Did you know that we don’t always get a chance to post about adventures we go on? That’s right, sometimes a location or adventure will fall through the cracks. It’s not that we didn’t have fun, or that it wasn’t a great value, but sometimes when we cram lots of Frugal Florida Fun into a single trip, it’s difficult to make sure we cover everything. This just happened to be the case when it came to our visit to the Florida Aquarium! I was actually reminded about this adventure when I was cleaning up some files and ran across a folder of pictures from our outing. It seems like quite awhile since we went to the Florida Aquarium, but we had such a great time that it has left an impression even after all this time.
You may recall we spent a few days in Tampa awhile back checking out all the local sights such as the SS American Victory Ship, The Glazer Children’s Museum, and MOSI. It was time well spent with the family, but the trip actually started with our visit to the Florida Aquarium! Right from the get-go, we knew our trip was going to be filled with adventure when we walked up to the main entrance. The Florida Aquarium just looks fun!
After the obligatory diaper changes and quick look through the facility map, we discovered that there was definitely an intentional flow that visitors should follow. Although you aren’t required to follow it, each area has a great transition, and you can take your time walking through the many exhibits and displays. By the time you’re done, you’ll be back on the ground floor without even realizing you left the top floor! Before we started our adventure we spotted a poor little goldfish on the floor in front of the elevator. I’m not sure why but this visiter of the Florida Aquarium cracked me up and I was laughing more than I probably should’ve been.
Excluding the gift shop and cafeteria, there are eight separate and unique areas for you to explore. We started off in the Wetlands Trail area, where we had a bit of a unique experience. The Florida Aquarium took great care to make visitors actually feel like they were walking through wetlands, while checking out fish and wildlife at eye level in an open air setup. Our oldest was still quite young at the time, but he enjoyed the scenery right from his stroller. We then travelled to Madagascar, as we had a chance to checkout other wildlife. It turns out the Florida Aquarium is much more than just fish!
We weaved our way through all eight exhibits of the Florida Aquarium, including touch tanks, interactive displays, and even entire section dedicated to coral reefs, and sea dragons! Our favorite area was Ocean Commotion, where we were thrilled to see bioluminescent jelly fish, crabs and huge schools of swirling fish. When we finally emerged from the aquarium, we took a few minutes to rest at the cafeteria. The food prices were above average for standard attraction fair such as chicken fingers and hamburgers, but it looked and smelled delicious. We had some bottled water with us and took some time to feed our little guy. No one seems to question outside food when you have a little one in tow, but it should be noted that outside food is not allowed but they make exceptions for those with special dietary needs and babies.
After the break, we stepped outside of the Florida Aquarium to Explore a Shore! Located on the ground level outdoors is a very impressive splash park area complete with pirate ship, water cannons, and much more. Our little guy was too young to experience this for himself, and I didn’t want to be that creepy guy with the camera so I wasn’t able to catch much of it in photos, but it was pretty cool. There were convenient restrooms and changing areas, as well as a rather larger bar if you’re looking to sip a few adult drinks while letting the little ones run off some steam in the water.
As far as value and admission goes, you can save a few dollars by purchasing your tickets online. For example, regular adult admission is $23.95, but is $2 cheaper is purchased online. Children ages 3-11 are $18.95 and a dollar cheaper if purchased online. Children 2 and under are free. If you’re local, you may wish to consider an annual pass. You can save 10% by purchasing online in advance, and start out at $54 for a single person. The passes go up from there depending on the number of folks in you family. For a typical family of four you would be looking at $126 online and in advance. Not too bad for an entire year of fun! If you’re only looking for a single day of adventure, keep your eyes peeled for Groupons for The Florida Aquarium. They run them every so often and can range from a deep discount to buy one get one free type of deals.
Overall we had a very relaxed visit to the Florida Aquarium. It seems that no matter how stressed out you are, the Florida Aquarium should have a calming effect on you. I could sit there for hours watching the jelly fish drift and puff away. In conjunction with the splash park area, there is plenty of entertainment to keep you coming back time and time again and who knows you might even learn something new!
The Florida Aquarium Details:
|Time(s):||9:30AM-5PM||Closed Christmas & Thanksgiving|
|Address:||701 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL 33602|
Analysis (Purchased Online in Advance):
|Estimated Cost For A Family of 4:||$85.80|