I’ve just had my friend Michelle from the USA stay here on her way home after two weeks in Tasmania. Given that she’s a marine biologist, we figured it might be fun to take Nykolai to the Melbourne Aquarium. Well, it wasn’t a bad time and Nykolai managed to have fun, but I have to say it could have been better. At AUS$23 per adult (AUS$13 per child) I found it over priced – half that price would have been more realistic.
The main tank with the sharks and other marine animals was great – walking through a pair of clear-roofed tunnels into rooms with enormous viewing windows provided a wonderful way to see everything. It is possible to go diving in the tank as well which helps the rest of us get an idea of how big everything is in there. Of course, there’s a price to pay for that, ranging from AUS$130 to AUS$270 depending on your experience and equipment.
Most of the exhibits are interesting and there’s some education going on, but we found ourselves left rather flat by it all. A special exhibit was a giant squid recently caught near New Zealand – it’s about 7 metres long and appears to be encased in some sort of kinda-clear material so it’s preserved. From the promotions for the exhibit, you get the feeling it’s going to be bigger. Also, the eye looked rather false.
It may be indicative of the whole place that Nykolai’s favourite part was “The Ride” at the end – basically a simulator that moves around and attempts to give you the sensation of movement. Where the ride could have been related to the ocean (eg: a hair-raising run in a submarine or something), it’s basically a sled ride through a series of ice caverns. Not bad, but how it relates to an aquarium, who knows…
Michelle noted how many eating areas there were in the aquarium, ranging from cafes to a restaurant. She asked if this was an aquarium or a restaurant with funky decor. And what’s on the menu? Fish! :)
So, all up, not a bad time but not worth the full price of entry – perhaps half the price instead?