Without doubt, one of the main family attractions in Auckland is the famous Kelly Tarlton’s Seal Life Aquarium. On a recent visit to Auckland, I took my kids to enjoy this great attraction.
As we had flown into Auckland and were without a car, we headed from the hotel to the ferry terminal. After standing across the road for a few minutes a bus themed like a shark pulled up which was the free shuttle out to Kelly Tarlton’s. The kids were thrilled to be riding a shark out to the aquarium and that kept them occupied for the 10-15 minute journey.
Kelly Tarlton’s – is a top tourist attraction
Upon arriving at Kelly Tarlton’s Auckland top attraction, we joined the rather long queue which snaked its way through the lobby. We were stood next to a marker which advised us the wait would be around 30 minutes so we picked up the aquarium’s flyer and started reading out all the attractions to the kids and seeing what they most wanted to see and what to expect once inside. Luckily this, along with some sea-trivia posters on the walls helped us pass the time without too many problems.
Once inside, we had a look around the entrance area before getting in line for the Antarctic Ice Adventure. This was a ride that took us into the area where the Antarctic Penguins were. It was a little like being in a freezer but got us really close to the penguin colony.
After the ride, we explored various tanks containing a variety of colourful and strange sealife creatures before we got to the Stingray Bay. Here we listened to a talk about the life of stingrays and those brave enough could touch them in the low-level tank. Obviously my fearless adventurers were delighted with the touchy-feely experience.
Next we went into the shark tunnel which my son had been looking forward to for days. As well as being able to see a variety of sharks including Sand Tiger Sharks and School Sharks, we also saw a wealth of other fish too, along with an eel and a turtle. We must have spent about an hour marveling at this underwater world and trying to identify everything we saw in the tank. My personal highlight was a little puffer fish with beautiful large eyes.
At the end of our Kelly Tarlton experience we entered the large shop area where we bought some exquisite wood carvings of a shark and a dolphin’s tail and some cuddly creatures for the kids. As we went to the checkout we found our family photo which had been taken against a plain background earlier in our visit. This now featured a large shark trying to eat us and a few other backdrops which we bought as mementos for the day.
All in all, the Kelly Tarlton experience was as good as we thought it would be but perhaps in future, visitors need to be mindful of the long entrance queues and plan ahead for either a long wait or something to keep the kids entertained in the queue.
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