Central Florida can be scorching in the summertime and anyone who has taken a trip to Orlando knows that the local theme parks can be a melting day in the sun. The SeaWorld aquarium is an escape that I would venture to guess isn’t all that well known.
I have been to SeaWorld many times over the years and I have never visited the “aquarium” and I’m pretty sure, judging by the number of people that walked right by the entrance, that you may not have either. When we think of SeaWorld, we assume the whole thing is really one big aquarium but there is an actual aquarium in the park.
Located next to the entry point for the rollercoaster Manta, the Aquarium is a nondescript brown building that may give you an impression of what Atlantis may have looked like. Yet it feels as though you are looking at the building from the rear.
The entry is tucked behind some trees and a short walk across a stone pathway. It’s not a great big place and you shouldn’t expect to see some giant tank inside but there is a pretty large one with sharks and sawfish mingling with rays and other sea life and…it’s inside and out of the hot sun.
Strollers are permitted in the grotto-looking aquarium. You will see the above-mentioned as well as dragon horses and other creatures. There are several viewing tanks with different species from around the globe. Upon entry, you will get a great view from below as sawfish and rays swim overhead.
As you stroll through the winding path you will come face to face with sea life that you didn’t realize existed at SeaWorld. It is a much better experience than the “aquarium” feature at the Atlantis ride exit where you stand on the glass looking down into a tank (you can also look up to see sharks).
I was surprised by how quaint and nice and albeit small this attraction was and told my wife that I wish I had seen it sooner. She agreed that it was better than what she had thought it would be. When I asked her what she thought it was, she laughed and said she never realized it was anything at all. That’s not surprising. It’s easy to miss if you are not looking for it and while you are on your way to see the dolphin’s cove or the sea turtles and manatees, you will likely walk right by it.
The next time you go, make a quick stop. It’s not crowded, it’s air-conditioned, and while it may not be some big attraction, it’s good enough to enjoy.