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700 Water Street
Denver, CO 80211
If you are looking for family friendly activities in Denver Colorado, I would certainly recommend The Downtown Aquarium. Since our family has grown over the year, we had to adjust our vacation plans. This year rather than travel across country with 3 young children we decided to stay in Colorado. One place that the grandchildren really wanted to go was to an aquarium. Since Spencer and I went to The Downtown Aquarium in Denver last year without planning ahead, we knew to plan better so we could experience more of the attraction. We wanted to make sure the kids had the best experience they could have there. We planned to arrive just before lunch so we could eat in the Aquarium Restaurant, feed the stingrays and hopefully catch the mermaids.
We arrived just in time to do everything we planned. We parked in the lot directly across the street, the cost of parking is $7. There is a variety of options available when you purchase your admission ticket. Here are the current prices:
Adults ages (12-64) $17.99
Seniors ages (65+) $16.99
Children ages (3-11) $11.99
Children (2 and Under) Free
4D Theater Value Ticket $5.95 and 4D Theater Single Ticket $6.95
Carousel Single Ticket (everyone riding must buy a ticket, so parents are accompanying children must also buy a ticket) $2.00
Aquarium Express Train Ticket, $2.00 (Children 1 year and Under, are Free)
Stingray Food $2.49
When purchasing tickets, I would recommend getting the regular admission with the 4D Value Ticket. When you purchase the value ticket, you get access to the both 4D movie experience plus two of the following items; Soda, face painting, coconut tree climb, and stingray food. However, we did not purchase the value tickets so we bought the stingray food separately. Here are some pictures of the stingray feeding area.
It was lunch time when we arrived at the aquarium so we immediately went to the restaurant. It was a little bit busy so it took about 15 minutes of wait time. The front reception staff wasn’t incredibly friendly. However the wait staff was very friendly and offered to take our picture at the table. The decor of the room was set up to make it appear as if you were in an exhibit in the aquarium. They had two giant fish tanks lining one of the walls so some of the tables were right at the glass. You could easily see inside the tanks and it gave it a very unique dining experience feel.
The food didn’t take long to arrive at our table and I thought the kid’s meals were extremely affordable for the amount of food they received.
Some of the prices were a little bit steep since some of the dishes were what would usually be found on an appetizer menu. My son however didn’t care for his sandwich because he thought the croissant didn’t exactly fit the ham and Swiss sandwich. The meat was on the grill too long and the bread was soggy. However, my husband loved his burger. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who is going to be spending the day at the aquarium. They also have a Summer Family Nights June 16th-August 7th, all of the kid’s meals are $2.99. It is available Monday-Thursday from 5PM to close. It is a wonderful dining option for families who look to eat dinner during those nights.
We entered the aquarium near the restaurant so it was a bit backwards, but it still worked out. The first area had the giant shark tank and there were places on the floor you could stand over and look into the water with. My oldest grandchild and youngest grandchild were afraid in this area because it was dark and loud. My middle grandchild however loved this area, he loves everything sharks so he was right at home. Once we were done looking at the sharks the mermaids had a meet and greet so the two previously afraid grandchildren were ready to go say Hi and it was their high point of the trip. Here are some pictures of them with the mermaids. We also fed the stingrays and saw the octopus in this area, when we were done with the meet and greet.
We continued down the exhibits and went through a tunnel which had a glass ceiling and glass walls, it was as if you had nothing between you and the fish. It was very exciting for the children to see.
The only downside of this tunnel was it was extremely busy and somewhat hard to get through, this is something to consider when you are with a person that is in a wheelchair.
After the tunnel, there were a few exhibits that had an area that raised up underneath so you could see the fish from eye level and it surrounded you. This was the high point for my middle grandson, he absolutely loved being able to see the fish all around him. My oldest grandson didn’t care for this area, it frightened him to see the fish swim so close.
The next exhibit was themed in a jungle type fashion they had an area that you could touch the different fish and sea creatures it was however closed when we were there. They also had a tiger exhibit which was the main focal point of this area. My son loved being able to see the tiger since he is a huge fan of tigers. They also had a bridge which you could walk across it was an interactive experience for children. Here is a picture of the grandchildren on the bridge.
In one area of the aquarium, there was a flash flood exhibit(I would be careful with children in this exhibit since it is very dark and extremely loud which can frighten them) we skipped this area since nobody wanted to do it. The final exhibit was after that and it included some otters and various birds, as well as different fish. The otters were sleeping when we walked through the exhibit so it wasn’t the most exciting since that was the only thing in the exhibit the children cared about. At the end of the aquarium, we arrived in an area that had a bunch of interactive tools and walls for people for all ages. The exhibit talked about the different fish and sea creatures at the aquarium. There was also a deep sea diver suit that you can put your face in and take pictures. Next to the diver suit was a giant set of Shark teeth that my middle grandson loved of course.
Overall I would really recommend this Aquarium for families looking to spend quality time at a very fun and exciting activity in Denver, Colorado. The price is a little bit much since the aquarium is small, however for my grandchildren it was absolutely fantastic and well worth the money. To learn more about The Downtown Aquarium please visit the website and connect via Facebook and Twitter.