Don’t let the mall setting fool you, Sea Life Aquarium at Grapevine Mills Mall is a terrific learning environment with plenty of kid friendly, interactive features for an educational and fun day! With over 5,000 live animals, including several different varieties of shark, sea turtles, eels, rays and my favorite, the guitarfish, Sea Life offers it’s guest a terrific glimpse of life in the ocean! As a global company, Sea Life has aquariums around the world, and does extensive work with sea animal rescue and rehabilitation. By utilizing the large mall crowds, they can better reach more people with their message of conservation for all creatures of the sea.
Check out My Mommy Tips for making the most of your visit!
1. Before You Go
There are far fewer people at the aquarium later in the day. We toured the aquarium in the morning, and again starting at 5pm, and in the evening we almost had the place to ourselves!
Sea Life allows you to get your hand stamped for return visits all day, which meant we could split up our time at the aquarium with a walk through the mall, lunch, Legoland or even a movie at the AMC 30 with Dine-In Theatres.
Purchasing your ticket online allows you to skip the longer line at arrival, and you receive a discounted price from that at walk up.
Click HERE for a coupon for a FREE child’s ticket with a regular priced Adult ticket.
Bring in 20 plastic grocery bags to be recycled by the Sea Life Green Team, and receive 10% off a regularly priced walk up ticket.
Toddler Tuesday is the first Tuesday of every month. Tickets are just $14 for one adult and two toddlers up to 4 years of age. Each additional child ages 3-12 are only $5. This is a walk up offer only.
2. Kid Quiz Trail
The Kid Quiz Trail is a series of questions, one in almost every room, that encourages kids to read about the animal or habitat in that room. Once the quiz is complete, the child can receive a prize in the gift shop.
I thought we would just answer the questions as we went room to room, but my kids wanted to hurry through the exhibits, just to find the quizzes. We went ahead and did the Quiz Trail first, got their prize, and then went back and spent time in each room. As it turned out, we did a lot of backtracking for the Feed & Talk times, anyway.
3. Feed & Talk Times
The daily Feed & Talk Times are listed in each room, so you can plan your visit. Scheduled every 30 minutes, if you attend all 4, you will have spent at least 2 hours at the aquarium. I was surprised at how knowledgeable the staff was, and many were college students studying for a career in marine biology.
During the Ocean Tank Feed, a diver goes into the largest tank, part of the Underwater Tunnel and Dinosaur Dive. Watch as they feed the aquarium’s biggest sharks and sea turtle! The Ocean Tank Feed is only offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2pm.
4. Stingray Bay
Stingray Bay houses stingrays, a guitarfish, a huge grouper and sharks, and was probably the most enjoyable place to just sit and watch the fish as they swam around and interacted with one another.
You can also view from the top of the platform, with a plexiglass window that looks down into the tank. For younger guest, the Kid’s Cave is a tunnel that runs underneath, with viewing windows there, as well.
5. Turtle Rescue Center
The Turtle Rescue Center is home to Eddie, an injured Green Sea Turtle and Squirt, a rehabilitating Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Due to an air bubble under their shell, neither turtle will be able to be released back into the ocean.
You will feel like you are walking under the sea, in an old shipwreck, filled with fish, huge eels and much more! The highlight was some tiny Epaulette shark babies, and eggs which should hatch in Dec. 2014! With the help of a small light being shown behind it, we were able to see the shark embryo moving around inside the egg! It was fascinating!!
7. The 360 degree Underwater Tunnel
Imagine standing in a tunnel of water, surrounded on the top, sides and below you! This is the largest of the tanks, and it’s filled with the biggest animals, sharks, rays and a sea turtle!
8. Jellyfish Discovery
Watch and learn about the amazing jellyfish in a room with ever changing lights. The jellyfish’s translucent body make the jellyfish seem to glow!
9. Clownfish Cave
“If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish” ~ Marlin (Finding Nemo)
We actually FOUND NEMO during our visit to Clownfish Cave! One of the little clownfish jumped out of the tank right in front of us. He was quickly put back in the water by one of the aquarium staff, and it gave us all a good laugh!
10. Shark Mission and Shark Walk
Test your speed and reflexes at Shark Mission, which offers fun and interactive video games for kids, and adults! Then walk above the Dinosaur Dive tank on the Shark Walk!
11. Seahorse Temple and Freshwater Swamp
Sea Life is much more than just a mall attraction, doing research and conservation work around the globe.
Their successful seahorse breeding program helps to not only assure that their tanks never use wild caught seahorses, and they provide seahorses to other institutions, as well.
The seahorse feeding is amazing, as these voracious little animals consume huge amounts of brine shrimp! Keep a close eye on the tanks for baby seahorses, which unlike any other animal, are born to the father!
The Freshwater Swamp showcases animals found in Texas along rivers, lakes and wetlands.
12. Rockpools/Touch a Creature
The last room at Sea Life features two rockpools, where you can touch starfish, crabs, sea urchins, shark pups and more! A timed “wave” releases water, simulating life waves along the shore.
13. Submarine Play Zone
Be sure to bring socks for the Submarine Play Zone, a play structure for younger children.
The theater has a short about ocean animal conservation efforts. During the week, the theater is often booked from 10am – 2pm for school field trips.
14. Birthday Parties
A glimpse of the party room at SeaLife. For more information on their birthday parties, please click HEREto visit their website.
15. Behind the Scene Tour
Learn more about the animals at Sea Life with a Behind the Scenes Tour. See the laboratory, health care and food prep areas. Available on weekends, the tours are every 30 minutes, but some times fill quickly. You can book online, click HERE to visit the website for more information.
16. Gift Shop
The very last stop on the tour is the Gift Shop!
Be sure and get your hand stamped for re-entry!
17. Nearby Attractions
Grapevine Mills Mall offers a large food court, and there are many good restaurants in the area around the mall and in Grapevine, but my kids insist on the Rainforest Cafe in the mall, still one of their favorites!
Legoland is located directly across from Sea Life Aquarium in the mall. You can purchase combo tickets for both attractions.
Grapevine Mills AMC 30 with Dine In Theater is also located at Grapevine Mills. Click HERE to visit their website.
Bass Pro Shops is located just down the street from Grapevine Mills.
Enjoy the beauty of Lake Grapevine at Oak Grove Park, with bike trails, playgrounds and FREE fireworks every Friday night during the summer. Click HERE for more information.