Our sweet daughter Mila turned three years old in early January! To celebrate Mila’s 3rd birthday we visited the Denver Aquarium, the Downtown Aquarium. We went the day after her actual birthday on a Saturday in the late afternoon.
It is incredible how time flies and to think of all of the wonderful memories and joyous moments that have happened because of this little girl joining our lives. I love being a mama to her and she has been an absolute blessing. No doubt there have been challenges but I am so proud of my little girl growing up and who she is becoming. She is so sweet, clever, fun, smart and silly.
Mila really wanted to see the fish and sharks at the Denver Aquarium. She really wanted to see Manatees and even had me call and ask if they had any, lol. Of course they didn’t have any because they are endangered. My husband and I visited the aquarium years ago in our early 20s so it had been quite some time since our last visit. It was exciting to visit again but this time with our children!
Visiting the Denver Aquarium
Our visit to the Denver Aquarium was a lot of fun. It was so cool to see all of the colorful tropical fish. I really enjoyed photographing them too. Mila had a great time! It was the perfect outing for a January Winter afternoon with family.
The aquarium was kind of busy when we got there. The exhibit areas were small at times and sometimes we found ourselves waiting for others to leave so we could look at the different exhibits. They had lots of exhibits including the North America exhibit with fresh water fish and the Under the Sea exhibit with saltwater fish. I liked all of the variety of sea creatures found here. Mermaids are part of one of the exhibits though no shows were available when we went. I honestly feel that swimming mermaids seems like it would cheapen the experience of visiting the aquarium, but maybe not?
Thomas wore Mackenzie in our baby carrier. We used this for hiking when Mila was a baby and it worked perfectly for our day at the aquarium. I was able to take photos while Thomas carried her. Mackenzie loved the aquarium. We also brought our stroller in case Mila got tired walking, but we honestly didn’t even use it.
I recommend not bringing a stroller if possible. It got to be cumbersome maneuvering the stroller around with lots of people. Wear a baby carrier if you can. However it is doable if you decide to bring a stroller.
Here is a map of the layout and exhibits so you can get a feel for the Downtown Denver aquarium before you arrive if you plan to go. I do recommend visiting as there is a lot of beautiful fish and animals to see. There are also bathrooms with changing pads, a snack area at the end, a giftshop and even a restraunt.
North American Wilderness Exhibit
There was a lot of fresh water fish in the North America exhibit, including Rainbow trout. Additionally there was some snapping turtles which were fun to see. The atomosphere was really cool. The ceilings were intricatley painted with murals of trees and clouds in the sky which really brought the scene alive.
In the Desert exhibit
This area had tarantulas and bearded dragons among other desert animals.
Warning: Between the Desert Exhibit and the Under the Sea exhibit there is a Flash flood warning section that simulates a flood. The sound of the water rushing down was scary for Mila at age three so it might be scary for your toddlers. We quickly walked through this area.
Under the Sea exhibit
This exhibit was one of my favorite. It featured coral reefs and salt water fish and creatures. The Green Moray Eel was really interesting to see, sea horses, and all of the salt water fish. It reminded me of our last day in Hawaii and swimming and snorkeling in this cove area by rocks and seeing the Pacific blue tang fish (the fish that is Dory in Finding Dory).
At the Wharf exhibit
This exhibit featured fish and creatures that adapted to living with the changing tides. I loved seeing the Starfish and other interesting fish like the Lumpfish.
The Rainforest exhibit
Tropical fish and the Sumatran Tigers were located in this exhibit along with Pirana and Arowana fish. There are three tigers that live here but we only saw one that day. Different types of tropical forests were simulated. Additionally I enjoyed seeing all of the tropical plants particularly the abudance of Monstera plants.
It was amazing to see the beautiful Sumatran Tiger but I also don’t believe it belonged at the Downtown Aquarium. I am not a fan of zoos because everytime I visit the animals look so sad and depressed. Animals don’t belong in a zoo but rather the wild where they can be free and live a natural life. They shouldn’t be caged and looked at all day by visitors for a profit. While cool to see in real life, I think the Aquarium could be without these tigers.
Coral Lagoon exhibit
This area had amazing corals and saltwater fish and creatures that live in lagoons near shorelines and mangroves.
Sunken Temple exhibit
This area featured exotic fish like the Lionfish, Baracuda and others.
The edge of the coral reef is simulated in this exhibit and it was my favorite exihibit. This is also the area where you can see sharks such as the Brown Shark. It was awesome to view the coral reefs along with all of the vibrant colorful and unique saltwater fish that live in them. Mila enjoyed seeing all of the fish and especially loved seeing the shark.
At the Beach exhibit
This exhibit featured animals that hide and live on the rocky sea bottoms. The Mermaid shows are found here too.
Overall, we had fun visiting the Downtown Aquarium in Denver because all of the exhibits were pretty amazing. I think this is a place we will visit every couple of years and not that often since you run through all of the exhibits pretty quickly, but we will certainly be back to enjoy all of the fish and aquatic life. Unfortunately the sea otters were sleeping during our visit so I look forward to seeing them active the next time we visit.
After our time at the Denver Aquarium we all went out to dinner at a restaurant in Denver. We had to drive around to a few different restaurants since they were all packed on a Saturday night with long waiting times but we had fun and Mila was happy we sang Happy Birthday to her, she got her desert, she went to the aquarium and saw sharks and most of all she got to spend time with her grandparents. 🙂
Have you ever been to the Downtown Aquarium in Denver? What did you think of it? I love seeing animals you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see unless you lived near the ocean and bodies of water where they live. Have a great week!