I am a mum of two and Primary School teacher whose aim is to never be home during the midday movie. I believe that I am only ever a car trip away from an adventure.
Published September 24th 2013
Take a Walk Under Water
Previously known as the Melbourne Aquarium, the new and updated Sea Life Aquarium is a great underwater world to explore these school holidays. After five months of transformations and an $8 million update this iconic Melbourne establishment has never been more exciting to visit. With over 10,000 amazing creatures for you to meet you're sure to be dazzled, engaged and entertained. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I visit the aquarium, I always tend to see something new or continue to be impressed by things I have witnessed time and time again.
Life under the sea is spectacular.
In its new form, The Sea Life Aquarium offers patrons twelve themed zones to journey through. These include a highly interactive rainforest where you can go fishing beneath a leafy canopy, the Bay of Rays which the unusual Elephant Sharks call home, the super cool Penguin Playground where Gentoo and Majestic King Penguins nest, waddle, swim and dive right before your eyes and the newest exhibit to open just days back, Croc Lair.
The Penguins are beautiful to watch as they glide effortlessly through the water.
This multi-million dollar exhibit is state of the art and home to Pinjarra, a five metre, 750kg Saltwater crocodile. He's certainly impressive yet it is quite difficult to convince yourself he's actually real. Not until he slowly and subtly moved his massive head did we finally believe he was a legitimate, living crocodile. He didn't move much so it was great to have many vantage points to study him. His Northern Territory inspired enclosure can be seen via three platformed areas, one being above him through a glass floor which gives you a fantastic 360 degree view.
The Saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile in the world.
Of course there are still all the old favourites a s well, such as the stingrays and sharks swimming through the clear room and tunnel, the largest collection of seahorses in the world, not to mention turtles, Clown Fish and my favourite, the Sea Dragons. Children and adults can still get up and personal with the likes of starfish and hermit crabs in the rock pools and there is information in abundance either through talks, animal feeds, posters or at interactive fact stations.
For the next two weeks, visiting children receive a Dive Log Book to help keep them active, engaged and learning informally. They need to locate an embossing stop within a number of the zones and answer a question, although that part is not essential to earning a stamp and when they have collected all nine they receive a small reward.
Special school holiday activities will keep the kids busy and engaged.
The Sea Life Aquarium is conveniently located on the corner of King and Flinders street and is easily assessable by trains, trams or a walk along the Yarra. If your prefer to drive try to park in the public car park on Flinders Street opposite the Aquarium for discount parking. Just be sure you get the customer service desk to give you a parking pass. It's an easy walk around the building with signs and arrows guiding you from the entrance to the exit. Lifts and escalators are available making it easier for prams or wheel chairs to get about. There are toilets located on a couple of levels and hand washing basins near the touch and feel exhibits for your convenience and hygiene.
The largest collection of Seahorses in the world is housed at the Sea Life Aquarium.
There's also a cafe just over half way around although I do believe another eating spot is opening or is supposed to be open as well. The cafe offers a small variety, sandwiches, salads, sausage rolls and sweet treats like doughnuts, chips and drinks. The food is fresh and the coffee is nice. It's exactly what you would expect from a place like this. Of course you can bring your own food and stop and enjoy it along the way or have a picnic near the Yarra instead. Once you have a ticket you can enter and exit the aquarium repeatedly through out that day.
The Aquarium assists with turtle rescue and rehabilitation.
The Sea Life Aquarium now joins a global network of conservation-focused aquariums under the world famous Sea Life banner. This allows them to care for an even larger number of underwater creatures. The Aquarium will commence a partnership with the Sea Life Conservation Fund who shares their beliefs of Breed, Rescue and Protect. This will allow visitors to enjoy many new opportunities to learn about our native species and their conservation, like Pinjarra for example.
Tickets can be booked online for the cheapest price available and it's certainly worth doing as it's not a cheap visit. If you have an Entertainment Guide 2013/14 or know of someone who has, locate the voucher and use that to lower entrance costs. Now is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with the new and improved Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium. You're sure to love this underwater world.