We are always on the lookout for new fall adventures, and this year the Hauntaquarium at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium caught our eye. An opportunity to wear our Halloween costumes, and an indoor event seemed like a perfect way to dress up without having to bundle up. Tickets for the Hauntaquarium are only $10 for members and $12 for non-members which is less than the regular admission price. What a perfect way to experience the Greater Cleveland Aquarium at a reduced price and have some Halloween fun! To sweeten the deal, you park free if you buy your tickets on-line and show it at the parking gate!Upon entering the Hauntaquarium, the kids and I were immediately impressed with the decorations. The aquarium was extensively decorated throughout with water-related Halloween themes such as pirates and mermaids. Although there were a lot of skeletons, the decor was not frightening and even the smallest toddlers were not scared. There were five trick-or-treat stations set up throughout the aquarium. Be sure to have your kids bring bags for the stations. We didnt bring our trick-or-treat bags and definitely should have because my purse and pockets were overflowing with goodies by the end of the night. The treats were fantastic and were extremely well themed: Pirate’s Booty, Goldfish Crackers, chocolate coins, gummy alligator, Lifesavers, Chips Ahoy, sea life cards, and a pirate skeleton sucker.
My kids really enjoyed experiencing all their favorite exhibits at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. They really enjoyed interacting with the African Tortoises and watching one of the tortoises enjoy a pumpkin snack. I think for the first time ever, none of my kids were able to touch a stingray in the touch pool. Hauntaquarium drew a large crowd and the stingrays figured out how to avoid all the “two-finger touches”, a technique you learn in order to interact safely with the animals. However, another small touch experience was available in the room where the kids could interact with starfish and other small sea creatures.Mermaid Gem was also in the same room as the Coastal Gallery. After waiting in a short line, kids had a cute conversation with the mermaid that was filled with smiles from everyone. After a quick photo, Mermaid Gem gave each child the choice of a small shell or gem from her bowl. The shark exhibit had two costumed divers dressed as Slimer and a Ghostbuster. They did a great job interacting with the kids by giving high fives and writing notes. Although the divers drew quite a crowd, each kid was able to interact with them after a brief wait.
Next we headed upstairs to the Exploration Station. We had not yet seen the electric eel exhibit and the kids were excited to see a real electric eel as some of them did not believe they were real. Jungle Bob had several of his animals with him for the kids to interact with and learn about. The kids were amazed that his box of cockroaches ate an entire apple in under two hours!
In the Exploration Station, they also had a small craft where children could make a pirate’s parrot with a red solo cup.
Our last stop was the Riverview room. This room was full of activities for the kids. There were several games and activities such as walking the plank and a pumpkin toss. The lines for the balloon twisters and face painters were quite long so we opted to skip both of these activities. Zap the Pirate drew a small crowd with his table top magic act. We watched a few tricks, but it was difficult to hear with DJ Capt Willie in the house.
Before heading home, we walked out to the Riverview Patio to take in downtown Cleveland. Unfortunately, we missed Captain NEO and his kid-friendly ghost stories. Hopefully we will get to hear his tales next year.
We had a great time at the Hauntaquarium, and all four kids definitely want to return next year. Next time, I may attempt to go to the Hauntaquarium in the reverse order to avoid the crowds. We arrived at about 6:15 and seemed to move with a large group the entire evening. I am not sure that it is possible, but I would attempt hitting the Riverview Room and Exploration Station prior to the main aquarium next year. I will let you know how it goes!