingray pool down at the kid’s level, where they both enjoyed watching and petting the smaller stingrays which were much less intimidating.
Another favorite of the day was the Creature Feature exhibit which is an “inter-tidal marine ecosystem, where you can reach your hands into the cool water to TOUCH exotic and colorful sea stars, anemones, sea cucumbers, shrimp, crabs, snails and more.” We learned so much at this exhibit from an aquarium specialist who was really great interacting with the children, asking them questions and really piquing their interest about the neat sea creatures.
My daughter is obsessed with frogs lately, so their newest exhibit, Frogs: Nature’s Messenger was awesome! We learned so much about frogs while exploring this exhibit. I think she was most fascinated learning about how frogs can change colors. She really loved staring into the frog habitats, watching them move around. Many were down low at her level and she could really get a good look at them. It was a challenge to find some of the smaller, or more camouflaged frogs and we made a fun game out of it with the kids to see who could find the frogs first! There were a lot of fun and interactive activities where we learned many things about frogs we never knew:
- Meet our “colorful characters”: They’re small, but they have a big story to tell, opening up a world of intricate patterns, colors, sounds and personalities. Our biologists can introduce you to the more than 20 species of frogs, salamanders, toads and sirens that will be highlighted in this limited-time exhibit.
- Learn about the significance of frogs to the environment, and how they really are “messengers” of environmental change. More than 6,000 species live on every continent except Antarctica, and at least 30 percent of frog species are currently threatened with extinction. As humans change natural ecosystems, frogs around the world are disappearing. Learn why frogs matter, why they deserve our respect, and how they are considered bio-indicators. Since they eat and breathe through it, a frog’s skin is critical to its survival. Their skin is super-sensitive to pollution and other environmental hazards. As frogs grow, deformities tell us when a habitat is unhealthy. Guests can learn what they can do to help, what is involved in owning a frog, and what they can to do help this vulnerable species.
- Each frog has its own “quirk” – for example, the hourglass tree frog, who can change color, depending on the time of day and its level of stress. Or the weird and awesome polka dot tree frog (the cinnamon tree frog) – one glimpse of this spotted tree frog’s belly and you can see its heart, liver and other internal organs! Learn how certain frog species use their anatomy to protect themselves from predators, including the beautiful oriental fire belly toad, whose skin secretes a mild toxin that can sting, and who uses its belly to warn predators to stay away. Or the iconic red-eyed tree frog, a rainforest tree dweller that’s not poisonous, but who flashes its bulging red eyes, huge orange feet and blue-and-yellow flanks when disturbed, tricking predators into thinking it’s toxic.
- The potent power of poison: Get up close and personal with a variety of the colorful, but powerful poison dart frogs. Poison frogs may look beautiful but they secrete toxins through their skin that can paralyze or even kill. Those bright colors warn predators “Don’t eat me or you’ll be sorry”! Although contact with most frog species won’t kill you, touching or ingesting one of these poison dart frogs in the wild can make you very sick, and cause serious swelling, nausea and even possible paralysis. Visitors to Frogs: Nature’s Messenger will even get up close with the golden poison dart frog – a golden beauty that also happens to be one of the most poisonous animals on the planet.
Adventure Aquarium has a special area called KidZone: “a dedicated space that encourages kids 6 and under to connect with nature by getting hand’s on. The exhibit features a collection of vibrant and colorful animal species, as well a bright and cheerful décor, lower exhibit heights for easy viewing and interactive games, activities and touch experiences that promote learning through play.” The “pop-up” exhibits were really cool and the kids loved getting “inside” and seeing the fish from another viewpoint. There’s also a play space for kids to climb and crawl around and help release some energy!
We even got to see a movie at the aquarium, SpongeBob SquarePants 4D: The Great Jelly Rescue. My daughter and nephew had a blast and it was well worth the additional $3 for the movie.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Adventure Aquarium. There was so much to see and do and we all learned a lot while having so much fun! Even my 13-month old seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself, just observing everything. The hands-on areas were definitely our favorite part. My 3 year old daughter was a little hesitant with some of it, but my nephew (almost 5 years old) didn’t hold back at all! I highly recommend a visit to the aquarium; it’s fun for all ages! We’ll definitely be returning later in the year for another visit!
Adventure Aquarium is open 365 days a year from 9am-5pm. General admission is $24.95 for adults (and children over 13) and $18.95 for children 2-12. The ticket lines can get pretty long, so I’d suggest buying yours online ahead of time and printing them at home. And if you think you’ll visit more than once, their annual pass would be a great choice and would pay itself off in just two visits! Be sure to follow Adventure Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
Adventure Aquarium is generously offering one of my readers a family four-pack of tickets to visit and see all this and more for yourselves! This giveaway will end on February 13, 2014. You can enter to win [HERE].
About Emily Mohry, Pandora’s Deals Contributor
Emily is a SAHM to 3-year old Magnolia and 13-month old Violet. The family loves spending time outdoors, especially swimming in their pool. Magnolia is showing signs of being the next Picasso or Brandi Carlile, while Violet’s innate talents are still under wraps. When not entertaining her two very active girls, Emily enjoys thrifting, baking and all things DIY.