1 Riverside Dr., Camden
Hours: The aquarium is open 10 am–5 pm, with extended hours on some weekends and holidays.
Admission: $26.95 for adults; $19.95 for children 2–12. Additional fees apply for parking and 4-D movies.
Have you been down to the Adventure Aquarium yet? This marine life oasis sits right on the waterfront, offering a gorgeous view of the Philadelphia skyline. It’s got some cool neighbors, too, like the historic Battleship New Jersey and the Camden Children’s Garden.
While there are jaw-dropping sights outside, what’s really impressive is the amazing collection of sea creatures housed inside.
The aquarium’s newest attraction: Little blue penguins (sometimes called fairy penguins) are the smallest of all penguin species. They weigh in at just three pounds and are absolutely adorable, especially when their blue sheen is on display underwater.
There’s great stuff for every age. KidZone is geared to little ones under six, and is chock-full of brightly-colored fish. (Think Finding Dory). It has hands-on touch tanks with friendly ocean dwellers, like starfish and sea cucumbers, and plenty of play areas for toddlers.
Bigger kids can brave touching more lively creatures, like small bamboo sharks and stingrays, in the central part of the aquarium. FYI: All touch exhibits shut down for a few minutes every hour to give the animals a rest, but you can still watch them without handling them.
While the animals are on break, head outside to Penguin Island, The Jules Verne Gallery (filled with jellyfish and Giant Pacific Octopus), or visit the mesmerizing Ocean Realm—a 760,000 gallon tank with sea turtles, sharks and hundreds of fish. You could spend all day there!
We recommend saving our favorite exhibits for last. Hit up Hippo Haven during a feeding (schedules come with your map when you enter), to see the two Nile hippos, Button and Genny, at their most playful. Insider tip: Get there a few minutes early and snag a spot close to the glass, so you can watch as their massive jaws chomp down.
And then there are the sharks. So many awe-inspiring sharks. Their massive Shark Realm has huge windows to watch sand tiger, sandbar and nurse sharks glide through the water. Also not to be missed: A 40-foot tunnel where you can watch sharks swim over your head, literally, as you stand below them. If that’s still not enough Jaws-inspired action for you, check out the brand new Shark Bridge, which hovers over a 550,000-gallon tank. At 81-feet-tall, it’s the longest V-shaped rope suspension bridge in the world.
If you want even more hands-on fun, try one-of-a-kind adventure experiences for different ages, ranging from $125 to $185. They make a great birthday gifts, too! The Swim with the Sharks experience is especially memorable—it gets you close enough (with just a snorkel, and no SCUBA certification needed) to enjoy them, without getting too close. You get to pet and feed some stingrays, too. Also worth a visit: The Sea Turtle experience, a close encounter with penguins, and a sleepover under the sharks. Check with the aquarium to see when they’re scheduled.
And don’t miss the aquarium at the holidays, when it gets a Christmas-y makeover, and Scuba Santa shows up for a special visit.
For more information, visit adventureaquarium.com
More Like This: