We were recently invited to check out the fin-tastic Summer of Sharks event series at SEA LIFE Aquarium. We had been there once before in 2018, and the girls loved it. All three have always been fascinated with sea life and will jump at the chance to visit any aquarium. They were even more excited when I told them we would be going on the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind-the-scenes tour this time.
We got there as soon as they opened the front doors and made our way through the aquarium, which appears to be small on the outside but is quite large on the inside. We stopped at every tank and admired the marine life. My youngest was most excited about the sharks and seemed to be in a hurry to get to them, yet still took the time to say hi to each turtle, fish, jellyfish, stingray, and seahorse she crossed paths with.
SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour
You’ll find the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes check-in about mid-way through the aquarium. It took us only 30-45 minutes to reach that point, stopping regularly.
We had never been on the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour, so we didn’t know what to expect. According to the SEA Life Aquarium website:
The SEA LIFE Aquarium Behind the Scenes Tour is a 30-minute experience where you’ll get to see a day in the life of an aquarist and learn all about how we care for our sea creatures!
WHAT YOU’LL SEE AND DO
- Learn about the Florida Reef Tract Rescue Project and see our rescued corals
- Find out how we replicate the ocean in our tanks to keep our sea creatures healthy and happy.
- See what our creatures eat and how we prepare underwater meals
- Learn about our breeding efforts, and you might just get a peek at some baby sea creatures
- Get a preview of our newly acquired sea creatures that are not ready for display yet
- Learn how we keep our sea creatures healthy (they get checkups too!)
- Get a birds-eye-view of our ocean tanks by walking above the surface at our Ocean Overlook.
- Put your knowledge to the test by helping our fish experts with feeding time!
We were greeted by our SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour guide, Kate. She welcomed one other family and us and was incredibly knowledgeable. She got the kids involved by asking many questions and keeping the information on a level that the smallest ones could understand. She was energetic and made our entire SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour experience great. We could tell that she loves her job and is proud to be a part of the SEA LIFE Aquarium team.
Just as their website states, we were brought into the back area to explain how they feed and care for the fish. We got to see the area where sick or injured fish recover and the lab area where they run tests. Kate explained how they make ocean water and all the necessary machines to ensure they never lose power. We learned facts about sharks that I had never heard of and were able to feel real shark eggs (that was pretty cool).
Next, we were brought upstairs, above the tanks, to feed the fish. I’m pretty sure that was the highlight for the kids.
Finally, Kate brought us back downstairs, where everyone was allowed to choose one shark tooth to take home with them as a souvenir. She was nice enough to answer questions about our oldest daughter’s plans to work with marine life in the next few years.
We recommend paying for the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour. It’s educational and fun and worth the added cost!
Once the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour was over, we walked around the aquarium one last time. I took as many pictures as I possibly could because, well, that’s what I do. I had to share some of my favorites with you.
Quite possibly, my favorite part of SEA LIFE Aquarium is the sting rays. I’m obsessed with them. They look like they have little smiley faces on their chest area, and I can’t get enough of them. I must have spent at least an hour waiting for them to swim by so I could take as many photos as possible.
I got a few really fun shots this time. We couldn’t choose our favorite, so I’ll share them with you.
One thing you shouldn’t miss while there is the Coastal Rockpool, where you can touch real sea creatures! Rockpools are amazing micro-habitats full of incredible creatures! This fun and interactive area is at the aquarium’s end, just before you walk out and into the gift shop.
Falynn loved petting the starfish and anemone. She made the rounds twice before we were allowed to leave.
Finally, don’t forget to pick up the scavenger hunt brochure! Your little one will want to collect the stamps for each section you visit. Once you are finished, you’ll exit through the gift shop and hand that paper to the cashier, who will present you with an amazing gift.
Falynn was ecstatic when she received this shark necklace in honor of the shark exhibit. She also purchased a stuffed shark to add to her collection.
If SEA LIFE Aquarium looks like a good option for your next trip to Orlando, FL, you can check pricing and availability here:
Have you been to the SEA LIFE Aquarium behind the scenes tour? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you and/or your family would enjoy it? If you have any questions for us about our experience, comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.