When I heard they were building a seawater attraction at the Boulevard Mall, just off the Las Vegas Strip, I kind of scoffed at the idea. The Boulevard Mall was once the premiere shopping center in Las Vegas. Today? Not so much. An empty shell of what was once a great shopping destination in a neighborhood that had seen its better days.
Now I come to learn that Boulevard Mall is on the cutting edge of the shopping mall evolution and Seaquest Interactive Aquarium is planning to ride that wave by having one of their first locations at the Boulevard Mall. The aquarium is the first of many new ideas coming to the revamped mall and very little of that has to do with retail shopping and will be focused more on family attractions. Being a short Uber ride from the middle of Las Vegas Strip, Seaquest is hitting it on all sides.
As one who came late to the whole “family ” thing, I’m catching on quickly. Actually, I married into the grandkid stage, so I get to spoil them and send them home, but that’s a different post. With that in mind, I found this is to be a fun and affordable place geared for anyone with kids. That kind of explains its location. Close to the Strip and yet in the heart of Vegas suburbia.
If you are like me, you are thinking “another aquarium in Las vegas?” We already have the Silverton aquarium, the big one behind the front desk at the Mirage and of course the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. But can you pet a stingray or have an iguana climb up on your shoulder at any of these. No, you can’t. But you get to do that here and you don’t have to be a big spender or whale to do it. That’s what makes this place different. As the name suggests, its interactive and very educational, not to mention just plain fun.
Like most petting attractions, you can get cups of food and experience first hand how a stingray eats or how an eel that has two sets of jaws devours its prey. You can even suit up and swim with the stingrays! This is something Las Vegas has been missing as it matures into a city for everyone to visit and live.
I like how the aquariums and exhibits are set up so that as you wander through it, you visit several regions of the world, including the Amazon rain forest, the California coast, and the Caribbean. I found that the staff here are very friendly and informative. Helping you understand what you are looking at and what it’s all about. I also like how in a fun, interactive way, you are also learning about the importance of plant life and sea life and how we all interact with each other in some small. (don’t worry, plenty of hand sanitizers and paper towels are placed throughout the place!)
Not only can you get to swim with the stingrays, but if you have a group of kids, parents or business associates and want to do something really different, you can spend the night with the sharks. Do an overnight retreat or birthday party and have the place to yourselves. They also have mermaids on the weekends. Like I said, they have something for just about everybody.
Everyone is Invited
When I was learning about the place and the people behind it, I discovered two of the investors in the project, Erin and Brad Boyle, have a special needs child, so they built true wheelchair accessibility into the exhibits, especially the stingray aquarium. Everyone is invited and welcomed to participate. In setting up the facility, they made it a priority to connect with all the various school and social groups as well as other family-friendly attractions with plans to offer cross marketing promotions and discounts with them. Of course, you have the usual Military, senior and kids discounts. Bonus: Teachers and foster children are always free!
As a fan of people watching, it was interesting to see the wide variety of people here in the middle of the week. From teens to grandparents, families and just small groups of adults walking around and getting involved in the feedings, the pettings and the touching of the various aqua and reptile life represented here. The adults seemed to have as much fun and interest in the aquariums as the kids did.
To be honest, I was not expecting to have as much fun as I did watching the others play and interact. The feeding and ability to have birds land on your arms or iguanas climb on your shoulders or stingrays take food from your fingers was making us want to come back and with 7 grandkids, I see a few more trips back there this summer. Add to that the Discovery Museum downtown, I’m seeing just a really busy summer with the grandkids!
It’s also nice to see what is planned for the Boulevard Mall that will enhance the overall experience for people coming to visit Seaquest. New attractions as well as some new retail in what is now a pretty vacant mall. Being so close to other things to do, see and eat can make for a fun family afternoon no matter if you are a tourist or a Vegas local.
In Las Vegas parlay, they had a “soft opening” in December and are doing the final nips and tucks to the place with plans for the big grand opening April 28-30. So mark it on your calendar!
SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium
The Boulevard Mall
3528 S. Maryland Pkwy.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
website: Seaquest vegas
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Disclosure: I received a free pass for the purposes of reviewing the SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium. All opinions expressed are truthful and 100% my own.
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