A friend of ours bought a Groupon for a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. We had never been before and didn't know what to expect, but it was nice. Our tour guide was a high school student, but he was very knowledgeable and informative...or at the very least, he did it enough to memorize the information well. The aquarium not only has a wide variety of aquatic animals, but land-based creatures as well, including some exotic species such as kinkajous, a 3-toed slot, and more. Many of the displays, even for those who aren't on the private tour, are "hands on" where you can reach in and touch the creatures. As part of our tour, we also got to touch, and sometimes feed, animals that you don't get to on a self-guided tour. There's so much to see & do on the private tour that you don't get to stop and look at all they have to offer, but the bonus of being able to pet & feed some of these unique animals makes up for that.
In order to visit the World Aquarium, you must first purchase admission to the museum ($12) and pay an additional $6 for the aquarium. I think that's way too pricey. They could easily drop the price for both or sell admission to the aquarium separately. We've never been to the museum side and feel $12 is a bit high, but we might come back and check it out. It's also an additional $5 to go up on the rooftop attraction, which from what I gather has a ferris wheel and a few things to climb on. I think charging an extra $5 to go up there is definitely excessive and should be included in the price of the museum.
All in all, we enjoyed our private tour. We got up close & personal with animals we've never seen in person before, let alone touched & fed, and came away with some nice memories & photos.
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