Last week we came face to face with hundreds of fins, millions of tentacles, teeth as sharp as razors, furry acrobatics, spines, gills, tails and shells.
It wasn’t a newly discovered monster of the deep we met at one of the Sunshine Coasts incredible beaches – we saw all of this and more at the amazing Sealife Aquarium in Mooloolaba.
The array of marine life on display is incredible – from the moment you walk through the door you are met with hundreds of different species of rays, fish, seahorses, clams, anenomes, sharks, coral, eels, octopus, jellyfish and much more! Not to mention a cat, polar bear and a penguin – but we’ll get onto more of that later!
Our first stop was the Tidal Touchpool – where the we got to roll up our sleeves and meet local rockpool residents. We got to say hello to and stroke a thorny sea star (surprisingly smooth!)
Ray of sunshine!
We then experienced the Ray Talk and Feed – did you know that some rays grow to be as big as a queen size bed?! Some of the more cheeky ones popped up to say hello and they all looked like they were smiling happily for the camera!
There are 3 species of these fascinating creatures at the aquarium – the Weedy and Leafy Sea Dragons and the Pot Bellied Seahorses and they are just the cutest things you’ll see all day (until you get to the seal show that is!)
The Seal Show
When you visit the Sealife Sunshine Coast definitely do not miss the seal show. It’s informative, mesmerising and belly laugh funny! Definitely a highlight of our day – make sure you also say hello to the burping seal on the way in (entertained our boys for ages!)
Reefs, Streams and Wrecks
As you make your way through the zones in the aquarium, you are taken through all the different marine environments of Australia. It is fascinating to see the diversity and the variety of sealife on display – and the boys were transifxed! The displays are really well presented – there is a great balance between exhibits to look at and things to get interactive with. There’s even a Jurassic Seas zone where you can meet prehistoric creatures who outlived the dinosaurs, and an ocean tunnel where you can experience giant rays, sharks and swordfish gliding above you.
This was one of my favourite areas – the jellyfish are absolutely mesmerising and standing in front of the giant, colour changing display is really hypnotising. There is also a real eye opening exhibit displaying plastic bags which make it so easy to understand how other marine life eat our rubbish thinking it is their food source.
The Sealife Sunshine Coast is committed to making a difference to marine life in Australia – and throughout our visit we were educated in the problems facing different species and what we can do to help.
A little bit like the Octonauts – the aquarium is dedicated to rescuing and protecting sealife – they have rehabilitated many animals and returned them to their natural habitat. They also breed endangered species such as the seahorse – never taking them from the wild, and campaign against damaging practises – such as captive whale and dolphin experiences.
Every visit to the aquarium helps support all their work and it is also great to learn of all the little things we can do to make a difference ourselves. Read more about their marine conservation work here.
You may have been wondering where the cat, polar bear and penguin come into it – and if you’re a parent of small kids you’ll probably recognise them as the stars of the Octonauts. At Sealife Sunshine Coast you come face to face with Captain Barnacle, Quasi and the crew and even get to drive the Gup-E! Such a hit with the little guys – it is integrated into the Billabong area of the aquarium so it feels as if you are on one of the Octonauts underwater mission – along with a real life creature report!
Near the exit of the aquarium there is also a lovely cafe (we enjoyed cake!) and a great softplay area – Shipwreck Shores.
Make sure your family visit to the Sunshine Coast includes a day at the Sealife Aquarium – you can get discounted tickets and up to date info on all their exhibits on their website.
Watch our video below for more of our photos and favourite bits!