Did you know that you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than a shark? Did you know that, the deeper you get in the ocean, the more things lose their color, so red and yellow fish begin to look blue? Did you also know that Kansas City has opened a great new aquarium at Crown Center?
My family had the opportunity to visit Sea Life Kansas City not long after it opened. Yes, that Sea Life. The one with 38 locations worldwide (see if one is near you at http://www.visitsealife.com).
Oh. My. Gosh. This place is awesome.
But seriously. Let me rewind and take you to the beginning of our visit.
When we first arrived at Sea Life, which is located in the Halls building at Crown Center, we were greeted by this cheery shark!
From there, we went inside, purchased our tickets, and, well, entered the aquarium. The mood is almost instantly set when you first set your eyes upon the incredible shoaling tank… it has beautiful fish nearly surrounding you in a round room… Shoaling fish like to swim together, and every few minutes, the fish in the tank change the direction they swim in (since it’s not a true circular path, they instinctively change direction due to the shift in current their turns back and forth make). From there, a door opens, and you enter the marvelous aquarium.
There are so many different kinds of fish to see. Even the youngest in our family, Mr. Zachary, was impressed by the huge tanks and beautiful fish. And of course, some of us couldn’t resist the urge to make fish faces at the fish… because, well, they’re fish, and that’s the face they make.
As you navigate your way through the self-paced tour, there are plenty of things to see. From facts dotting the walls and great quizzes to test your aquatic knowledge, to various tanks and types of sea life, no one is going to be bored. We had an 8 month old, a 51 year old, and several ages in between, and we all were entertained by the various exhibits in the aquarium.
One of our favorite places in the aquarium was the touch pool. They had this weird type of sea life that would actually hug your finger if you touched it! It felt so crazy! One of the great things about their touch pool is that they have someone keeping an eye on it. Every once in awhile, she would switch the covers from one side to the other, so the same set of animals weren’t constantly being touched. This limited the stress that they were under, and they chose the perfect animals for the touch tank that would experience less stress anyway.
The boys loved that they had several domes that actually allowed you to crawl up under the tank, putting you in the center of the action and giving you a chance to look at the fish as though you were a part of that world.
The weirdest creature we encountered, though, were the garden eels. You can look at the tank and see nothing… and then all of a sudden, these long, thin objects just shoot out of the sand, as though they’re literally sprouting up like flowers! They were weird, and a bit too snake-like for my comfort, but they were incredible creatures and the way they sprouted up like that was both creepy and cool all at once. They would move so fast that I couldn’t get the best picture of them, but below, in the red boxes I added, you can kind of see what they look like.
Despite the fact that I’ve been stung on three separate occasions, I must admit that my absolute favorite part of the aquarium was the jellyfish section. It was truly mesmerizing. I swear, I could have spent an entire day there (and trust me, I did spend a good 20 minutes just staring into the tank. I’m not exaggerating… our entire family was in awe). It’s crazy to think that God created such an incredible, but dangerous, creature. It’s beauty is just alluring, and intensely lovely.
Even Zach was mesmerized by the lovely creatures!
We spent several hours inside of the aquarium, visiting each tank, some of them two or three times. We explored every nook and cranny, looked at as many fish as we could, and definitely got our money’s worth.
Plus, because there were so many facts and quizzes throughout the aquarium, it was easily one of the most educational spots in all of Kansas City. It’s a great place to go on a field trip to! If that weren’t enough, Sea Life is dedicated to preserving sea life around the globe. Because of this, they have many great places where you can find out what you can do to help the sea life, especially those in danger of extinction. There is a huge play area near the end of the exhibit, several crawl spaces that allowed you to get up close and personal with the sea life, and even a few places where you could walk over plexiglass above the tanks and look down onto the sea life.
If the Sea Life weren’t enough reason to make the trip up to Crown Center, here’s a sneak peek about the newest attraction at the Halls Building!
Yes, you guessed it… LegoLand opened this last weekend! We haven’t gotten to make the trip up to see it yet, but you better believe we’ll be heading up there soon so I can get all the details for you lovely readers.
Of course, you can’t hit Crown Center without visiting three of my very favorite places up there!
If you haven’t been to Fritz’s, it’s a must. It’s been in the Kansas City area for years, and it’s such a fun and quirky place to go. You place your order by telephone, and, minutes later, the food is delivered to your table by train! Yes, you read that right… a track winds around the ceiling of the restaurant, and when your order is set to arrive, a little lever drops, so the train drops it’s cargo off right at your stop. Then, a tray lowers the basket containing your table’s meal onto your table… yummy! Also, 12 year olds and under get to wear that stinkin’ adorable paper conductor hat. Cute!
If you’re a newer reader, you may also be unaware of my absolute obsession with Chip’s Chocolate Factory. It’s easily my favorite place to stop in at Crown Center (but of course, I’m a chocoholic). Chip’s Chocolate Factory has been around longer than I have (it opened it’s doors in ’83!) and it has been slinging the best fudge in Kansas City since then. It was even featured on Food Network’s show “Kid In a Candy Store.” If the chocolate factory weren’t enough to satisfy your sweet toothed desires, Chip’s has now opened Chip’s Candy Factory, on the first floor of Crown Center. You can LITERALLY be a kid in a candy store when you enter the shop, with hundreds of different kinds of candy from M&Ms in colors you can only dream of, to a huge selection of Jelly Belly jellybeans, tons of taffy, and of course, our family favorite… CRICKETS! (Yes, real, food-grade, salt and vinegar crickets).
So what are you waiting for? Get your butts down to Crown Center (or, if you’re not in the Kansas City area, see if there’s a Sea Life location near you!)