Another weekend was upon us and we wanted to take our daughter out again to someplace we hadn’t been to in a while. She has recently been really into identifying different animals from her picture books, TV shows and iPad games. If it was warmer out we would probably have checked out a zoo, but with a few inches of snowfall last week we decided to find something indoors. Luckily we have a really great place about an hour south from our house in Camden. Now Camden is not the most picturesque place to visit, but right by the waterfront has been cleaned up and is really nice to visit. During past trips we have visited the U.S.S. New Jersey Battleship, and even Campbell’s Field which is home to a minor league baseball team. But this trip was all about the Adventure Aquarium.
The Aquarium sits right along the Delaware River and you can see right over into downtown Philadelphia on a nice day. Saturday ended up being a great day to visit, with the recent snow there weren’t a lot of people there and it made for a very enjoyable and somewhat relaxing visit.
During the month of January 2015 they had a new exhibit on display titled “Dinosaurs of the Deep”. We made sure to check this out and Hanna really liked the “Touch a Dinosaur” lagoon which was really just a place to check out horseshoe crabs but was still a cool thing to see. They also have a Stingray exhibit that you can also touch, they swim right up to the sides and as long as you use the correct technique you can touch them without harming them.
Hopefully you have realized by now that if I’m posting about the trip you know there had to be penny machines and this is no different. We had visited the aquarium a few years ago and I had picked up all of the 16 designs at that time. Unfortunately the designs were still the same during this visit but the machines are always moved around to different locations. I decided to press another set because I never know when someone may need a them for their collection.
After we were done with the petting areas we headed upstairs to the Kids Zone where Hanna was in heaven. There were lots of things for the kids to run around, climb on, and make a lot of noise with. Hanna found this metal dome that had a drum stick attached to it that she could beat to her heart’s content. While I stood by filming her first public performance I saw the first penny machine out of the corner of my eye. Once Hanna finished and very cutely handed the drum stick to the next little girl in line (I was so proud), I gently nudged her towards the penny machine. Now she is still only about 2 1/2 so she hasn’t caught the penny collecting bug, but my wife kept her occupied while I pressed the first set of coins.
First off I’ll say that all the machines at the Aquarium worked perfectly and rolled great designs. My family are huge zoo and aquarium fans so these designs I have seen at other locations, but they do have the Adventure Aquarium logo printed on each which makes them a little more unique. The first machine has 4 designs: a Seal, a Penguin, a Tuna and Piranha.
The Kid zone continued with a frog section, jelly fish, and another shallow touch tank with some pretty large star fish that Hanna almost pulled right out of the tank to take home. We then wandered back downstairs and checked out the Shipwrecked section. This is a really unique area that makes it look like you are under the water with boat bottoms hanging from the ceiling and there are aquarium exhibits all along a winding hallway with all the usual underwater creatures. Eventually the hallways opens up into a large stadium style room with a huge glass windowing looking into the massive center tank. This tank contains a huge sea turtle, sharks, sting rays, and lots of fish all living together. My wife and Hanna sat down to watch the show while I slowly headed towards the second penny machine located at the back of the room.
This machine included designs of a Tropical Bird, an Octopus, a Puffer fish, and a Parrot. After the watching the fish swimming around and wondering how the sharks don’t just eat all the other fish we continued on to the next area.
Hippo Haven was a new area we had not seen the last time we had visited. They had two large hippos in this very interesting area that had two different viewing areas, one above water and one below. After the hippos was another large tank that contains many different types of sharks. Another cool section we walked through was the Shark Tunnel where you get to walk through the tank with the sharks swimming all around the glass tunnel. This seems to be a popular attraction at most aquariums now a days as I’ve seen this a few times before but it’s still a great way to see these amazing sharks.
Unfortunately once we had finished with the shark area we ended up at the Aquarium Gift Shop where most attractions end. Hanna immediately ran off to check out all the stuffed animals and other toys on display to try to figure out what she would want as a souvenir. While she shopped with her mother I found the third penny machine right by the entrance to the gift shop.
These designs were of a Hippo, Flamingo, Porcupine and Alligator (maybe a Crocodile I can never tell). Once I was done with this machine I knew there was one more and started to think back as to whether we had skipped any areas because I couldn’t remember missing a machine. After walking around the gift shop Hanna had decided on a stuffed Mermaid which she shed a few tears before finally convincing us this was a must have purchase. We waited in the check out line and as I was paying for the Mermaid I saw the fourth penny machine right by the exit to the gift shop. After the Mermaid was adopted into our family I walked with my wife and Hanna over to the machine and pressed the final set of pennies.
This machine included designs of a Stingray, Longnose Saw Shark, Sea Turtle and Shark. We left the gift shop and headed back towards the lockers where we had left our coats before heading home.
I figured I should mention that the aquarium also had 2 medallion machines available with 4 designs each. I don’t usually collect these but did take some pictures of the designs in case anyone was interested in seeing what they had.
The medallions are also a little more expensive. I believe they are $3 each or 2 for $5. They look pretty nice but the last thing I need is something else to collect.
The trip was a huge success and Hanna had a great time. We got to see a lot of great sea creatures, and even some “dinosaurs”. As with most places we will always be back and maybe by then they will have updated the penny designs.