The Denver Downtown Aquarium | Top 5 Favorite Things
If you live in Denver and you have children, you've probably visited the Denver's Downtown Aquarium. Today I'm sharing our top 5 things we love about the aquarium.
When we first moved here, the kids and I took a jaunt to the Denver Aquarium. Townes is obsessed with all things marine life, so this seemed like a logical thing to do on a random day in November. Honestly? I was kind of underwhelmed the first time we went. The kids just buzzed straight through. It was expensive and it felt like we were in and out in under 30 minutes.
But we must've been there on a busy day where we just wanted out because we recently went back during the week and it was so awesome!!
Our Top 5 Favorite Things About the Downtown Denver Aquarium
1. Easy Access
The Denver Aquarium could not be easier to get to. It's right off of exit 211 for 23rd Avenue from I-25 and you basically run right into it. Parking is a breeze and right across the street. That's important to me. Parking is stressful to begin with and they make it simple and not too expensive at $7/day.
2. Beautiful and Unique Exhibits
This probably goes without saying, but it's worth mentioning that the layout of the aquarium is thoughtful and many of the exhibits are larger than life! You really feel like you are almost swimming in the water--up close and personal with the fish.
And there is so much more to see than 'just fish'. The exhibits include most animals who live in or near water from fish, sharks, and stingrays to alligators, otters, and even a tiger!
Here is their exhibit list:
- North America
- In the Desert
- Under the Sea
- At the Wharf
- The Rainforest
- Coral Lagoon
- Sunken Temple
- At the Beach
- 4-D Theater
3. Really Good Restaurant and Bar/Lounge
The Denver Aquarium restaurant was a fun experience in and of itself. The food was really good! And they had huge portions. I took home half of my chicken salad because I was full. The kids both loved their sliders and chicken tenders.
Plus, the lifesize 50,000 gallon aquarium that runs the span of the restaurant is a fantastic (and relaxing) distraction. Our kids basically hung out in various parts of the aquarium sitting in front of the glass and taking it all in.
There is a performance from live human mermaids...in the tank, is something you have to see if you live in Denver. It's super cool!
The aquarium also has a bar for grownups to catch a drink after work. The Dive Lounge offers happy hour Monday through Friday.
4. Entertainment With Kids in Mind
Kids like to be silly and they like to feel up close and personal to the fish and animals. The Denver Aquarium definitely kept that in mind when designing the exhibits. There were plenty of hands-on exhibits and plenty of tour guides were there to answer questions.
Plus, there is silly stuff like sticking your head up in a bubble in the middle of the ocean floor to get a very large and very personal view of the fish. They got a kick out of those spots!
My favorite part is the underwater tunnel and it's always a big hit with the kids.
I also found out when we signed up for the membership that it includes seeing the 4D movies that they show in their theater. I need to get a copy of their schedule ASAP to take advantage of that!
5. Enrichment and Paid Classes
The aquarium has school programs, scout programs, homeschooling programs, summer camps, you name it! Birthday parties and group/catered events can also be scheduled.
You can also pay to do animal 'meet and greets' and also scuba and dive with the sharks! All for a cost, obviously. For Townes' upcoming birthday I think we will do a meet and greet with an otter and a serval. We are kind of obsessed with otters these days and Townes would really get into a serval.
Now that we are homeschooling, I figured we should go ahead and join the aquarium and then we could be picky about when we go, etc.
The cost of the aquarium is $20.50 for adults and $14.50 for kids, so we'll pay for our membership after three visits, for sure!
We went on a quiet Tuesday morning and we felt like we had the place to ourselves. We spent so much more time at each exhibit because no one was pressuring us to get moving behind us. Unschooling for the win!
We dug in a little deeper and spent more time reading the information placards and listened as Townes told us everything he knew about each of the fish, turtles, or frogs that he recognized. It was like we had our own personal tour guide LOL
Thanks for reading! We are loving getting to know what Denver has to offer. Look for more posts about our discoveries of local attractions and day trips.