So far this month we've gone on two home school field trips. We hadn't done much this year with the new baby and only me at the helm so it's a nice change to get out and explore. Plus it being Swaptember (where we can get in free to other local places with our Lowry Park Zoo membership) it added a little bonus to get out and do stuff.
Last week we ventured over to the Florida Aquarium. If you happen to take this trip be prepared to ante up $6 for parking. This is the only place I know of, besides the major theme parks, that requires pay for parking. Though it is set right on the water; pretty prime real estate. Regular admission is about $20 an adult, a little less per kid. We've been here a few times and each time we've been able to see the whole thing in about 2-3 hours. Watching fish is like waiting for the grass to grow for my energetic bunch. So they're usually bounding from one exhibit to the next. If you have more mellow kids, this might be a great place for you to go regularly.
One thing that was disappointing was the splash zone was closed for practically the entire month of September, seems quite a coincidence it's maintenance scheduled for the same month a lot of people get in free...
We did manage to catch the penguin show which is pretty cute. Though it's hard for the little ones to be sooo achingly close to those black and white flappers and cull their tiny hands from trying to sneak a pat. The large viewing room basically gets some red mats laid out and the kids are told not to touch the red which the penguins make a run for it. The handlers are really well mannered, probably realizing a long time ago they needed lots of patience for this kinda lousy set up, and they answered the kids questions with enthusiasm.
After we ventured around for a few hours we grabbed some lunch, though if it were any more expensive I'd have had to take out a small personal loan. Two kids meals and a sandwich set me back over $20. Oh, and the lovely fountain coke is NOT refillable for free, so if you're thirsty be prepared to chock up $2 each time. They don't allow outside food or drink in either which is posted at numerous intervals on your way in.
Channelside might be a nice place to grab a bite but don't go looking for anything cheap. If you're making a day out of it you could hop a ride on the Tampa Streetcar or tour the SS American Victory, All are within walking distance of the Aquarium.
Overall, the Aquarium isn't quite our cuppa tea but it's a nice distraction once in a while. It's air conditioned and wet when the splash zone's up which are both welcome breaks in the Florida heat.