Today’s Mom Approved Adventure takes us to he neighboring state of Louisiana where we spent Spring Break exploring the aquatic adventures of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas!
This past Spring we decided to head to the Bayou State to visit my family. With most of my 11 siblings and their families spread between Baton Rouge and the Louisiana/Mississippi border, we had plenty of places to explore and one of our favorites was the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas!
After celebrating my dad’s birthday all day on that Saturday, my brother M and his family squeezed my dad, Jamie and me in their van and headed to New Orleans.
We have been to several aquariums and the serene feel of them is my favorite part. Jamie loves to look at all the creates and learn about their environment and fun facts that he can quiz us with later.
When we first arrived we were able to learn a little bit more about all the different areas and animals. My brother was a new member at the time, so we all got to explore it together. Front the start the kids were excited. I mean, it’s not often you get to take a photo with a giant Mayan head sculpture, right? The Great Maya Reef Exhibit featured a 30-foot-long tunnel into a submerged Maya city of mysterious ruins, surrounded by exotic sea creatures such as lion fish, yellowtail snapper, moray eels, spiny lobsters and more.
I have always loved walking through the tunnels where you can see the aquatic life all around, and this Aquarium also had the clear plate on the floor where you can look and see the fish and animals swimming beneath your feet. I love feeling like you are “in the water” without actually being in water.
Another “WOW” find was the green moray eel in the Deep Grotto Exhibit. I wonder if it was a mom, because I’ve been that tired before!
The website boasts that, “The colors of a Caribbean reef come alive in our walk-through tunnel, while our penguins and Southern sea otter enchant you with their antics.” I have to agree with all of that and then some. The colors of the fish, corral and other elements really made them eye-catching which is exactly what kids need to keep them interested. Both my son and older niece loved reading the information cards and spouting off information as if they were Marine Biologists giving tours.
There was a lot of things to see as we looked at exotic underwater worlds from Caribbean to the Amazon Rain forest, and those underwater worlds closer to home such as The Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River (which is what the Aquarium backed up to as well, so that was neat to put it in perspective for the kids.)
We saw feedings for penguins and sea otters, but the shark feeding was the favorite for the kids. They got to be “up close and personal” yet still safe enough that the moms didn’t panic.
The sharks were located in the Aquarium’s Gulf of Mexico Exhibit, so the kids got to learn about the aquatic animals that thrive around its barnacled pilings. Its important for our kids to understand the impact that people have on wildlife whether its in the water, in the air or on land, and this was a great way to help them visualize what we care for when we make smart choices and with Paw Paw working offshore, its only a matter of time before they start asking him if he’s seen sharks!
The Jelly Gallery at the Aquarium allowed the kids to explore the beauty of jellyfish from a safe place, especially since they learned about jelleyfish stings the hard way at a beach last summer. I think we were all happy to have glass between us and the jellies!
The kids also enjoyed the Frogs! at the Aquarium Exhibit which features milk frogs, poison dart frogs and other favorite amphibians, though I probably would have been o.k. skipping that one!
The favorite part was a toss up, touching the stingrays was definitely great, but having a small play area where the kids could burn some energy after lunch was something everyone loved!
There was a Mississippi River area that highlighted many of the river’s inhabitants, and an owls who scared me because I didn’t realize he was real until he turned and looked at me.
At Parakeet Pointe we got to see a variety of colorful birds and flowers, though the feeding and some sections were closed when we first arrived. We still got to see plenty of Parakeets. In the end, we spent about 5 hours at the Aquarium and could have stayed much longer. We will certainly be back to see what other interesting aquatic adventures we can find.
Price ranges for Audubon Aquarium of America’s (at the time of posting):
- General Admission Adult $29.95 (at the gate), $25.95 (online, plus tax and fee)
- General Admission Child (ages 2-12) $21.95 (at the gate), $17.95 (online, plus tax and fee)
- General Admission Senior (65+) $24.95 (at the gate), $20.95 (online, plus tax and fee)
Bonus Points for Mom:
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas has onsite restaurants and souvenir shop
- Interactive shows and feeding viewings are great way to get a chance to rest and still be entertaining
- Onsite play area also offers a chance for kids to burn off energy
- Hands-on and interactive activities allow kids to connect with nature
Additional photos from our trip …