Cirque du Soleil brought us to Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium this Friday afternoon. With Cirque du Soleil’s bright yellow and blue tents featuring eye-catching acrobats in the show Totem across the way, they have sponsored free admission to the aquarium on Fridays in February. We decided to take advantage of this fun, local opportunity and were so glad that we did!
From eels, sharks and rays to sea stars, lobsters and sea horses, this small aquarium, located just below the carousel on the Pier, features creatures and living plant life found in the Santa Monica Bay. They have several touch tanks where baby K enjoyed feeling the rough starfish, slimy sea cucumbers and spiny sea urchins. We even had the chance to watch the volunteers feed the eels. K loved the kid-friendly room where she enjoyed hands-on learning centers and the toddler-friendly area where she read children’s sea life books from their library. At the very end, we stopped by the arts and crafts tables where K decorated her starfish crown to wear and take home.
Pros: There is an array of beautiful sea life to explore and see. The volunteer staff are very friendly and accommodating. The aquarium is clean, kid/family friendly and provides a good hour of educational fun (and a nice break from the hot sunshine at the pier/beach). There are two clean restrooms inside (I do not recall a baby changing station. You may want to try calling ahead of time if one is needed).
Tips: Food and drink are not allowed inside, but you can leave it up at the front during your visit. If you bring a little one who cannot yet walk, baby wearing is definitely the way to go especially when it’s busy. Parking at the Santa Monica Place structure on Colorado gives you 90 minutes free (just make sure to bring your ticket to a pay station before your time is up). For more information including hours, admission fees and educational opportunities at this aquarium, click here!