The dictator is probably going to be veterinary when she grows up. She has a love for animals that I have really never seen a kid have. She loves all animals too, big or small, scary or cute. The aquarium was right up her alley (minus the fact that they didn't have a polar bear, which is what she was looking for, thanks L for the $20.00 stuffed polar bear friend).
Sea Lion Show
I have been to a couple of aquariums before (Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY , and Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN) and while this one was a good aquarium I wouldn't put it up there with the Newport Aquarium or the Ripley's Aquarium. The indoor area didn't have the moving sidewalks that took you under the shark tank, or entire walls of tanks (maybe one entire wall). It was just really one giant room with tanks of different types of fish, sharks, and turtles. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is kind of cool to ride a moving sidewalk through a tunnel with sharks over your head, or really pretty fish.
Can you tell she loved having visitors?
The one major plus about the Mystic Aquarium is that it had great outdoor walking paths (probably more enjoyable in 60 degree weather, but we still managed in 45 degree weather.) The animals that you were able to see outside were a must, they are unlike the animals you see at a typically aquarium (minus the penguins.) The Beluga whale was definitely the top attraction for our family. The majority of Beluga whales live off the coast of North America, Greenland, and Russia in the arctic seas. It is known for its unmistakeable all white color and the absence of a dorsal fin. It is truly a beautiful creature. The Beluga's in Mystic are also certainly good at putting on a show. They came right up to the glass, Elin has not stopped talking about it since we left. Other animals featured outside included the rescued sea lions, seals, and the penguin exhibit. They have aquarium workers stationed throughout the walking path to fill you in on the detail of the animals. Pretty cool to hear how one of the rescued sea lions thinks he is human, so much so that when they rescued him he had just completed a mile walk with elementary school aged kids in a parade.
Seriously how cool is this whale?
We arrived just in time for the sea lions show. Most of these sea lions were rescued and were now trained to perform in this little show. It was a lot of talking about training so not that entertaining for a two year old, interesting for adults but not engaging for a toddler. We didn't last the entire show but it was fun to watch for a little bit. Definitely something that I think older kids would really enjoy.
Overall, I wouldn't jump in my car and drive up from Kentucky just to go this aquarium. However, if you are in the vicinity and looking for something to do that is very family friendly this is great place to stop. Not only do you have the aquarium but there are several shops and restaurants around the aquarium area. Mystic is also famous for the seaport and "Mystic Pizza," which is based off a Julia Roberts movie. Seeing that it was Easter Sunday most of these places were closed but chances are we will be able to return to Mystic to explore. I have feeling this won't be our last time visiting the aquarium, the dictator will be demanding a return trip, probably soon.