This is apparently the largest aquarium in the United States. We weren’t doing Seaworld this time, and my husband enjoys aquariums, so we decided to visit this one…
First of all, allow an hour to find a parking space or get there extremely early. There is no actual carpark for the aquarium, so you have to drive around the complicated one way system looking for a metered spot at the side of the road that you could park in for 4 hours. (Most were either 20 minutes or 2 hours.) Eventually we gave up and went to the $20 a day car park, which turned out to not take SUVs, which is what we had. Eventually we found a $15 a day carpark which we drove round a few times until we found a space. I’m not exaggerating – it really did take more than an hour to park.
Cannery Row, the harbour front street leading to the aquarium, is a lovely walk and quite different to most other American places. In fact, it felt much like Padstow – lots of little shops selling knick knacks and curiosities, and little cafes and restaurants. Quite pretty!
The aquarium was not as amazing as I expected, but it was certainly impressive. Our favourite was the sea otters who played around and were basically extremely cute! There were also penguins and a sea bird area along with the usual fish tanks and aquariums that you would expect.
It was geared up for school visits and families with younger children, so there were lots of little activities and interesting boards of information as well as a lot about the local environment. I would definitely recommend the aquarium as long as you are either a. Rich. or b. Have a great interest and enjoyment of aquariums. It cost $150 for the 4 of us. (Our kids were too old for the child rate, but it wouldn’t have reduced it by much.) We deliberately took our time looking around due to the cost – we wanted to make the most of it!- and it took us 3 hours. As impressed as I was, I did not think it was worth the money.