Kelly Tarltons Sea Life Aquarium is hidden well in the surrounding trees along Okahu Bay and only 6 kilometers from Auckland City Center. The set-up of the facility underground was unique to other SeaLife Aquariums I have experienced. The entrance leads to a long ramp guiding visitors to the admissions office underground.
Once you purchase tickets, you head straight into their Antarctic Ice Adventure set-up. Explore interactive displays and view equipment used to battle the cold temperatures of the arctic. Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut takes you back 100 years to get a sense of what it was like to live in these cold climates during this time frame.
The staff has a photographer set-up to snap group pictures for purchase in gift shop. The entry bridge shakes as you cross it giving me a seasick feeling as we entered the venue highlight… penguins!
Kelly Tarlton’s SeaLife features the World’s largest Antarctic and Sub Antarctic Penguin colony and continues to flourish due to their successful breeding program. The King Penguins are the largest I have seen in person. They were not shy about coming straight up to the glass for up-close viewing. The ultra fast swimming Gentoo Penguins were diving in and out of the water.
They had a play area and café in the middle of the aquarium with water views. The Sky Tower is in the distance along with hundreds of sail boats in the bay.
The next area had a moving walkway circling under several tanks filled with sharks, sting rays, turtles, fish, etc. The walkway was continuous and you could easily ride the loop more than once to see everything.
Aubrey found her octopus! For whatever reason this is the sea creature she requests to see at every aquarium. She told me that the octopus was mad at me for taking a picture. I did not use a flash I promise!
One last exhibit that took me by surprise… the giant squid. It looks more like the alien from the “Independence Day” movies if you ask me.
Finally, we emerged from the underground area to find the view outside the aquarium is pretty spectacular.