The Aquarium has changed its format a bit as of today: Admission to the Dolphin Discovery arena is now free all day, and instead of being able to buy tickets to one of a few regularly scheduled shows, visitors can spend as much time as they want, watching short programs with the dolphins, looking at them through binoculars at viewing stations, or just watching as they are fed and trained.
My boys and I got to check out the new set-up this morning, and it was great (I finally caught a flipping Flipper on my iPhone, left). In this past, I've griped about the Aquarium, saying, among other things, "we loved the dolphin show, but it really bothers me that you have to pay extra for it." Well, as if they were listening to me, they made the show free! Granted they did raise the admission price slightly—up $5 to $29.95 for adults, and up $1 to $20.95 for kids—but it's still a better deal than before. And, as Aquarium staffers explained at the event, it just makes sense to include your best, biggest attractions as part of the general admission. "Nobody should be excluded from this," they explained. Amen.
There were also other developments that we really liked. For one thing, my boys loved the Jellies Invasion exhibit. Maybe it's because jellyfish look so completely different than anything else in the Aquarium—or maybe because they played a prominent role in Finding Nemo—but we loved looking at all the different sized jellies and even learning about how they eat and how long they live (about six months—there's a white tent on pier 5 where they're always cultivating new ones for the exhibit, which will be up for at least another year.)
Also, I'd always wished there were more activities for younger kids who might not have the patience to peruse all of the aquaria. Well, the Aquarium recently added the Children's Discovery Labratory, which had all kinds of fun stuff for the under-5 (or so) set, including a puppet theater with all kinds of sea creatures, a dress-up area, puzzles and more. I literally had to drag my kids away when it was time to go.
So glad to see such great updates to the Aquarium. We'll be back soon!