One of the long time attractions in Auckland has been Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. It was one of the earlier tunnel aquariums of its kind and used to pride itself in the collection of sharks it housed. It also has the unique experience of real life Emperor Penguins native only to the Antarctic regions of the planet.
One thing that hit home to me was how few fish and even fewer sharks Kelly Tarlton’s has on display these days. Without the penguins it almost wouldn’t be worth the visit.
The penguins were fun as always. You get in a little red Antarctic vehicle that protects you from the cold and journey into the icy world of the penguins where you get to see them swim, frolic, call and play. There are often penguin chicks too which are an unusual sight in comparison to their adult counterparts. The kids loved the penguins and we went around the ride to see them at least five times. Every time Mitchell was totally enthralled by the birds. Bethany decided to dress up as a penguin too and try to figure out how to waddle around with an egg on her flippers.
Unfortunately the journey ends with the pathetic fake orca whale eating a very poorly maintained fake seal – such a shame they haven’t been able to replace that part of the ride with some more real animals – perhaps a tank of Antarctic fish or something… not that the kids seemed to mind too much.
As I mentioned, the sharks were sadly lacking and the tanks looked tired and old. I hope that at some point they can reinvigorate the shark area to bring it back to it’s old heyday glory. The kids enjoyed their underwater adventure never-the-less and both came away with a few goodies in hand. Mitchell has discovered a love for sharks since this experience which is really cute in a sadistic “raaah – I eat you’ kind of way.