Day Trip to Mystic Aquarium
One of our favorite things to do over the weekends is to explore nearby towns and take mini day trips. We recently went on a slightly longer adventure to Mystic, CT to visit the Mystic Aquarium.
Home to thousands of species of marine mammals, fish, invertebrates and reptiles, there was no shortage of things to see and experience at this aquarium. We started our experience by watching the live California sea lion show as three sea lions performed a variety of tricks as their trainers shared cool facts about this intelligent animal. The packed theater loved as the sea lions quickly swam (they are really fast!) through the water or jumped up or ate as we learned more about their habitats and the importance of ocean conservation such as eating sustainable seafood and recycling.
After the show, we enjoyed a very special experience where we had the chance to meet and interact with Clara, an eight-year-old sea lion. Along with a trainer, my kids and I learned how to gesticulate signs and communicate to the sea lion with our hands as the sea lion moved, spoke, and even smiled. After the experience, we took a picture with Clara, who we also learned is TikTok famous for her playful antics and tricks. In addition to the live show, they offer other specialty sea lion experiences such as painting with a sea lion and sea lions up close.
We then went to see the beluga whale feeding. It was incredible to watch the white whales feed and work with their trainers. Some even made a range of sounds as they swam and glided through the water. This tank is located right in the front of the aquarium, and a definite must-see during your visit.
For our last feeding, we visited the Ray Touch tent where we learned more about this fish as we touched them and fed them shrimp. Interestingly, they also offer an interactive painting experience where you and your kids can even paint with a stingray!
Mystic Aquarium is also home to numerous indoor experiences such as in the main gallery, Undersea Explorer VR, and the new Dino Seas: An Immersive Journey. In the main gallery, we enjoyed walking through the space as we viewed and learned more about jellyfish, sharks, pufferfish, sea slugs, turtles, clown fish, and more!
We also took a mini break and enjoyed the Undersea Explorer VR where we watched Shark Dive and Rays. This experience is an additional fee ($9 per person) where you can sit in a pod-like screening vessel as you put on a VR headset and learn even more about the ocean and its creatures. The Shark Dive movie was so immersive that it literally felt as if we were on the ocean floor with the diver as it felt like sharks were right in front of our faces.
We also had the chance to visit the new ‘Dino Seas: An Immersive Journey’ exhibit ($15 per person). Located indoors, this exhibit spans 10,000-square-feet as you take a prehistoric journey from water to land. This included the chance to view larger-than-life animatronics sea creatures and dinosaurs as we shuffled through a variety of interactive experiences, a multi-level indoor playspace (ideal for kids ages 5-12), live reptile and amphibian habitats, an immersive sand collecting station, a math game, and two 4-D theaters where we saw “Deep Sea” and “Ice Age: No Time For Nuts 4D.” “Deep Sea” was so much fun for my older kids as our seats moved, acting as a submarine as we went deep into the ocean, complete with movement from our seats and water, and saw a giant squid, anglerfish, fangtooth and more.
After a full day at the aquarium, the kids were bursting with excitement over everything we saw and learned more about. I was equally blown-away by what we saw/experienced but also impressed by the extremely knowledgeable team members who spoke with passion, fostering awareness, education, and inspiring learning about sea animals and their habitats.
Until next time!
Mystic Aquarium Details:
Open everyday from 9:00am–6:00pm
55 Coogan Blvd.
Mystic, CT 06355