Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My Experience at St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

sign at the outside entrance

Considering I'm an enthusiast for sea and ocean life, I was excited when the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station opened in December of last year.  I've never been to an actual aquarium so I can't compare this one to any others, but my experience was a positive one.

Jason's birthday was February 15th and, to celebrate, we took an overnight trip to St. Louis with another couple and two of their grown kids.  I received two free tickets to tour St. Louis Aquarium and we spent some time exploring the new establishment.

large clock aquarium

The 120,000 square foot aquarium is located in the former mall area within St. Louis Union Station.  It does not boast to be the biggest but it does boast to be hi-tech and interactive.  The aquarium tickets are timed so it's best to purchase them ahead of time online.  This helps ensure minimal wait times.  It also helps space out the crowds. 

Our party had ticket times of 1:30 pm.  Once we first arrived, we entered a lobby with a giant aquarium made to look like a clock.  The walls and ceilings had different scenery that changed frequently.  At one time, it looked like we were looking at the galaxy and, another time, we were surrounded with images of dolphins. 

one of the moving scenes from the train ride

When it was time to get started, our group boarded an interactive train.  It was an actual room with bench seats and entirely covered with screens.  A short, action-oriented film played that took viewers through parts of St. Louis and underwater.  Once the "ride" was over, people were on their own to explore the aquarium itself.  From the local streams and rivers to the depths of the oceans, we encountered many beautiful species of sea, ocean, and lake life.  It ranged from the somewhat common fish of the Mississippi River to the sharks and sting rays of the deep ocean. 

Would you stick your hand in a tub of fish to feed off your dead skin cells?!

Two of my favorite interactive exhibits involved the stingrays and the doctor fish.  A large, open tank of stingrays gave viewers the opportunity to put their fingers in and "pet" the creatures.  They actually seemed quite happy to get all of the attention!  The red garra, also known as the doctor fish, are used in pedicures and other skin treatments to remove dead skin cells.  Patrons got to experience this at St. Louis Aquarium.  I stuck my hand in the tub and the fish immediately latched on like leeches!  I had probably 50 of them on my hand at a time.  It was a weird feeling but really neat.

It was fairly crowded when we walked through the aquarium but we were patient and waited our turn.  I suggest that other guests do the same.  Everyone is there to have a positive experience and linger a bit to get the most for their money.  Lines move fairly quickly, but you do have to wait a short bit if you want to get an up-close view.

There's been mixed reviews on whether the price of admission ($25) is worth the visit.  I've read people saying that they are in and out of the aquarium in only 30 minutes.  And, that's quite possible.  If you go in there and briskly walk through the place without stopping to look at the fish or taking time to experience the interactive elements, there's a good possibility you won't be in there long.  If you go about it stopping to see what the place has to offer, you'll be in there a lot longer.

Once finished, you will enter into the gift shop where you can purchase snacks, souvenirs, and photos.  During your visit, you can also enjoy the many amenities available at Union Station, including shopping and dining, The St. Louis Wheel, a miniature golf course, ropes course, and much more.  Those tickets can be purchased separately. 

I received free tickets in exchange for this post.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.


Mandy said...

I love aquariums! This looks like so much fun! I've never been to St. Louis but I've always wanted to!

Renee said...

Thanks for sharing--I would love to visit there! I'm trying to imagine a big aquarium in a former mall space :) We are fortunate to live relatively close to the Tennessee Aquarium and can visit it a few times a year. Never gets old or less beautiful!

Forgetfulone said...

I love aquariums! I like to read some (if not all) of the information, observe, and take pictures. I like the clock! You took some great shots!