Taking Baby to Aquarium Tips
Taking your baby to the aquarium can be one of the first of many exciting adventures you share together. However, from packing the diaper bag to reading the aquarium website, the difference between a fun trip and a big disaster is preparing for the day. Whether you’re taking your baby to the aquarium alone or bringing her along with big brothers and sisters, these 12 tips will ensure everyone has a good time.
1. Choose the right time to go
Before you even think about taking your baby to the aquarium, learn when it’s the least crowded. Taking your baby in large crowds can be a challenge.
For example, going during spring break or summer vacation in your town means it’ll be packed. You’re better off taking your baby to the aquarium on a random day in October.
Check with the facility to find out when the slowest times of year are, but if you must go during the busiest times of the year, go early in the morning to beat the crowds. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself waiting in line, and your baby will lose her patience.
2. Plan for the weather
Another thing to check into before you leave is the weather. If you’re taking your baby in hot weather, take extra precautions.
When you are taking your baby to the aquarium, you’ll likely spend most of your time inside, but if the facility has outdoor exhibits and displays, you’ll want to make sure you have the right gear for rain, extreme temperatures, and sun exposure, like jackets, sunscreen, and an umbrella.
It’s possible the weather may influence you to postpone your trip entirely. If you’re unsure about the temperature, dress your baby in layers — you can always add or remove some if it gets hot or cold.
3. Over-pack and bring your own stroller
You know that you should never leave home without your diaper bag, but when you’re taking your baby to the aquarium, it’s best to fill it up with some extras. It can be a long day if you don’t. You can’t go wrong with a few extra diapers, pacifiers, changes of clothing, toys, and snacks.
Unless the aquarium forbids it, always bring your own stroller from home. Rentals may be available, but your baby will be most comfortable in her own space, and you don’t have to worry too much about foreign germs. Even if your baby is walking now, you’ll regret not bringing that stroller after the first few exhibits.
4. Don’t forget food and drinks
Speaking of snacks, make sure you have plenty of whatever your baby eats and drinks.
Whether it’s bottles and formula or finger foods and sippy cups, they can be a great distraction for cranky babies and toddlers. If you’re going to be outdoors in the heat, make sure you have plenty of water so that your little one stays hydrated.
Don’t assume that the aquarium cafe will have baby and toddler-friendly snacks. Even if they do, they may be pretty expensive and crowded. Bringing food from home can help you avoid many meltdowns. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you bring any covers you may use in the event that you can’t find a private spot. If your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding, you may take a trip to the cafe.
5. Visit the aquarium’s website
Don’t head to the aquarium without learning more about it first. Check out the website to find out what all the aquarium offers visitors of all ages.
You can find out about showtimes, look for play areas aimed specifically at babies and toddlers, and find out if there are quiet spots where you can breastfeed or your baby can nap if necessary. If your baby won’t nap, try to find a more comfortable area.
You can also learn about stroller policies, ticket prices, and any special rules or age restrictions that may be in place for certain exhibits.
6. Take time to rest
Taking your baby to the aquarium for the first time is an exciting adventure, but you don’t have to do everything at once. If your little one gets hungry or tired, you’ll need to take a break for a snack or a nap.
Your willingness to rest every hour or so could mean the difference in spending the day there or leaving without getting to see the best exhibits.
7. Bring other adults
If possible, don’t take your baby to the aquarium alone, especially if you’re taking older children too. Bring a friend, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or babysitter to help you keep up with everyone.
You can take turns holding the napping baby or taking the older kids to see the exhibits with age restrictions. The more hands and eyes you have to help you, the better.
8. Talk to your baby
No matter how small your baby is, don’t assume she can’t or won’t’ have a good time.
Get her out of her stroller and let her see what’s going on around her. She may enjoy watching the fish swim around or simply watching the other people who are visiting the aquarium.
Talk to her about the fish and other creatures on display. She may not understand you, but talking to your infant from the moment she’s born helps her develop baby communication skills in the future.
9. Bring distractions
That said, your baby may have no interest in her surroundings at all. In that case, make sure you have plenty of distractions in the diaper bag or stroller. Snacks are a good start, but bring toys and books too. You may also consider stopping by the aquarium gift shop to pick up some fun toys and gear.
10. Spend plenty of time at visually and physically stimulating exhibits
Older babies and toddlers are likely to have some interest in what’s going on. Before taking your baby to the aquarium, find out which exhibits are the most visually stimulating.
For example, some aquariums have tunnels where you can walk under the fish tanks and watch creatures swim all around you. Others have lively shows that may appeal to multiple senses.
You’ll also want to look for hands-on exhibits where your little one can get down and play. Some aquariums have play yards with strict age limits so that even the smallest of visitors can have a good time without the big kids getting in the way.
11. Pay attention to your baby’s behaviors
Most babies just don’t have the patience to spend an entire day at the aquarium or any other unfamiliar place. Taking your baby to the aquarium probably means she’s stuck in the stroller most of the day, and she will get cranky. For this reason, it’s important to follow her lead and take a break or leave when she’s had enough.
Signs she’s ready to go home include:
- Refusing toys, food, and pacifiers
- Fussiness even when you’re holding her
Ignoring her clues that she’s ready to go isn’t fair to your baby or the other guests who are expecting a peaceful visit. Again, this is a great reason why it’s good to have extra adults around when taking your baby to the aquarium. If you have older children who aren’t ready to wind down just yet, one of you can take your baby to a quiet spot and sit for a while when she’s fussy.
12. Respect the animals and the aquarium staff
Last but not least, always respect the animals and the aquarium staff by ensuring your little one follows the rules. Don’t allow your baby or toddler to bang on the glass outside the of exhibits, as it may scare the animals inside.
If certain areas have rules about noise levels, don’t insist on taking your baby to these aquarium exhibits when she is screaming and fussing. In areas where you can touch or handle animals, don’t let your little one get too rough.
It’s also important to respect the staff when taking your baby to the aquarium. Don’t let her run wild and break things in the gift shop or make a mess of her snacks along a pathway. If you do run into a problem, ask a staff member for help instead of making an assumption about the facilities.