SEA LIFE Aquarium at Mall of America Offers Great Opportunities for Learning
Much like Mall of America’s theme park, the SEA LIFE aquarium has gone through a number of transitions. A few years after opening, in 1996, the first Mall of America aquarium opened as Underwater World.
Four years later the name changed to Underwater Adventures Aquarium. Finally, in 2011, the now Merlin Entertainments–owned aquarium transitioned to the well-known SEA LIFE chain. We’ve experienced SEA LIFE Aquarium at Mall of America, as well as other locations. How does it stack up to other aquariums?
If you try to compare it to Monterey Bay Aquarium in California or the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, there’s no contest. Quite frankly, it’s difficult to compete with an aquarium that is actually situated a few yards from a large body of water. With that said, this is a neat little place. We joined a group of 3rd graders on a field trip, and they had a blast. The highlight for most of them was the underwater glass tunnel and the jellyfish. Little ones tend to enjoy the touch pools. In addition to field trips, there are discounted homeschool days and scouting opportunities.
SEA LIFE Aquarium: Ideal for Young Children, Even Better with its New Lower Prices
Prices have recently come down, and that’s a good thing, as we thought the former admission was a little high. These new rates seem a little more reasonable. Coupons are easy to find. For one, Sharky, the aquarium mascot, walks around the mall passing out coupons and posing for photos, but stacks of coupons are also available at local Dairy Queens and other retail counters. We recommend purchasing your tickets online. GoldStar.com offers discounted tickets, and you can save as much as $6 per person by going directly through SEA LIFE online.
If you frequent the mall regularly, the annual pass is worth a peek ($49 per person or $199 per household). Not only do you get unlimited entry year-round, but you also get a bevy of other discounts on guest admission, photo packages, behind-the-scenes tours, birthday party packages, gift store purchases, dive/snorkel programs, and the overnight “Sleep Under the Sea” program. Plus, you are the first to know about new exhibits, and the express membership entrance is certainly handy on busy days.
SEA LIFE is located in the E120 section of Mall of America. Opening hours are Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6:30 p.m. Admission is $24.25 for adults and $17.25 for children ages 3-12. Admission is free for children under the age of 3.
About the author: Beth Blair knows Mall of America inside and out. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, co-owner of the award-winning TheVacationGals.com, and lives in Lakeville, Minnesota.