We decided to take a hot day and turn in into an aquatic adventure at Sea Life Aquarium in the Arizona Mills mall a few days ago. We parked on the opposite side of the Arizona Mills Mall from the aquarium to try and find the food court for our hungry crew. Unfortunately, we were on the complete opposite side of the mall from that too! However, that gave us a good chance to explore the mall! There are a LOT of great things to do with kids in the mall, however, it does look like their play area is TEENY compared to other ones in this area. (The one in Scottsdale Fashion Square is fabulous!). I will dedicate another post to the Play area in the Arizona Mills Mall in a future post! There are a lot of the coin operated rides, animals you can rent to ride around the mall, a bungy jumper and a slew of other fun things to keep kids playing! We ended up eating at the Rainforest Cafe. It has an entertaining atmosphere for the young and young at heart, and they surprised be with better food than the last time I ate there (when Munchie was Dimples Age!) We all got hats (whether we wore them or not) and got to sit by the Gorillas! We love the fish and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, going at exactly 12 noon for lunch is when everyone else wants to be seated and there is always a wait for a table. If you get there around 11-1130 it usually is a bit better! After, we walked around to the other side of the mall and found Sea Life Aquarium. We bought our tickets online (which are cheaper) and were able to get in quickly. There are bathrooms at the beginning of the aquarium, but once you get in there, there is no easy way to get back to them. We stopped for a potty break in the food court to avoid this complication. I had brought the double bob to the mall, and in the Sea Life Aquarium, it wasn’t the right choice. I don’t often say that my bob was the wrong pick, but it was much to wide to navigate through the aquarium. As seen here with Dimples, the Bob was wider than the hallways to a few of the caves (they had little stairs in them-not sure why), but I was able to lift the bob in order to get it through. I recommend a baby carrier or smaller stroller if you can get away with it!
This is the first room you enter into after getting your tickets (or hand stamped) . There is a video about sea life. We didn’t really get to see much of it as we were the last ones in and then the doors opened to the aquarium for us to go explore.
Giggles had a great time looking at all the fish in the tanks!
Munchie got to sit in the little porthole that looked into the fish tank (that had sting rays). You could also climb on the deck above Munchie to see the fish from above. It looked like they did shows in this area as well. However, there weren’t shows when we were there-but you can find out the times of the shows here.
This was a viewing room (towards the end) of educational movies that were playing, which has a lot of information about Sea Life and the animals and their care in the aquarium.
This was the tunnel that you go through that has animals of all types swimming around you-Above, on the side and below! I loved it!
At the end of the Aquarium was a play area, which ladders, slides and climbers. It gets very busy on the weekends, but is perfect to get some energy out.
The Aquarium tour does end (well, after the play area) in a gift shop! This area was also very tight for the bob stroller, but we were able to navigate.
I was very impressed with the aquarium, especially since it is in a mall! It was the perfect size as well, but be warned, it is very dark in there. I liked it and thought it was a pretty good value! A great way to spend an hour (or two if you can keep the kids in the play area for a longer amount of time!).
** New in 2017**
The Colorado River Experience has opened on the Outside of Sea Life (towards the parking lot). A wonderful area full of “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and math) and a lot of sensory opportunities with water. They purpose of this exhibit is to understand water and preservation. The “entrance/exit” is right by the starfish exhibit.
Lots of different water tables, and things to pump and play with. There is also seating and shading, as well as misters underneath the canopies. There is a high fence so that littles cannot get out (although there is a fire exit, and entrance is through the Aquarium from the inside).
The river and the ways to start and stop it from flowing (dams).
Colorado River water enters the Sea of Cortez, which water pollution we make can affect many species that call Sea of Cortez “home”.
Water sprayers in this table. Giggles was interested in the Cameraman.
Stopping and starting the water. Be wary, kids will most likely get wet as they are playing. Luckily we live in AZ and it usually dries quickly. The water is not for stepping in, but sometimes mistakes happen (like three year olds who like jumping in puddles…Dimples!!!!)
The Water flowing, and Giggles showing off for the cameraman.
Wheels to spin, things to open and close!
I highly suggest not bringing a stroller into this area. If there are a lot of kids, it is kind of hard to put it anywhere but near the doors, and it will stop up traffic. There is a staff member walking around the outside keeping an eye on things (not making it a splashpad like DIMPLES tried to make it). It was a lot of fun, and great for cool play. Probably during the peak summer times it may be too hot to be outside, but if your kids want to take a quick peek at it in the summer, there is shade and the misters!
Sea Life Aquarium
5000 S Mills Circle, STE 145 Tempe, Arizona5000 S. Arizona