Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration Mystic, Connecticut

Last weekend my family and I were able to go down to Mystic, CT and enjoy the Mystic Aquarium. Johnny has always wanted to visit an aquarium since he has such a love for sea life. For the past three years he has told us when he’s older he’s going to college in FL and becoming a marine biologist. We knew part of encouraging them is too make him aware of all we can and by bringing him to the Mystic Aquarium was a great start.
Once you walk up its very easy to get in. The staff is friendly and you’ll notice that many of their staff are there on a voluntary basis! So grab an exhibit map and get going. The layout is nice and you can easily maneuver around the entire park without missing anything.
The boys were so excited to be here. They must have spent forever at the very first hands on exhibit. I came to the Mystic Aquarium when I was a child and my only memory of it was touching the cownose rays when you first walk in. I loved that this was still a feature!
As you can see better here the cownose rays are good size. There are many of them in the tank and they just love to be pet. They come right up to your hand!
If your concerned with the germ factor of all the touching here you can rest assure that next to every hands on station there is a cleaning station close by.
Mystic Aquarium has a new exhibit called ‘Shark Encounters‘ where you can touch sharks!
Johnny’s biggest fascination with sea life is with sharks. This exhibit was one of his favorites of the days. He loved being able to touch the White-spotted bamboo sharks.
The Mystic Aquarium inside exhibits are incredible. There are so many creatures for you to see from sea turtles, sharks, and sea horses to poison dart frogs. My kids just stared in amazement tank after tank.We were expecting some large vicious teeth to be on the piranha.
Speaking of teeth check out this shark. Johnny actually sat on one of the benches and just watched them circle the tank. We found it fascinating that they always stayed together,.
As for me I love the gentle creatures of the sea. If you look behind this beautiful turtle you’ll see there are many different sea life is this large tank.
This is my favorite photo from the entire day. I absolutely love his face. He just kept gliding around the glass like this. Doesn’t it look like he’s smiling at us?
We took advantage of this bench and decorative wall for a nice photo op.
Right now the Mystic Aquarium has a ‘Jellies: The Ocean In Motion‘ Exhibit. You can see so many different kinds of jellyfish. I personally never would have imagined they all looked so different from one another. Right now in their exhibit they have the following species:

  • Moon Jellies
  • Comb Jellies
  • Purple Striped Jelly
  • Upside-Down Jelly
  • Blue Jelly
  • Spotted (or Lagoon) Jelly

Jellies really are stunningly beautiful creatures. Here are some of the great shots I was able to get of the jellies!

The next exhibit we stopped at was the ‘Birds of the Outback‘.

“This amazing interactive exhibit is the only one of its kind in New England. The enclosed 1,200-square-foot aviary houses hundreds of colorful cockatiels, parakeets and rosellas, all native to Australia. With the $3 exhibit entry fee (plus aquarium admission), guests receive a millet seed stick for feeding the birds.”

This was so much fun. Even the hubby who stated there was no way he was going in had a fun time in there. When you walk in you’re handed a popsicle stick with bird seed attached.

It is so cool when the birds come down to eat from you. The kids thought this was one of the coolest things ever.
Just let me give you fair warning- both boys were pooped on. Luckily we had baby wipes on hand to remove them! Johnny actually had up to three birds at one point!
When you take the Marsh Trek to get to the other exhibits you’ll get to see thousands of tadpoles right now. We saw them in so many stages! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place in my whole life! Of course the boys loved when the bullfrogs bellowed!
When you stop by the The Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit you’ll get to see so many cute endangered African penguin and learn all about them from their caregiver. We loved that if you go in the building you can see them from underwater too!
Next stop – Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions! Did you know that the Mystic Aquarium is one of four facilities in the nation where you can see Steller sea lions or Northern fur seals?
We arrived in perfect timing to see them feed. It was so much fun to watch them with their caregiver and to see just how amazingly smart these seals & lions are!
When we looped back around to the main area we were able to see the Beluga Whales. I loved that we could see them both above and below water. I had tried and tried to get photos of them before with no luck. It was so much easier below. Their Kela Beluga Whale underwent the first-ever beluga whale artificial insemination in 2005!
We caught up with their Octopus for another great photo opportunity!
We made a stop to the ‘Deep Sea 3D XD Theater‘!
There is a height limit to go into this XD theater. Gavin just barely made the cut. I did hold his hand onto his handle just in case. This is really cool and brings you far below the sea in a 3D adventure like you’re in the sub yourself!
Please note: Additional fee applies – $3 per person for the Deep Sea 3D Motion Ride. Must be 40 inches tall to ride. Other ride restrictions apply.
We had to make a stop into their gift store. I can’t believe I didn’t take a pic! I think it’s because I was so busy in there. It’s huge and there are so many different options for both kids and adults! I got another shot glass to add to my collection and I let both kids pic something. Johnny picked out a really interested book about sharks and Gavin picked out one a toy Beluga Whale.
We love squishing pennies and do them everywhere we can! Johnny even has a collector’s book for them. Of course each of them made their very own pennies!
You leave the same way you came in. Remember to grab a look at your photo they took when you came in. Remember the sales of the sold pictures go back into the aquarium!

I highly recommend the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. for admission prices you can check out their site and they even have special family and group pricing. If you don’t live near by it is worth getting a hotel and spending the night like we did. The surrounding town is so beautiful and there is so much to do!

For more information about Mystic, CT please visit

Momspotted Review Policy: I was provided with admission for myself and my family its in order to give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but it was not influenced in any manner by any monetary means.


  1. stephanie muth says

    wow that aquarium looks more fun then the new england aquarium.

  2. Now those are some really, really neat pictures. My grandson’s would go crazy for this place. You sure make it look inviting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lena says

    I used to live 10 min away from Mystic, CT and never got the opportunity to visit the aquarium. It looks like a lot of fun!

  4. Jen Gonyer says

    I love Mystic Aquarium! My grandmother used to take us all the time. She worked at Digital and they were always doing trips to different places and Mystic was one of them. I haven’t been there in years, and when I say years, I mean years! I’m sure it’s totally different now and I should take the kids and visit there soon, maybe this summer. It would give me a chance to try Mystic Pizza too…LOL! Does Johnny still want to be a Marine Biologist? That would be a great job! Very interesting and you never stop learning! As I write this, you are currently at Mystic! Sawyer is probably having a blast…never too young to start teaching! I’m sure all of you are having fun! Enjoy your vacation!

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