Camden’s Adventure Aquarium Is Fun For Visitors Of All Ages
Our school district had an early dismissal last week, so my boys and I decided to take advantage of the free afternoon by visiting the Adventure Aquarium in Camden NJ. There are so many things to do and see at this New Jersey aquarium that, even though we have visited before, we decided that it was time for another trip. We only live a short distance away from the Camden waterfront, so we just hopped on the New Jersey Transit River Line train and we were there in a flash!
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First of all, let me just say that this was an awesome time of the day to visit the Adventure Aquarium. We arrived just as all the visiting New Jersey area school groups were leaving, so the aquarium was not crowded at all! If you have the flexibility in your schedule to arrive for your visit to the Adventure Aquarium in the early afternoon (i.e., your children are not in school yet, or – like us – you had a half day, or you’re visiting without kids), I highly recommend it!!
We began our trip to Adventure Aquarium in “Zone A”. Here we were able to come face to face with endangered Orinoco crocodiles in Crocodile River, and view the delicate and intriguing seahorses in the Shipwrecked exhibit. Next up was the awe-inspiring Ocean Realm. Ocean Realm is Adventure Aquarium’s largest underwater exhibits. My boys and I watched in amazement as enormous sea turtles, graceful stingrays and a diverse collection of rarely-exhibited sharks (including the only Great Hammerhead on exhibit in the US), glided through the water in front of us. We also saw a large variety of other fish in the Ocean Realm, including enormous Red and Black Drum, schools of Crevalle Jacks, and shark “companions” like Cobia and Remora. We spent quite a bit of time at this exhibit – it was just amazing. We felt as though we had been immersed in the underwater world of these amazing creatures.
After we peeled ourselves away from the Ocean Realm, we stopped at the Touch-A-Shark exhibit. My kids had a great time getting “hands-on” with the gentle sharks and “living dinosaurs” (horseshoe crabs)! By the way, one really nice feature of all of the touch tanks in Adventure Aquarium is that they are well-stocked with paper towels and hand sanitizer so you can get them dried off before they drip their soggy little arms all over you!
We wanted to be sure to see the hippo feeding at 2:30 pm, so after our trip though Zone A we made a little detour to “Zone D” and Hippo Haven. We were thrilled to see Genny and Button in action as these beautiful giants moved effortlessly through the water. As Genny and Button got their afternoon snack, one of the aquarium biologists filled us in on some interesting facts regarding hippos. One amazing fun fact that we learned on our visit was that hippos eat about 70,000 calories a day (the equivalent of about 115 Philly cheesesteaks)!!!
We resumed our aquarium adventure in “Zone B”. The highlights of this area were Stingray Beach Club – where we got to touch super-friendly sting rays – and Penguin Island. It was a warm, sunny early spring day and the penguins were out and about, waddling around and taking a dip in their “pool”. We had lots of fun watching these adorable little creatures! Zone B also includes an outdoor “Critter Courtyard” play area, a “Super Slide” (closed during our visit), and the 4-D Theater, where aquarium guests can take in a one-of-a-kind movie experience that combines 3D projection with unique special effects that’s fun for all ages. The movie during our visit was “Sea Monsters” – a journey back to prehistoric times to meet “Dinosaurs of the Deep”. We would have loved to have seen this film, but since we only had a half day for our visit we opted to see it next time.
“Zone C” is filled with fun play-and-learn stations for children 6 and under. My kids were too old for the Kid Zone, but there was still a lot for us to see here. We especially liked seeing turtles, many kinds of frogs (including one that my youngest son had just learned about in school that very morning!), a variety of starfish, and a tank full of clownfish (we found Nemo!).
We finished up our Adventure Aquarium day trip back in Zone D, where we visited with Genny and Button for a few more minutes and were delighted that one of the African Crested Porcupines (normally nocturnal) came out to say “hello”! Next up were jellyfish and a Giant Pacific Octopus. Finally, we ended up in the Shark Tunnel. This was an amazing exhibit that offers a 360° view of the many sharks, rays, sea turtles, and other fish that make their home in the Shark Realm. The awesome thing about making this our last stop of the day (just before the aquarium closed) is that we had the tunnel almost entirely to ourselves. We were able to lie down and watch as giant sharks, rays, and turtles glided right over us while we listened to relaxing music playing over the aquarium speakers – it was SO COOL!!!
Currently, the Adventure Aquarium is hosting a limited-time exhibit entitled “Dinosaurs of the Deep”, featuring life-sized replicas of prehistoric aquatic creatures, live programming and interactive educational stations, a “Touch A Living Dinosaur” station where guests can touch horseshoe crabs (a species that has roamed our planet for a half billion years), and new, live species on exhibit such as the chambered nautilus, deep sea isopods, and the Giant Pacific octopus.
The Adventure Aquarium is located on the beautiful Delaware River waterfront in Camden, New Jersey, at 1 Riverside Drive. This New Jersey aquarium is open for 10am to 5pm, 365 days a year. General admission is $25.95 for adults and $18.95 for children ages 2-12 (children under 2 are free). Additional charges apply for the 4D Theater Show and special, behind-the-scenes adventures. Parking is $10 ($5 for annual pass holders). The Adventure Aquarium is also conveniently accessible from New Jersey Transit’s River Line train with a stop just off of the end of the aquarium parking lot. For more information about this awesome New Jersey attraction, including directions and special things to do during your trip, visit the Adventure Aquarium online (www.adventureaquarium.com).
Other things to do in the Camden, New Jersey area:
- Battleship New Jersey
- Camden Children’s Garden