We took the kids on a Kansas City road trip last weekend. St. Louis is a great city for families, but sometimes you want to shake things up and see what other cities have to offer. So we packed up our bags, jumped on Hwy 70 and drove four hours to Sea Life Kansas City.
(FYI: We received free tickets to visit Sea Life, but the opinions here are mine–and the boy’s–own.)
One thing St. Louis sadly lacks is a proper aquarium—sorry World Aquarium, but you’re no Sea Life. Wow, this place was great! Sea Life was worth the four hour drive from St. Louis, especially if you’re making a weekend of Kansas City.
After you get your tickets, kids will be offered a trivia card to play along the way. Mitch thought that was awesome and couldn’t wait to find each clue. Kids are given a souvenir “medal” for completing the card and they learn lots of cool facts, too.
I’ve only been to one other aquarium, and that’s the giant Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Sea Life isn’t as big, BUT it was just as pretty and great fun for the kids. Sea Life’s ocean tank has 130,000 gallons of water—and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Sea Life Kansas City has 5,000 ocean animals, from petable starfish to large sharks and everything inbetween. The attraction is divided into nine sections, each featuring a different underwater habitat and theme.
My only complaint about Sea Life might be the dim lighting, which makes it impossible to get a capture the wonderful fish exactly as they appear in real life! They are so bright and beautiful, swimming around in really cool habitats, like ship wrecks, ocean docks and an underwater temple. Sadly, flash photography would scare the fish and would probably just bounce off the glass anyway.
Have no fear—you can get a good fishy photo if you have a little patience. The play area has normal light levels, so pose the kids with a fish tank there. Or buy a souvenir photo like this one!
Here’s some photos of what you’ll experience at Sea Life. Like I said, my photos hardly do the place justice. (Image everything 10 times brighter and less…green.) When you go, you’ll be amazed by the awesome colors, crystal clear water and schools of amazing fish.
One of the first things you’ll find is this touch pool. A staff member is on hand to help you with the sea creatures and answer any questions you might have. The pool was full of the most brilliant starfish I’ve ever seen! There were also hermit crabs, sea urchins and shrimp.
This was a kid sized tunnel to crawl through. Mitch thought it was pretty cool–and he saw Dora in the tank overhead.
Sea Life is anything but boring. Most of the exhibits had something interactive–places to crawl into for the kids, or giant bubbles to peer through. So cool!
This is the underwater tunnel through the largest tank.
The big tank had several viewing points–this one was down at ground level.
At the end of the journey through Sea Life was this soft play area for the kids to run around in and get their wiggles out.
Sea Life is located in the Crown Center district of Kansas City, Mo. It’s a very tourist friendly area with a shopping plaza next door and two plush hotels within walking distance. We stayed at the Sheraton on our trip, so we parked our car in their garage and didn’t move it until we were ready to leave. There’s also plenty of garage space just for the attractions if you want to stay at a cheaper hotel in the suburbs, or you’re close enough to make a day trip of your visit.
Sea Life is also next to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center (a review on that is coming up next). If you’re ready for lunch after your visit, there’s a couple good dining options in Crown Center that are totally kid friendly.
Tickets for Sea Life are currently $19 at the door for adults, $16 for children under 12 and free for littles ones under 2. You can save 20 percent if you buy your ticket online–which also gives you a VIP entrance to bypass the line.
Sea Life is open from 10am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday (the doors close at 7pm), and from 10 to 7pm (doors close at 5) the rest of the week.