Location: Grapevine, TX – located in the Grapevine Mills Mall
Price: Base tickets: $22.95/12+, $18.95/3-12 years old
Smashed Penny Machine: Yes located in gift shop, cost $1.01
After spending several hours enjoying the water part at the Great Wolf Lodge we decided to dry off and check out the mall and get a bite to eat. Sealife Aquarium is located in the mall right across from Legoland. There is a combo ticket option for both venues. With the combo ticket, you do not have to visit both attractions in the same day; however, the aquarium only took us about two hours so I think visiting both in the same visit would be very easy. Both the general admission tickets and the combo tickets are several dollars cheaper if you buy them online. We visited on a Thursday afternoon and there were only a handful of other people touring.
The aquarium has several different exhibits. Each exhibit has touch screens so you can find out more information about the various animals in that tank. My older daughter loved using the displays as a seek-and-find game to find each type of creature in each exhibit. My younger daughter’s favorite exhibit was the stingrays. The stingrays are housed in what looks like a huge see-through bowl. The top of the bowl reached about to my chest so it was roughly four and half feet tall. This was perfect for little ones to watch the rays swim by at eye level. The adults in our group really enjoyed the Sea Turtle rescue exhibit. The exhibit has you take a plastic baby sea turtle and navigate all the obstacles they face on their journey to adulthood. At the end of the exhibit are the rescue turtles that are currently living at the aquarium. Everyone enjoyed the ocean tunnel, which even had a glass floor so you could watch fish, eel, rays, sharks, and more swim next to you, above you or below you.
The final two exhibits are very hands on. At the rock pools, everyone can touch and explore. Several of the inhabitants of the pools are starfish, sea anemones and sea stars. One employee also had a camera and they would highlight different features of the animals on a large monitor to help explain how they are adapted to survive in their environment. Finally, you end with hands on exhibit on how each of us can do our parts to protect the oceans.
Throughout the tour there are a few small sets of steps to climb up or down but a ramp or elevator were available so you could very easily bring a stroller. The tour ends at the gift shop that had reasonably priced souvenirs. We spent about two hours in the aquarium and I felt we spent a good amount of time at each exhibit. General admission tickets do allow for same day re-entry.
Overall: This was a very nice aquarium. All the walkways were clean. All exhibits were clean and looked well maintained. Staff was wandering through the aquarium the whole time we were there and were very happy to stop and answer questions. I thought the length of time the aquarium took was about perfect. I felt like we got our money’s worth without the kids getting bored. The mall was about a ten-minute drive from our accommodations at Great Wolf Lodge making this a great break from the craziness of the water park and resort. I would highly recommend a visit.