The Orlando Sea Life Aquarium covers around 25,000 square feet and includes a 360 degree underwater ocean tunnel, around 30 separate displays containing over 5,000 sea creatures and a children’s play area. It is designed to be both educational and fun for all the family.
It is a great attraction for families with young children as there are lots of activities to keep them interested and amused.
There are a number of interactive displays, for example there is a tank of jelly fish where you can press buttons to change the colour of the lighting and a touch screen exhibit of rays and sharks where you can experience 360 degree views of the different species and compare your eyesight with that of a hammerhead shark.
There are also “glass bubbles” that allow you to get right inside some of the tanks for a really close up look at some of the sea creatures.
As you enter the attraction there is an opportunity to pose for official photographs. Then as you exit the attraction you will be given the chance to purchase a souvenir photo book containing your photos.
After the photos there is a pre-show area where you can watch a short film in a 360 degree aquarium prior to entering the main exhibit.
Main Orlando Sea Life Aquarium Exhibits
The attraction itself is divided into a number of themed zones and showcases the three main oceans, the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean.
In “Ocean Caves” you can pop up inside the tanks and see spiny lobsters and moray eels face to face at close quarters and in the “Coral Sea” you can walk through acrylic tunnels to see amazing coloured corals.
For the ultimate underwater experience, in one section of the Atlantic Ocean there is a complete 360 degree acrylic tunnel with fish swimming all around you including underneath you.
The range of sea creatures is amazing, everything from large sharks and a goliath grouper down to tiny seahorses.
In the “Stingray Cove” exhibit you can watch stingrays glide gracefully by as well as the rather strange horseshoe crabs that scuttle across the seabed.
The penultimate exhibit is the “Everglades Wetlands” where you can see some of the many freshwater fish that live in Florida’s wetlands.
The last exhibit is the “Coastal Rockpools” where there is a chance to get slightly wet when you can touch some of the spiny urchins, star fish, hermit crabs and anemones. Staff are on hand to answer any questions.
From here you can either start the tour again or exit through the gift shop.
Expect to spend between one and two hours at the Sea Life Aquarium.
Sea Treasures Shop
When you exit the Sea Life Aquarium you go through the Sea Treasures Shop where you can buy a range of soft plush toys and other gifts.
Other Merlin Attractions and Tickets
As the Orlando Sea Life Aquarium is part of the I-Drive 360 complex, you can also visit one or more of the Merlin attractions on International Drive:
Dive Log Book
If you have young children, don’t forget to pick up a Dive Log Book for them as you enter. The book helps to promote awareness of the marine environment .
Located throughout the attraction are “Dive Stations” where children can participate in various activities and get a stamp in their books. At the end of the visit, you can claim a reward at the Sea Treasures Shop.
Other Sea Life Aquariums
Like Madame Tussauds, Sea Life is a global brand. Merlin Entertainments currently operate around 35 Sea Life aquariums around the world and they feature sharks, penguins, crocodiles, octopus, rays, seahorses and turtles as well as hundreds of species of tropical fish.