This past summer I wasn't able to make the trip happen and it's been eating away at me since then. Tess is our BIGGEST animal lover. She truly LOVES animals and out of all of our kids I wanted her to experience the zoo the most. Zach and I discussed it and he agreed to make a little mini family trip out of it. It's also a great thing to do before Tab enters the picture as our kids are pretty flexible and easy going at these ages!
We got Zoo passes for free from our public library and my sweet friend, Kelly, offered for us to spend the night with her family. We purchased Georgia Aquarium tickets and hit the road to head up to the aquarium on Saturday Feb 18th. We got the kids up at 5:45 ish to hit the road which was a first for us. We put them down for bed around 6 the night prior so they did still get solid sleep!
I have to say my favorite thing about the weekend was the morning as we were loading up. Tess was SO PUMPED. She kept singing "I see animals! I see animals!" It was precious and I knew it was going to be a fun trip!
We originally had planned to do Zoo Saturday and Aquarium Sunday but it was supposed to be REALLY yucky Saturday with the weather so we switched things up. I knew the aquarium would be crazy crowded on a Saturday and especially with it being a long weekend. We wanted to get there as close to opening as we could so we got in the car nice and early and got on the road! We were there only about 30 min after opening so not bad at all!
Arriving wasn't bad at all and neither were the crowds. We haven't been often enough to really have a set strategy down but we just tried to hit the animal areas first because they do get so crowded!
I bet the aquarium LOVES that Disney released Finding Dory ;)
Tess was ALL about it!
Kye brought his camera and was super into taking lots of pics. This annoyed Zach but I found it kinda flattering b/c he seems me taking pics all the time and just wanted to do the same thing I do :) It also ended up being a good thing because it kept him interested in all the animals. He's older now and less excited about seeing a bunch of animals and taking the photos kept his interest much longer!
Check out that SMILE yall! She just LOVES animals!!!
My favorite part of the aquarium are the "touch tanks!" I love hands on experiences!!!
I don't know if we just lucked out with timing or if it's a more regular thing now but we saw a TON of divers in tanks and lots of animal feedings!
Tess ran around constantly pointing with excitement at everything!
Zach went to get seats for the dolphin show and I had all three kids solo for a bit to kill some time rather than have them sit in the seats.
The aquarium has changed over the years and has added many new shows and experiences. We saw the dolphin show a few years ago and LOVED IT but they changed it and it wasn't as awesome (Zach never saw the old one and did say this show was his favorite part of the day)
We brought in our own lunch and had NO problems getting it through the doors. Zach and I bought something for ourselves but had the kids eat lunchables :) It was Tess's first one and she did well with it! We never do them at home but they are the PERFECT on the go lunch!
Ready for the 4D movie!
Anything with a screen attracts Kye!
Tess was very into discussing which animal was the "mommy" the "daddy" and the "baby"
A favorite at the aquarium is riding the path through the HUGE tunnel!
This was Tess's favorite and the main thing she talks about (we always say it in our Dory voices of course)
The last thing we did was the sea lion show. We waited forever for it and it was SO crowded and was literally like a 10 min or less thing. Not worthwhile if you visit!
The pre-show in the waiting area lasted longer than the actual show did haha
The early morning was great as far as the crowds but by afternoon it was INSANE. I get pretty claustrophobic and even Zach was DYING to get out of there. The whole thing just isn't laid out very well. It's all so inclosed that if feels even more crowded than it probably is. They allow entirely too many people in and it's just miserable. At Disney you are outside so the crowds spread. But at the aquarium there isn't anywhere for the crowds to go. I told Zach we should get annual passes to Disney and can treat Epcot like our aquarium and Animal Kingdom like our zoo ;)
We pretty much bolted as fast as we could from the sea lion show to get out of there. It was a really fun morning but we all had our aquarium fill for a good while I think. It's so expensive and just isn't valuable for the price you pay! I am glad Zach agreed to go and I'm glad we were able to take Tess while she's into animals the way she is but I'm totally fine with not going back for a long time ;)
Here are some videos from our time at the aquarium:
- Fish feeding
- Kye and Britt testing their jumping lengths
- Tess discussing the Mommy and Daddy turtles
We got to Kelly's house around 4ish and the kids were able to all play and the adults caught up some before we got pizza for dinner! Kelly and I became friends from blogging actually and she's a friend I talk to on a daily basis. I love that we have kids the same ages and have always been there for each other through each stage of parenting (guess she needs to have another when we have Tab!).
I'm a true South GA girl now b/c I had on a shirt and two jackets and was still freezing!
Tess and Lainey meeting for the first time!
All the kids had a blast spending the night with their friends and Z and I enjoyed catching up with Jeff and Kelly that night (and watching their chickens on the baby monitor bahaha). All the kids did really wonderful for waking up super early that morning, spending over 4 hours in the car, skipping naps, walking around the aquarium AND sleeping for the night in a new place! I love these ages and that they do allow for so much flexibility!