Our family loves to visit aquariums, which is why we saw it fit to take mini me, on her birthday to the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center located in Riverhead, NY. Open for the last 15 years, the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center is home to one of the largest all-living coral displays in the Western Hemisphere. Exciting, right?
After an hour and a half drive, in our Chevy Equinox, we arrived at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center with mini me asleep in the backseat. When she saw where we were, she was excited! The aquarium’s entrance features a seal display. Yup! Seals greet you as you enter the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.
It leaves you to wonder what’s in store once you get indoors.
Once inside, there’s a touch tank, Ray Bay, to your left housing a tank full of southern stingrays, cownose rays, and Atlantic stingrays. At first, mini me was scared to touch them, and then she warmed up, and was excited to touch a few. She became even more excited once they began splashing the water on her.
The Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center features three different displays and exhibits: indoor, outdoor, and interactive. Of the indoor exhibits, we loved the butterfly sanctuary, Amazon Aviary, and The Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit.
Mini me, to our surprise was brave enough to venture into the Amazon Aviary, allowing the various birds to sit on her arm. My husband went in with her because I was too scared to get that close to all of those birds, in an enclosed area at that. But, mini me loved it. Also, to get to the Amazon Aviary, we had to walk through a Butterfly sanctuary, filled with 40-50 different species of beautiful butterflies from all over the world. Some of the butterflies were as large as my hand. Although we were warned that some might land on us, none did. We were also warned to be careful to watch our steps because some butterflies may be resting on the floor. Unfortunately, we came across one wounded butterfly that someone stepped on, which mini me was a bit sad about.
The Lost City of Atlantis Shark Exhibit was amazing! The 120,000 tank features a variety of non-aggressive sharks like sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and other sea creatures like moray eels, and Queensland groupers. Best of all, if you’re adventurous, you can schedule a session to swim with the sharks. What caught mini me’s attention was Poseidon. She shouted, “Mommy, that’s Ariel’s father.” My husband and I laughed. Leave it to a toddler to relate this experience to the Little Mermaid.
Since we visited the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center on a weekday, we were unable to see any of the shows, which only mean we have to go back on a weekend, maybe this summer. My only fear is that the aquarium will be too crowded to enjoy.
Overall, we enjoyed our experience at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center. The aquarium exceeded our expectations, and was much larger than we’d imagined. Although on the smaller side of aquariums we’ve visited in the past, it’s a good size aquarium for small children like the age of our daughter who is four years old. We like that the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center had a variety of interactive experiences, which is helpful in teaching children from a young age tolerance for different forms of life, and to appreciate nature. If you’re looking for something to do with your children on Long Island, check out the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center. For more photos from our trip, visit Beauty and the Bump on Facebook.