Yesterday we took a trip to Aquarium Adventure.  You know, I used to feel kind of weird for taking Jaden here until I saw that Aquarium Adventure posted an ad in Columbus Parent telling parents to bring their kids here to look at fish!  Permission granted!

I stumbled upon Aquarium Adventure a few years ago out of curiosity.  I’m sure, as parents, we’ve all spent more than our fair share of time in the shopping plaza anchored by Babies ‘R Us off Sawmill Road.  As your bump turns into a baby, you probably, like me, travelled down the plaza to Carter’s and then, eventually, to Michael’s to entertain the thought that, one day, you might once again have time to do something crafty (hence the bag of unused crochet needles and yarn in my closet – I had a 6 month old, WHAT WAS I THINKING?).  Then, when the euphoria wore off, you realized the kid’s craft section is fun entertainment for your preschooler.  Eventually you end up at the other end of the strip:  Aquarium Adventure.

This place is pretty awesome.  As you can see from these pictures, it’s pretty large, has a ton of different fish, and even caters to visiting children.  (I’m just going to interrupt here to say that since I am not an underwater expert, I am going to refer to most of the living creatures we saw here as “fish”, though I do realize that might not be the correct term!)  What is especially entertaining is the large tanks they have with bigger fish . . . and this time, a stingray!

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There used to be a creepy looking fish in the large tank that Jaden was afraid of.  It has since been replaced by a stingray – with caution tape advising you to stay behind the line while viewing!  My kids circled this tank, coming back and forth to it many times.  They also loved the turtles – the real ones and the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety!

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We got to see one of the workers feed the piranhas – she invited my kids to watch, which I thought was pretty nice.  There is also a “Touch Me Tidepool” complete with towels for wiping wet hands.  Jaden was cautious when I read off the list of things you could touch and he heard the word “crabs”.  There was no way he was putting his hand in that pool!  Though to be honest, I didn’t see any crabs!  Mayson probably would have dove in head first, so I didn’t call too much attention to this opportunity.

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As with most of my daily outings, I combined a legitimate errand on my part with something fun for my kids to do. They could have stayed at Aquarium Adventure all morning! We were probably there for at least 30 minutes as it was, but I was on a mission to Whole Foods to pick up a few groceries, which leads me to part two of the morning.

Whole Foods itself can be a fun experience for kids, but I find that my kids, like the food, have an expiration date in grocery stores. Grocery shopping is a race against the clock for me, and it can quickly decompensate into a seriously stressful experience. Whole Foods often helps stretch the time by offering samples of food and the promise of time in the play area if they can hold it together long enough for me to compare labels on the nitrate-free bacon.

On this trip, I’ll admit, I also picked up two chocolate chip muffins to sweeten the trip.

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After checking out, we made our way to the play area so I could sit and stare into space (every parent’s dream) and the kids could play while we ate our muffins.  The play area at the Whole Foods on Sawmill is nice in that it is pretty closed off, is close to the bathroom and has a lot of nice seating in the area.  In my opinion, it is not the cleanest and that is a drawback.  Maybe this is a stereotype, but my expectations are a little higher for Whole Foods.  But I let them play anyway, and they had a lot of fun.

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Overall, this was a good morning for us.  It was a happy combination of fun things for the kids and mom accomplishing a goal.  This outing took about 2.5 hours for us, including drive time.  At 18 months old, Mayson loved seeing the fish and was tall enough to see into enough fish tanks to make it worth it.  You could easily combine this trip with lunch at Whole Foods, and if it was warm, you could potentially walk between the two locations (because I am all about reducing the amount of times you have to get kids in and out of the car!).  Has anyone else checked it out?

 

Know before you go:

Location: 3632 W Dublin Granville Rd, Columbus, OH 43235

Cost:  Free

Parking:  Large parking lot in front of store

Written by Julie Miller