We FINALLY took the time to go visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, which opened it’s doors in the old Cleveland Powerhouse. We’d heard from others who have gone that it’s pretty pricey for what you get, but now that we got to actually experience it for ourselves I’d say it was worth it (for us that is, but perhaps not everyone) It’s a perfect establishment for people with small children. Even though it’s finally Spring, it still snowed today and it was so nice to get out of the house and have somewhere to go with our infant daughter where she could be entertained. For adults without children who aren’t looking for a relaxing day in a soothing environment, or older kids and teens who need a lot of excitement (e.g. video games, technology, etc..) there might not be enough entertainment value for the almost $20 admission. However, if you have kids particularly interested in fish and aquariums, you have kids in the infant-preschooler set who can get enraptured by watching the creatures it’s well worth it. Even if you’re in the mood to sit and relax or casually walk around and enjoy a lovely environment it’s actually rather nice.
The museum is somewhat separated into different areas including Ohio Lakes and Rivers, Lakes + Rivers of the World, Discovery Zone, Indo-Pacific, Coastal, Tropical Reef, the Shark SeaTube, and an exploration station on the second level. Creatures you can see include local ohio fish, four species of sharks, moray eel, african tortoise, moon jellyfish (look up, they’re right in one of old smokestacks of the powerhouse!) stingrays, seahorse, and more.
The major highlight of the aquarium is how beautifully it is integrated into the historical building. It is pretty amazing to think that in what were once nightclubs are now tanks full of sea-life. The juxtaposition of brick and old metalwork with the blue water and vibrant creatures is pretty striking. I also felt that the lighting and changing background music throughout the museum really added to the experience.
There were also a few areas where artwork combined elements of ocean and sealife with the industrial style of Cleveland.
The exhibits were easy to get up close to. It was really easy for our little one to get up close and personal to really get a good look at all the creatures. (She also rather liked a lot of the bubbles too!)
Our favorite area was the shark SeaTube. It was a 175 foot walk-through with some pretty sizable sharks (and lots of other fish and sealife too) You can frequently see divers in the tank as well.
Since the little one is so small we didn’t take advantage of it, but there are several hands-on opportunities too such as an 11,000 gallon touch pool, and daily animal feedings.