My daughter must have some really vivid dreams at night. She wakes up most mornings asking to do or visit some place or thing that is completely out of left field and apparently a result of her nighttime adventures (Narnia?). In the past I’ve helped her out of bed with a rest for Elephants, or the M&M ride (cable cars at Six Flags). But just the other day she woke up asking to go and pet some Sting Rays. Well being the softy that I am and having a day off from work the only place nearby I knew that had this exact exhibit was the Adventure Aquarium down in Camden, NJ.
I had bought our tickets online to avoid the line but as you can see in the above picture this Wednesday morning there were very few people visiting which was great for us. After heading inside we always head to the furthest location which just so happens to be the KidZone which is a favorite of Hanna’s.
If you look very closely in the above picture just inside to the right was the first new penny machine. Thankfully I checked this out online before we left as these new machines now required a $1 bill for each design.
I still reference these as penny machines but no penny is needed just your dollar bills. The machine automatically loads a blank and after the pressing creates a very nice shiny finished product.
The only issue I had was that some of the designs did roll a little short. The first set of images included the Philly Skyline, the Touch Tank, an Alligator, and a Mermaid. We spent quite a bit of time in the Kidzone and Hanna loved the touch tank with large starfish and a horseshoe crab she reluctantly touched and squealed the entire time. The next big area we came to was the Diver Tank and we arrived just in time to see some divers feeding the creatures inside.
We sat and watched the action for a few minutes before we headed to the next area but at the top of the drive theater was the next penny machine.
This machine actually had quite a group around it when we first got to it. The kids were just playing with the machine and not actually using it. When we walked up they left us through and were fascinated with how it worked and I proudly showed off the coins when they dropped out into the dispenser.
The coins had images of an Octopus, Sting Ray, Sharks Teeth, and a Porcupine. The kids all immediately scattered towards their parents and I could hear the requests for dollar bills. Hanna and I headed to the next exhibit before their parents could get their hands on us.
Due to the strange layout of this aquarium we had to back track a bit to get to the next area which included two large and strangely cute Hippos. There is a viewing area at the top (above water level) of their tank, and a lower viewing area to see them underwater. Right beside the lower viewing area was the third penny machine.
I couldn’t pull Hanna away from the Hippos so she kept an eye on them while I pressed the coins.
This next batch of coin designs included images of a Hammer-head Shark, a Giant Squid, two Penguins, and a Jelly Fish. With coins we continued on our way to the Shark area.
If only all sharks were as cute as the one above. I will say I’m completely in awe of sharks and love watching them from a distance, but in truth they scare the daylights out of me. As with most aquariums now this one has a shark tunnel that lets you walk among the sharks only protected by a 4-inch piece of glass.
This does give a very interesting perspective of the sharks and it’s a little creepy when they swim right over top of you.
After the tunnel however we came across something I have not seen before and this is apparently brand new attraction. It’s called the Shark Bridge.
There is a very narrow bridge that is suspended across the top of the shark tank. Yes the exact tank we just walked through we will now be walking over top of. As all sorts of reasons popped into my head as to why we shouldn’t do this, Hanna was running ahead excited to “walk on the sharks”.
As you can see above the bridge (small narrow beam) is really quite sturdy and you are surrounded by strong netting on all sides. The downside to this is that the netting makes it a little hard to see the sharks swimming below you, but it’s still a really cool experience. After we finished walking across the Shark Bridge we headed into the last part of the aquarium and according to Hanna the most important, the gift shop.
While Hanna searched through bins and shelves of stuffed toys and novelties I went over by the check out area to use the final penny machine.
This final set of coins included designs of some Penguins, a Great White Shark, a Hippopotamus, and a large Sea Turtle. I packed all the coins away and walked over to where Hanna had picked out a multi colored rainbow Sting Ray plush toy. We checked out and headed toward the exit for our ride home.
Now for those of you paying attention you be saying “What happened to Hanna’s morning request to pet some Sting Rays”. We did head to that area, but when we were there they were closing it down temporarily to let the Rays have a break from the feeding and petting. No big deal this just means we will have to come back soon for another try.