I visited Sea Life's Santa Claws event today in Phoenix, AZ. Santa Claws is a giant lobster whose tank is decorated with a beard and a Santa Hat! Sea Life is an aquarium geared to children. It has a theater that talks about the latest exhibits and animals, feel me tanks, multiple bubble views, intricate tank shapes, a large children's play area, and a gift shop. Now, Santa Claws himself is moving to a sister Sea Life location, but the Santa Claw's event will go from the 19th to January 1, 2012.
Before, I tell you my opinion let me give a run down of the Santa Claws events:
*last admissions is one hour before close.
First of all the walk through ocean tunnel is currently closed for the next two weeks due to remodeling for their newest family member. They will soon be getting a large Sea Turtle who was rescued and brought back to swimming health. They had to take out the small coral and make it thicker so the turtle won't try to eat it and spread the bones apart of the dinosaur bone skeleton. This was disappointing since I was really interested in seeing the sharks and larger ocean animals.
That said, I had in my group a range of ages from 1 1/2 to 6. The kids all had a blast. We were there for about 3 hours! The kids first listened to the story, then played in the snow.
From there we went to the kid play structure area where they decorated cards to give to their favorite "Claws" animal.
They had a blast finding the crabs, fish and other animals in the tanks in this room, plus climbing and sliding getting their wiggles out. After that, we went through the entrance which is time spaced to avoid too much clutter. I really appreciated this since often people can get stuck in choke points or are unable to really experience an exhibit because it is so crowded. We entered and the kids loved all the fish they saw.
My daughter really loved the tide pool. She would squeal whenever it ebbed and flowed. The older kids were on the hunt from the start with their Spotter's guide! They would search each tank to see if it held something on their list! The spotter's guide seemed to incentive's the kids to look and as a result find more animals then they normally would have just running through. The younger kids loved having something to carry around!
Next came the feel me tank. The nice helper held up animals for the kids to touch. All the kids no matter the age loved this one. Naturally, I was thankful of the sanitizer located to the right for little germy hands.
More fish for the kiddo's to watch!
We next found a tank swimming with a school of fish. It almost had a calming affect on my daughter who just knelt down and watched them swim back and forth. The older kids were less interested in this tank.
Next, was the round room where we encountered our first bubble view location! The kids of all ages loved this. It made me a little dizzy since the fish are literally swimming around you in a circle over and over.
After this the kids located the sting rays! This tank has an overhead view and a back tunnel where they can locate hiding fish or get a more up close view of the fish. The sting rays are huge and seem to follow the kids. In the same room another bubble viewer which was great, however the tunnels into these are kid sized and my daughter kept wanting to stand up before it was time. Around the bend into the wooden room foundlion fish hiding against things to look like parts of rocks and coral, and aneel hiding to look like coral as well. Back into the room we had story had me realizing that we had been right next to the octopus the entire time! He was harder to see, but we finally found him tucked in a corner.
Going the opposite direction then we had before and we got to see him! Santa "Claws"! The kids loved that his tank had a glass bottom giving them a bottom side view! Their were lots of other crabs and lobstersin the "Claws" area and the kids marveled at the size of the animals. Next we found another bubble viewer and a C shaped tent giving the feeling of being under water with fish on almost all sides. Onto the seahorses which seemed to dance in their tanks and the kids were wearing down, but still excited to check off another fish on their spotter's guide.
Lastly,we entered the jelly fish area. The younger kids were mesmerized. The older kids loved the fun facts and reminding people to be careful because jelly fish can sting! By now everyone was weary and worn out from all the exploring and fun! To home and to nap we went.
As a parent I could see how the older the kid the more likely this wouldn't be interesting unless they had a pre-existing interest in sea life. Younger kids however love to explore, find with the spotter's guide and climb on the play area! The more interested you are the more interested your kids will be in anything and the same can be said for Sea Life. I would definitely recommend checking out this event and making sure to attend one of the story readings and snows! I give this event 4 out of 5 claws losing a claw for an exhibit being closed. As always, judge for yourself and comment here!
Click here for the Event Page: http://www.visitsealife.com/Arizona/news-and-events/