Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast | The Review
If your kids love the ocean and sea animals then it is worth the drive to Mooloolaba to visit Sea Life Sunshine Coast. Full of hands-on experiences, display and shows, Sea Life allows the whole family to get up close and personal with the animals in a way that would not be possible, unless you were actually scuba diving in the ocean!
The Ocean Tunnel at Sea Life Mooloolaba
By far the highlight of Sea Life in Mooloolaba is the Ocean Tunnel. Full of sharks and sting rays, the 3.5 million dollar investment is money well spent as the whole family can wander through the tunnel and marvel at the 8 species of sharks including the Sandbar Whaler and Wobbygong as they swim over head. Turtles, rays and other fish also feature in the Ocean tunnel.
The favourite part for our family was the Stingrays in the Bay of Rays section, which included a spotty leopard ray that fascinated each of us. Master 9 decided that as he had never seen one before it must be the rarest species of stingray, maybe even endangered (note: this is a personal opinion only and was not confirmed by Sea Life staff members). The Bay of Rays also features a range of gliding rays, including the Cownose Ray, and the largest and most impressive of the rays, the smooth stingray. At over 2 meters in length, this creature is beautiful to watch gliding through the water. All the rays gave us a cute smile as they swam above us.
Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast actually offer the opportunity to swim with the sharks in the tank if you are brave enough, and during school holidays families can sleep under the sea for the night in the tunnel for a truly unique experience.
Tidal Touch Pool and Other Hands On Activities
As soon as you walk in to Sea Life (and just after you have a family photo taken against the green screen), the first stop is the tidal touch pool. Master 9 and Miss 7 spent ages here taking a closer look at the starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. The best bit is that this section is totally interactive and putting your hands in to feel and touch everything is encouraged. The kids were totally fascinated by the sharks eggs that were nothing like they expected and all their questions were answered by Sea Life staff who man the tidal touch pool.
Moving through the exhibits there are lots of interactive experiences for the kids. Most of the zones have iPad type touch devices where the kids can find out more about the species in the tanks via a touch screen which allows them to press on the animals they see in the tanks and access information about that animal.
There are telescopes to look through so everyone can have a better look at things like the mermaid purses (also known as sharks eggs, but mermaid purses sounds so much more interesting!), and little caves to climb through so you can pop your head up inside the tank and get a closer look and if you are lucky, you may even be able to find Nemo.
Sea Island gives you the chance to view the seals, as well as having 3 presentations daily. The presentations introduce the audience to Groucho and Bella, the Australian Fur Seals, and Portia the Australian Sea Lion. All seals in the show have been rescued and rehabilitated at Sea Life. While the seals swim, slide and have fun with the presenter while receiving fish as rewards, the presentation also provides a lot of facts and useful information about seals, their habits and lifestyle.
The last exhibition before you exit Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast is the Jellyfish Kingdom. Full of hundreds of these mesmerising creatures, the jellyfish look even more amazing as they are lit up in different colours in the tanks and there’s even a glow in the dark section that is super cool! And don’t forget the camera as everyone has to get the token photo with the Jelly fish in the background – it makes an awesome picture!
Other Sea Life Exhibitions
Sea Life makes sure that no water animal is forgotten, with a number of different exhibitions focusing on different environments and animals. Other than the exhibitions listed above, Sea Life Sunshine Coast also features a Seahorse Sanctuary, the Coastal Wreck, Billabongs, Fresh Water Streams and the Pacific Reef, where if you are really lucky, you will find Nemo, Dory and all their reef friends.
Sea Life Tours
If you want more information on each of the exhibits, or you have Brisbane Kids who ask a lot of questions you don’t always know the answers to, then make sure you have a look before you go and plan your day at Sea Life to make the most of the are guided tours scheduled throughout the day. Lead by experienced and knowledgeable Sea Life staff, the tours provide you with lots of useful information and the chance to ask questions about the animals you see along the way. Plus, you also get the insider secrets like how to make the fish spit in the Billabongs section (FYI you need something shiny so they think it is an insect they would like to catch), and why there is only fake coral in the tanks.
A must see tour is the ray feeding that is held twice daily – Master 9 and Miss 7 loved this experience! The best bit is that all the tours and feedings are included in your ticket at no extra charge.
A full range of updated tour times can be found on the Sea Life Website here.
Sea Life Aquarium Playground and Cafe
On exiting Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast there is an indoor ship wreck themed playground suitable for kids under 8 years. The 3 level playground featuring a twisty slide, climbing frames and fun obstacles is a great way to end your visit at Sea Life. Just outside is also a cafe that sells a range of food, drinks, snacks and ice creams that will allow the whole family to refuel before heading home.
Sea Life Aquarium Experiences
At an additional cost, Sea Life offers a range of once in a lifetime experiences with the animals. Behind the scene tours, shark diving and snorkeling, an ocean rangers program, and ‘sleep under the sea’ are just some of the experiences on offer. Sea Life also host birthday parties should you be looking for a unique venue for your Brisbane Kids next birthday party.
The range of experiences, including prices,can be found here.
Sea Life Aquarium Sunshine Coast: The Facts
Sea Life is located in Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, approximately 1 hour’s drive north of Brisbane. Opening hours are 9am – 5pm daily (except Christmas Day), with last entries at 4pm. It is recommended that if you have children with sensory issues to come on a weekday after 1pm when the majority of crowds have gone. There is also wheelchair access if required.
Parking is available for free onsite, although it is limited and during peak times, weekend and holidays you may need to find parking in the streets nearby.
Sea Life is across the road from the beach at Mooloolaba, and only a short 2 minute stroll to the main esplanade in Mooloolaba which is full of great cafes and shops. If you are driving up from Brisbane you can really make a it a full day of fun for the family.
For more information on Sea Life Sunshine Coast, and to book tickets and experiences, please click here.