The second day of our Anniversary Weekend rolled around and we decided to make a trip to the aquarium. Recently the aquarium in Utah received a makeover and moved to a new location. I hadn’t been to the old one, but I was promised more exciting animals, bigger space, and better facilities. It does look pretty fancy from the outside; you can see it from the freeway and in the front there are tents to hide in the shade while you wait in line. On a Sunday morning, there were no lines to be waited in. We went straight in after receiving the student discount (the perks of paying thousands of dollars in tuition, once again) and were offered a map.

I love animals, so I was excited to see what the aquarium had to offer. (I’ll apologize in advance for our pictures. We could not get the camera settings right on our little point-and-shoot.) We started wandering around the place, making our way first to the South American exhibits.

So there was this computer game released in 1994 called The Amazon Trail that I loved to play as a kid. I learned about all sorts of animals one could find along the Amazon, and occasionally you’d need to fish to stay alive. The fish we saw in the first large tank were the exact fish I’d have to eat in the game! I was super excited to see them, like almost giddy, because I’m a total nerd. And they were huge. Like several feet long. The pictures don’t do the size justice. So basically if I was ever actually in the Amazon I would be too afraid to catch and eat them to stay alive…

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There was also a toucan exhibit, and Colton loved that one because he’d never seen a toucan in real life before. They were adorable and now I want a pet toucan.

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We were disappointed at how many exhibits were still under construction. I’d thought that maybe one or two wouldn’t be open, but there were between 10-15 empty or covered tanks. You’d think that they would have finished all of it before opening it up to the public. It was also extremely crowded inside. For having not waiting for any lines and coming on a Sunday morning, I couldn’t believe how many people and children there were. After knowing this, I’m never going on a weekday, or at least I’m waiting several years for the excitement of something-indoor-and-new-to-bring-your-children-to wears off. That being said, it also seemed rather small to me. Well the building itself was large, but I feel like a lot of space was wasted in making the front lobby 50 feet tall. I think I just expected a little more from all the commercials and ads I’d seen around.

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Despite all that, I don’t want you to think I didn’t enjoy my visit or that it’s something I wouldn’t recommend (although seriously, call to figure out which days are least busy). We loved seeing the jellyfish, the shark tunnel, the penguins, and the river otters. The otters were being so funny. They kept jumping in the water, swimming around for a moment, then running to the back door waiting for their lunch. It’s as if they were saying, “I’ve done good! I’m entertaining people still! Just feed me now!” (Sorry, no pictures of them.)LovelandAquarium5 LovelandAquarium6 LovelandAquarium7 LovelandAquarium9

The penguins were also fun to watch. They were swimming so fast we couldn’t get very good pictures of them in the water. The shark tunnel was awesome. There was an amphitheater room in the dark where you could watch the whole tank and listen to some cool, originally-written shark music, then there was the tunnel you could walk through and watch the sea turtle, sharks, and rays swim over you. The tunnel was the most ridiculously crowded and loud, however. It was literally packed from one side to the other. I believe that in one of the aquariums in California, their shark tunnel offers a moving sidewalk that you stand on to see the whole thing so it doesn’t get crowded (although that tunnel was much longer, so it probable didn’t seem reasonable here). That might have been helpful here, but we were still able to grab a spot on the side and watch for a while.

There were also two petting tanks for starfish, small sharks, and sting rays. I was able to feel one of the rays, but again it was so crowded it was hard to get a spot. And Colton and I both started getting really stressed out for the fish because there were tons of adults and children not listening to the workers there who were practically shouting over the microphone to only use two fingers and to not splash the water because it stressed the fish out. The lady next to me was agitating the water to try and attract the rays and I wanted to strangle her because nothing was coming near us. Then a couple of the rays buried themselves in the sand and Colton refused to try and touch anything because he felt bad for the fish. So… needless to say that wasn’t our favorite part, but the rest was really cool!LovelandAquarium1

The cuttlefish above was my favorite. He’s so cute and I just wanted to take him home with me, except he’s extremely poisonous so I would die… We also liked seeing the adorably miniature sea horses they had.LovelandAquarium4

Anyways, overall I enjoyed the aquarium. However I would not recommend going anytime soon, or even this year, if you are going for your own enjoyment. I would wait until next year, and hopefully all the exhibits will be open and the crowds will have thinned out. If you are going to find something for you children to do, however, they all seemed to be having the time of their lives, and they probably wouldn’t notice the crowds or the closed exhibits, because kids are awesome like that. 🙂
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