My kids love aquariums. No matter where we go, their first question is always “is there an aquarium?”. We were trying to make some Spring Break plans and the girls said “can we go back to the aquarium in Baltimore?”. While we love Baltimore, we were there this year and I wanted to go somewhere new. I had heard great things about the Mystic Aquarium and it’s not far from home (under 3 hours). So we planned a fun Mystic adventure! I’ll share more about the area (other sights, restaurants, etc) soon, but today is all about the aquarium and why I’d highly recommend a visit.
Here are some tips for planning and highlights of the Mystic Aquarium:
Location: I wish I knew how easy it was to get to Mystic Aquarium from I-95. It’s RIGHT off the highway. It could not possibly be easier to get to. If you’re driving on I-95 this summer and need a quick stop to get the kids out of the car for a while, it’s as close off the highway as a rest stop would be. It’s also in a cool location for a longer trip. We went to Mystic for 3 days and there was plenty to do. So from a quick rest stop to a family vacation, Mystic Aquarium fits in the plan!
Beluga Whales: My girls love whales and all 4 have been hearing me sing “Baby Beluga” since birth. So getting to see Beluga whales for the first time was the highlight of the day. They were so beautiful and the kids were able to get up close and personal with them. Mystic Aquarium has the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibit in the United States. The Beluga whales live in the aquarium’s Arctic Coast exhibit which is an acre of glacial streams, northern evergreens and crystal blue water.
Stingrays: Every time we go to an aquarium the kids ask “is there a touch tank?” They get so excited to pet any animal they can and are never scared. The stingrays in Mystic Aquarium’s touch tank were wonderful and so was the amazing woman teaching the kids about them. Even Tommy was able to touch the stingray. It was hard to get them to leave the tent.
Penguin Feeding: We got to see the penguin feeding while at the aquarium. It was really fun and educational for the kids. Maggie and Alex have brought up things they learned during the feeding many times since we’ve been home. It was really a neat experience!
Sea Lion Show: When you visit the Mystic Aquarium, the California Sea Lion Show is an absolute must. This was one of the best shows we have ever seen with the kids. It was cute, funny and really educational. The sea lions even came out to say hello. This was such a fun part of the day and even Tommy and Miles were entertained (2 and 1). Alex could not believe there was a “sea lion fashion show” and after the show, Maggie decided she is definitely becoming a sea lion trainer when she grows up.
Nearby Attractions: We went to the aquarium from opening (9am) to about 1pm. This included the Sea Lion show and a visit to the fun gift shop. The Old Mystic Village is in the adjacent parking lot and there are great places to eat, a coffee shop, ice cream and lots of great shops. If you drive about a mile down the road, you’ll find Mystic Seaport. More to come on the Mystic area!
Go Early! We tend to get to places early, mainly because when you are in a hotel room where everyone is up by 6am, you are ready to start the day right when attractions open. We got to the aquarium 10 minutes before it opened an got in line. We got parking right in the front (parking is free!). When we went in, it was wide open, the kids could run around and see all the sea animals. When we left (around 1) the line was really long to get in and the aquarium was getting much more crowded.
Two Ticket Tips:
1. You can buy a Mystic Pass Card which gives you entrance to the aquarium AND Mystic Seaport. By buying the pass you save about $10 per adult and for kids it’s actually cheaper to buy the pass to both than a ticket to just the aquarium. Excellent deal!
2. Your Mystic Aquarium ticket is good for 3 days: If you have your admission ticket validated before you leave the Aquarium, you can use it to return for the next two consecutive days!
Overall we had a wonderful time at the Mystic Aquarium. I would highly recommend a visit to the aquarium with kids!