Given the weather on Mother’s Day, and my older son’s need for new sneakers, we drove over to Grapevine Mills yesterday and checked out Sea Life Aquarium.  This was a nice little side trip and a great spot for little kids.  Perfect for a rainy day.

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It took us 90 minutes to go through the exhibits, and we somehow managed to skip the gift shop (you have to walk through it to exit).  The sea turtles were probably my favorite, with the flying sting rays a close second.

SL1All of the exhibits are labeled with information about the inhabitants, and some exhibits have additional educational information on large, colorful posters.

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Each child is given a booklet that can be stamped at stations throughout the aquarium, which is a great attention grabber for kids who like to search out things and accomplish a task.  Almost all of the exhibits are low to the ground, the perfect height for children, and several include the option to crawl underneath/beside the exhibit to peer through a porthole.

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The aquarium is two stories, but it’s very stroller friendly (there is an elevator) and there are two sets of bathrooms.

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There is an play area inside the aquarium (socks are required), but it was closed during our visit, I think due to some water issues.

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In addition to traditional exhibits you can also go behind the scenes at the aquarium.  There is a small laboratory, a room where they prepare the food, some small freshwater turtle tanks and the top of the large walk-through aquarium.  An employee was station in this area with a touch tank of starfish and shark egg pods.  He was very helpful and answered all of our questions, including – sharks lay eggs?!

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A nurse shark relaxing “backstage”

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They do rotate out some exhibits, so there are new things to see there every few months.  They also have a small theater showing educational films, and there were several large touch screens with games.

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The aquarium hosts birthday parties and field trips.  When you go, make sure you purchase your tickets online beforehand as it’s a big money saver.  They will give you a print out of feeding times and presentations at the admission counter. They don’t have a aquarium map at admission, but there is one on their website.

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If you want to make a longer visit out of this trip there is obviously plenty of shopping.  The mall also has a carousel in the food court and the Legoland Discovery Center is across the hall.  This is a great bad weather day experience for preschool and elementary-aged kids.  Check it out!

Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium
Grapevine Mills Mall
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
Grapevine, TX