SEA LIFE Aquarium / See stingrays, sharks and even more fish at Grapevine Mills during the holidays

Elizabeth Smith
Courtesy of SEA LIFE Aquarium Grapevine
March 7, 2014
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SEA LIFE Aquarium Grapevine
3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy.
Grapevine Mills, Grapevine
Hours: 10am–9:30pm Mon–Sat; 11am–7pm Sun. Last admission is two hours before close. Open every day, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Admission: $20 adults; $16 children ages 3–12
Parking: Free

The coming winter season may send you to the living room fireplace to hibernate over a cup of cocoa, but instead of retreating into the dead of winter, take off your coat and explore the tropics by way of SEA LIFE Aquarium Grapevine. Yearround the aquarium teems with life with more than 5,000 sea creatures including black tip reef sharks, eels, jellyfish, seahorses, clownfish (yes, Nemo) and stingrays.
Still a recent addition to the city since its July 2011 opening, the aquarium packs a punch into its seemingly small corner at Grapevine Mills with 30 display tanks and plenty of space for the kids to roam, climb and peer into the clear water.
Want to touch a starfish or a crab? Submerge your hand into the cool water of the Interactive Rockpool, and pet the creatures with the help of a staff member. For a 360-degree view of the aquarium’s biggest tank at 145,000 gallons, step through the glass ocean tunnel. You’ll see a plethora of sea creatures swimming peacefully together including sharks and SEA LIFE’s most recently rehabilitated animal, Hope, a sea turtle from Florida.
Stingray Bay is a prime spot for unobstructed ray watching. The stingrays glide in circles around the disc-shaped tank, and their fins flap up and down like a roller coaster. Check them out from any angle; trace the perimeter of the tank, climb up onto the deck for a view down into the open top tank; or bend into the tunnel and stick your head “inside” the attraction through the “bubble windows.” The child’s play continues at the aquarium’s submarine-themed play zone on dry land. Kids can crawl through tunnels and pop up through more portholes on an area with soft flooring.
The aquarium is always outfitted with kids’ activities such as the scavenger hunt or quiz cards. Find the answers generously peppered on the walls and inside interactive stands. Then turn in your completed card to the retail store for a golden medal. Beware: your kid may latch onto one particularly interesting factoid and repeat it for the next month. (Think Jerry Maguire’s “the human head weighs eight pounds” line.) For those interested in a particular breed of exotic sea life, check out the animal talks or feedings schedule, which staff hosts at Dinosaur Dive, Seahorse Temple and more locations throughout the aquarium about every hour or half-hour daily. A visit to the aquarium may quell your child’s appeal for a miniature aquarium at home or, just as easily, send your family to the pet shop for a goldfish. It’s easy to get caught in the swim of things.

Three More Things

On select days in December (including Christmas Day), see a scuba diving Santa in the Dinosaur Dive and learn whether he thinks you’ve been naughty or nice.
Stop by the Octopus Garden, featuring a giant Pacific octopus (if you can find him camouflaged in his tank) and a few cuttlefish. The traveling exhibit is headed out on January 7.
Choose from the kids’ menu at Rainforest Cafe, and watch its animatronic gorillas, elephants and tigers go wild in a thunder and lightning storm several times an hour.


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