Don’t let the mall setting fool you, Sea Life Aquarium at Grapevine Mills Mall is a terrific learning environment with plenty of kid friendly, interactive features for an educational and fun day! With over 5,000 live animals, including several different varieties of shark, sea turtles, eels, rays and my favorite, the guitarfish, Sea Life offers it’s guest a terrific glimpse of life in the ocean! As a global company, Sea Life has aquariums around the world, and does extensive work with sea animal rescue and rehabilitation. By utilizing the large mall crowds, they can better reach more people with their message of conservation for all creatures of the sea.
Check out My Mommy Tips for making the most of your visit!
Know Before You Go
There are far fewer people at the aquarium later in the day. We toured the aquarium in the morning, and again starting at 5pm, and in the evening we almost had the place to ourselves!
Sea Life allows you to get your hand stamped for return visits all day, which meant we could split up our time at the aquarium with a walk through the mall, lunch, Legoland or even a movie at the AMC 30 with Dine-In Theatres.
Purchasing your ticket online allows you to skip the longer line at arrival, and you receive a discounted price from that at walk up.
Test your knowledge in the Kids Quiz Trail.
Feed & Talk Times
The daily Feed & Talk Times are listed in each room, so you can plan your visit. Scheduled every 30 minutes, if you attend all 4, you will have spent at least 2 hours at the aquarium. I was surprised at how knowledgeable the staff was, and many were college students studying for a career in marine biology.
During the Ocean Tank Feed, a diver goes into the largest tank, part of the Underwater Tunnel and Dinosaur Dive. Watch as they feed the aquarium’s biggest sharks and sea turtle! The Ocean Tank Feed is only offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2pm.
Stingray Bay houses stingrays, including Ranger a Southern Stingray who is very friendly and loves to come and try to splash guest! Ranger is still young, but will grow to be about 500 lbs! A tip from the tour guide, the rays are much more active and fun to watch in the afternoon/evening! Stingray Bay is our favorite place to just sit and watch the fish as they swam around and interacted with one another.
The rays share their space with a Port Jackson Shark and Petrie the moray eel.
You can also view from the top of the platform, with a plexiglass window that looks down into the tank. For younger guest, the Kid’s Cave is a tunnel that runs underneath, with viewing windows there, as well.
Experience some of the world’s crabbiest creatures this Earth Day, April 22 with the opening of Claws!
The Claws exhibit will host different crustaceans from around the world including mighty coconut crabs, which can open a coconut with their crazy-strong claws, and cute porcupine crabs, as well as lively land crabs and even a lobster. The exhibit will also feature Fickle, a Japanese spider crab, the largest arthropod in the world, with legs that can reach 12-feet across when fully grown.
Many of the tanks have underwater viewing stations where kids can climb down and almost be under the water!
Carmen the octopus is our favorite creature in Shipwrecked, who will come to greet you at the glass, and if you watch long enough, you may just see her squeeze her large self into her very tiny little hamster ball!
The 360 degree Underwater Tunnel
Imagine standing in a tunnel of water, surrounded on the top, sides and below you! This is the largest of the tanks, and it’s filled with the biggest animals, sharks, rays and even 2 injured sea turtles, Boomerang and Eddie. Look for Boomerang near the top of the tank, due to an injury she sustained near Padre Island which prevents her from diving. (Another tip, the Behind the Scenes tour takes you to the top of the tank, where you can easily see her!)
Watch and learn about the amazing jellyfish in a room with ever changing lights. The jellyfish’s translucent body make the jellyfish seem to glow!
“If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish” ~ Marlin (Finding Nemo)
We actually FOUND NEMO during our visit to Clownfish Cave! One of the little clownfish jumped out of the tank right in front of us. He was quickly put back in the water by one of the aquarium staff, and it gave us all a good laugh!
Shark Mission and Shark Walk
Test your speed and reflexes at Shark Mission, which offers fun and interactive video games for kids, and adults! Then walk above the Dinosaur Dive tank on the Shark Walk!
Sea Life is much more than just a mall attraction, doing research and conservation work around the globe.
Their successful seahorse breeding program helps to not only assure that their tanks never use wild caught seahorses, and they provide seahorses to other institutions, as well.
The seahorse feeding is amazing, as these voracious little animals consume huge amounts of brine shrimp! Keep a close eye on the tanks for baby seahorses, which unlike any other animal, are born to the father!
In Fall, 2016, Sea Life opened a new exhibit, which takes you into a tropical rainforest! See piranhas, and friendly, smiling caimen!
12. Rockpools/Touch a Creature
The last room at Sea Life features two rockpools, where you can touch starfish, crabs, sea urchins, shark pups and more! A timed “wave” releases water, simulating life waves along the shore.
13. Submarine Play Zone
Be sure to bring socks for the Submarine Play Zone, a play structure for younger children.
The theater has a short about ocean animal conservation efforts. During the week, the theater is often booked from 10am – 2pm for school field trips.
14. Birthday Parties
15. Behind the Scene Tour
Learn more about the animals at Sea Life with a Behind the Scenes Tour. See the laboratory, health care and food prep areas. Available on weekends, the tours are every 30 minutes, but some times fill quickly, so you can book online before your visit.
The very last stop on the tour is the Gift Shop!
Things to do in and near Grapevine Mills Mall
Legoland Discovery Center is directly across from Sea Life, and you can purchase combo tickets for both attractions. Click HERE to read more about Legoland.
Grapevine Mills AMC 30 with Dine In Theater is also located at Grapevine Mills. Click HERE to visit their website.
Bass Pro Shops is located just down the street from Grapevine Mills.
Enjoy the beauty of Lake Grapevine at Oak Grove Park, with bike trails, playgrounds and FREE fireworks every Friday night during the summer. Click HERE for more information.
Grapevine Mills Mall offers a large food court, and there are many good restaurants in the area around the mall and in Grapevine, but my kids insist on the Rainforest Cafe in the mall, still one of their favorites!
You can barely beat the fun hotels in Grapevine, such as Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord, but there are plenty of nice places to stay on Lake Grapevine or in Downtown Grapevine, available at VRBO. Click HERE to visit their website.
Sea Life Aquarium
300 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine
Click HERE to visit their website.
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