Mystic, Connecticut is a quaint seaport town in New England offering plenty of shopping, eating, and fun activities for families, couples, and friends. We only live an hour from Mystic, CT and it is the perfect place for a day trip or a few days away from home. Last spring we spent the weekend with our daughters in Mystic and had the most wonderful time visiting the Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, and Mystic Village. Read all about our trip to Mystic Aquarium and tips for visiting Mystic Aquarium with Kids.
Our first stop when we arrived to Mystic, CT for the weekend was the Mystic Aquarium. The Aquarium is easily accessible, just off Exit 90 on Interstate 95, about 10 miles east of New London along Connecticut’s southeastern shore. Parking is free and there are many parking lots around the Aquarium if you’re visiting on a busy day.
We visited Mystic Aquarium on a Saturday morning in the spring. There was a very long line outside the main entrance waiting for the doors to open right at 9am, so plan to arrive early. If you buy your tickets online, you can skip the line! There are promotional discounts for AAA, AARP, Military and more found here, as well as membership opportunities.
Ticket prices are as follows: Adults: $37.99, Seniors (age 60+): $32.99, Youth (age 13-17): $31.99, Children (age 3-12): $27.99. Children (age 2 & under): FREE!
We were happy to have press passes (c/o of the Aquarium) and sneak in a side door as the girls were anxious to get inside. Once you’ve entered the Aquarium, take a look at the map of the exhibits or grab a brochure, then plan your adventure. You can preview the Exhibit Map here.
We absolutely loved the Beluga Whale Exhibit even though it was the most crowded area of the Aquarium. It’s no wonder everyone wants to stop to see the Beluga Whales first – they are the most gentle and sweet creatures, swimming right up to the glass and saying hello! Mystic Aquarium has the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibit in the United States.
After the Beluga Whales we found ourselves at the Pacific Northwest Exhibit. The harbor seals and Northern fur seals are just adorable. We enjoyed watching them glide through the water, spinning, turning, and looking like they were waving, “Hello!”
After the seals, it was time to visit another cute friend: little black and white penguins. We truly loved visiting the Penguin Pavilion. If you time your visit right, you can watch the penguins during feeding time and how they gobble up each little fish. I found that this exhibit was very educational, for there was a specialist discussing everything about the penguins from their favorite activities to sleeping habits. There is actually an option to schedule a Penguin Encounter that we would love to do when the girls are older.
The Main Gallery is where you can find all of the beautiful fish and sea life the Aquarium has to offer. With habitats featuring sharks, stingrays, jellies and more, you can truly experience what living under the sea is all about. For the older children, there are interactive water tables where you can touch and hold different sea life creatures.
There are also live shows and speciality exhibits, like Jurassic Giants where you can travel back in time to see the giant creatures who once roamed our Earth. Mystic Aquarium has so much to do and see and is fun for all ages.
Tips for the Visiting Mystic Aquarium with Kids
Buy your tickets online BEFORE you visit the Aquarium.
Bring a stroller for little ones with tired legs – there is a lot of walking to be done!
Get your Mystic Aquarium ticket validated before you leave the Aquarium. (You can use it to return for the next two consecutive days!)
You are NOT allowed to bring your own food into the Aquarium. The Penguins Cafe is a great spot to grab snacks or lunch.
We truly enjoyed our trip to Mystic Aquarium and cannot wait to go back soon. The girls are looking forward to attending a Sea Lion Show or working up the courage to pet a Sting Ray. Thank you Mystic Aquarium for the wonderful visit!