Adventure Aquarium: a KidsOutAndAbout review | Kids Out and About Westchester <

Adventure Aquarium: a KidsOutAndAbout review

Adventure Aquarium: a KidsOutAndAbout review

by Kathleen McCormack


Our recent family trip to Philadelphia, PA included a stop at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. Though the Adventure Aquarium is located in another city and state, it’s only a ten-minute drive from downtown Philadelphia, or you could take the Riverlink ferry near the Seaport Museum.

Being major shark fans in our house, this was the attraction to which I was most looking forward. And boy, were my expectations satiated! Sharks galore! Massive viewing windows into tanks full of sharks! The jaws of an ancient megalodon on display! A touch-a–shark pool! A 4D movie about sharks! A tunnel into the shark tank!

Oh yeah, there was other stuff too. Here’s a sampling of what you can enjoy at the Adventure Aquarium.


1. Diving with the Sharks

Did I mention that we love sharks? (I even dressed as Discovery Channel’s Shark Week for Halloween one year.) Not only did we see massive sharks in huge, easy to view tanks, we saw sharks languidly swimming around divers… in the tank… with the sharks! They gave a presentation about how a scuba suit works and why the sharks, stingrays, and barracudas weren’t interested in harming them. The care for these creatures was evident as the volunteer divers explained how they help to maintain the health of the tank and its inhabitants by getting up close for cleanings and check ups.


2. Feeding the Sting Rays

The Adventure Aquarium includes a few hands-on exhibits. Besides nurse sharks and starfish, guests can also touch stingrays and feed them by hand. $2 gets you a few pieces of chopped fish. Next, you have to conjure the bravery to touch the dead fish, stick your hand in the pool of stingrays, and allow them to suck it out of your fingers! There’s no judgment for squealing!


3. Lounging with the Hippos

Adventure Aquarium boasts a new exhibit – Hippo Haven. You may have seen these beasts on land, but it’s a whole new experience to view them in their water environment. Resident hippos, Button and Genny, were just hanging out while we were around, but they certainly perk up during the Hippo Feed and Talk when biologists offer treats during training and information sessions!


4. Gaping at the Gators

My three-year-old voted for the alligators as one of her favorite spots in the aquarium. In her own words: “I liked their sharp claws and when their mouth was wide open.” Throughout the aquarium, large panes of glass allow for unobstructed views, especially for small children who can easily walk up to most tanks without needing to be lifted up. In fact, the view was so clear, my daughter needed reassurance that the animals weren’t going to get out!


5. Consideration for Infants and Toddlers

Convenience is key when trying to schlep an infant around. Parents have much to consider: Will I be able to maneuver the stroller? Can I easily change a diaper? Where will I nurse the baby? Adventure Aquarium makes it easy to tend to baby and still enjoy the experience. You’ll have to take the elevator up to the main floor after purchasing tickets; on a busier day, this may require more patience, but we had no problem the day we visited. The exhibits offer lots of open space and ramps between exhibits, making it effortless to navigate the stroller. Restrooms were easy to access, and there was even a special lactation room for nursing moms.


Bonus: Jamming to the Soundtrack

Ok, so this is a silly thing to get excited about, but I just had to mention that I loved the music playing in the background at the aquarium. It gave the sense that we were characters in an adventure film. Like all good music, it really created the atmosphere, maintaining the excitement and the mystery of what was around the corner.


It certainly makes sense that Adventure Aquarium was ranked by the Travel Channel as one of the best aquariums in the nation!



Click here to see KidsOutAndAbout’s other suggestions for a vacation to the Philadelphia area with kids!


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Kathleen McCormack is Managing Editor of and lives in the Rochester, NY area.