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Go fish at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Ally Fang McFluffypants and a smiling turtle at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

Our beloved Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit has been closed for many years but it is making progress to reopen. It’s been open for the annual “Shiver on the River” and, more recently, for other special occasions. People are working very hard to make this happen and I can’t wait!

In the meantime, where do you go if you want to visit an aquarium? Shedd in Chicago is a bit too far so might I suggest the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. I had the pleasure to visit this new Cleveland attraction two weeks ago and they’ve got a pretty good thing going on.

It’s housed in a former powerhouse in the Flats district of Cleveland. The 35 tanks are nicely laid out and I would say a family with kids could spend a good hour and a half to two hours here—it’s perfect for the younger kiddos.

The glass tunnel—very similar to the one in the polar bear exhibit at the Detroit Zoo—is a delight to walk through and offers some pretty cool photo ops.

Besides the beautiful aquarium exhibits, they have some creative programming. You can do yoga with the sharks! To be fair, the sharks aren’t doing yoga; you just get to watch them as you do your best downward-facing dog. Other experiences include Zzz’s in the Seas—an overnight where you can sleep with the fish, back of house tours and a chance to feed the sharks and stingrays.

They also have “animal encounters” where they get you up-close-and-personal with one of their own. We had the pleasure of meeting a year-and-a-half-old baby alligator. She was damn cute but I was sad that she didn’t have a name. (Not that anyone cares but I’ve named her Ally Fang McFluffypants.)

Near the end of the exhibits you’ll find yourself at a touch pool where you’re encouraged to touch the starfish, stingrays and a few other creatures. Yes, you’re allowed to touch the fishy fish! The kids—and adults too—really enjoyed this and I have to say, I’ve never seen this kind of interaction allowed before.

I hope that when the Belle Isle Aquarium does reopen for good—and it will—that they have the same type of creative programming as the Greater Cleveland Aquarium to keep generations coming back and supporting the aquarium for years.

This was our first time in Cleveland and besides the aquarium we also took in the West Side Market, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the restaurants and nightlife of East Fourth Street. Whenever I venture into another city, I am reminded about what Detroit is doing right and what it could improve on. Our visit to Cleveland wasn’t any different but more on that at another time.

Disclosure: My husband and I received a free visit to the aquarium with a one-night hotel stay as part of a blogger event. Words and opinions are my own.

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Reader Comments (5)

Nice posting! This aquariums zoo seems to be interesting and i would love to visit this place.

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

We've been there last July, and the place was wonderful. I found the biggest Lion Fish in my whole in there. You know i am so fond with fishes since then that i started having a small aquarium shop i called marine fish keeping.

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