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Published June 27th 2012
If you're in WA and you haven't been to AQWA yet, what are you waiting for? We took the kids there recently and had an absolute ball. It's one of those places where everyone is happy, Mums, Dads, kids, grandparents, babies, everyone!
But let's start at the beginning. The Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) is located at Hillary's Boat Harbour, and is open daily from 10am until 5pm. As soon as you walk through the gates you are in aquarium heaven, with aquariums filled with the most beautiful sea life you've ever seen. For some of these creatures, you will probably wish that you could reach into the tank and tickle their slippery skin, but for the others, you might wish the glass was a tad thicker.
My second favourite aquarium is the one with all the jellyfish floating around in it. The tank is circular so you can view it from all angles and the jellyfish just float there and do their thing, which is really not much at all. Did you know jellyfish are 95% water and have no brains, no skeleton or heart and spend their lives being swirled around at the mercy of the ocean currents.
I loved the crocodile tank, it was more like a display with about three baby crocs swimming about and another sunning himself under a red heat lamp. They look so cute when they're small like that, glad they evacuate them before they become large and un-cute. Still stumps me why people were lining up to have their photos taken with the big plastic croc near this exhibit when there were the live ones about three steps away.
Not only is it an awesomely huge tank, but it has a kind of moving floor to propel you slowly around the exhibit. Picture those suitcase conveyor belts at the airport – that's what you stand on, and it slowly takes you around, so you can just concentrate on being blown away at the huge sharks, sting rays, the gorgeous turtle, the yummy mulloways (shame, I didn't bring the fishing rod) and all the other fascinating fish. Of course, if you'd prefer to walk on your own or stop and look at something a bit longer, simply step off the conveyor belt.
We saw the fascinating Leafy Seadragons, floating around in their tank like bits of seaweed, and the morbidly interesting Puffer Fish, whose neurotoxins are 10,000 times more deadly than cyanide. Hence the Puffer Fish having his own little tank.
At $75 for a family ticket, it's really quite a good deal for a few hours of fun. I heard other kids squealing with joy in the Shipwreck Coast aquarium and everyone is fascinated to learn about these weird little creatures that live in our ocean, doing their thing unnoticed. Sometimes it's good to just stop and appreciate these things we take for granted. Who knows how much longer they'll be there?
AQWA have a well-stocked cafeteria if all that fish makes you hungry, or you can bring a picnic and eat it on the grass outside, like we did. Definitely recommend this one as a family day out. It's close to all those eateries and shops at Sorrento Quay Boardwalk, so why not make a whole day of it. 28 Adult
$16 child 4 – 15 years
Under 4 is free
$75 family ticket