The SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium just opened a new exhibit called, The Last Dragons: Discover the Superpowers of the Axolotls. Well, what exactly is an Axolotl? Named by the Aztecs, the name is thought to mean “water monster” and is pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl. As it turns out, they are very interesting creatures! Axolotls are amphibians native to the lake complex of Xochimilco, which is near Mexico City. Unfortunately, they are currently listed as critically-endangered and close to being extinct in the wild. Most of the ones alive today are a result of breeding programs that help them breed in captivity, due to the difficult times they face in their original, natural habitat. Regenerating limbs and organs is what makes this species so incredibly unique! We learned this and more at the new SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Axolotl exhibit!
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Axolotl Exhibit: Our Toddler Tuesday Experience
My toddler and I caught a glimpse of this “water monster” as the featured animal during a recent SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Toddler Tuesday event. Toddler Tuesdays invites little ones to explore a highlighted exhibit after story time or a game and a craft related to that specific creature. This particular exhibit has an interactive feature (an observation/peek-a-boo bubble, if you will) that the kids will enjoy. It allows them to peek into the Axolotl’s world and feel like they are in the water with them. While there may be about 30 Axolotls in there, it’ll be fun for the kids to see how many they can actually find. Around the room you’ll see additional details about Axolotls and information on how to help protect them from complete extinction. Their story can translate to almost any other species affected by urbanization, pollution, overfishing, or that are taken from the wild as pets.
The time reserved for the younger crowd was definitely appreciated by this mom, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel that the Toddler Tuesday event was a little disorganized. Here are a few things we observed, based on our personal experience, that you should keep in mind:
- Interactive activity to learn about the featured animal of the week, which changes each time.
- Crafts are related to the featured animal.
- Early arrival to beat the big kid and school crowds; gives toddlers a chance to explore and experience the aquarium on their own level.
- Can stay and explore the rest of the aquarium with paid admission – only $15/ticket (for Toddler Tuesdays) and kids 2 and under are free!
- Short enough story and/or game time to hold their attention. All the kids attending seemed to be patient enough and interested….except for mine.
- Low lighting made it difficult to see the book’s illustrations and what we were doing with the craft afterwards.
- Lots of people in a small area made things a little cramped.
- Felt a little rushed to complete the craft. Many parents, myself included, decided to finish it at home.
- Lots of tight spaces that are not stroller friendly – a small/lightweight stroller would be the way to go.
OVERALL: It’s a good value and experience for the price to go every so often, especially during the summer to beat the heat. My older monkey will love seeing and learning about the Axolotls up close and personal!
Plan to visit these “last dragons” at the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Axolotl Exhibit before they move on to their next home, sometime in 2018!
All photos © Vanessa Morales for modernmami™
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary admission to SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium to experience the new Axolotl exhibit. All thoughts and opinions are our own.