Ever since Jacobs Investments announced that they would be bringing an aquarium to Cleveland and put it in the Powerhouse I was overjoyed! But then they told us we could not bring a stroller and I was not looking forward to it anymore. So, I have been holding off going to check it out because the idea of taking Baby Girl somewhere that I can't strap her in, as needed, scared the dickens out of me (especially paying $21.95 for myself and $15.95 for each kid). What would I do if she had a temper tantrum or got tired? Leave? Carry her? She is two and heavy, we would have to leave.
As luck would have it, this past June we were given the opportunity to check it out and even though we could not take a stroller (you can during the week) we braved the elements of her mood swings to explore the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. To say we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement.
I want to start by saying that the Powerhouse holds a very special place in my heart. You see, I spent all of my twenties working in and around the Nautica Complex. I started at Club 1148 when I was 19 years old and over the twelve or so years that I worked there I saw Club 1148 become the short lived Louvre and a little longer lived Caliente. I also worked at the Improv, TGI Fridays and PowerPlay. Working there was some of the best times of my life - seeing it as an aquarium is such a shock, a pleasant one, but a shock nonetheless.
When you first start the tour you go through the Ohio Lakes & Rivers. Not going to lie - the kids kind of skipped through this area and went straight for Exotic Freshwater. I think we spent the most of our time here and at the Coastal exhibit. Both kids were enamored by the sting rays and would have probably really enjoyed the touch tanks if they got a chance to touch something. I think the guides took one look at Baby Girl and thought, "heck, no!" because they stated far away from us.
For some strange reason, Goofy was obsessed on finding the lobsters and were thrilled to find them above our heads! One of the stacks you can see straight up (some 200 odd feet) and the other held the lobsters. Even I was amazed!
As I walked through the aquarium, I was awed by how they kept the integrity and charm of the Powerhouse while showcasing 35 exhibits. They left the exposed brick and built exhibits into the structure. Reading the website, it explains what was there when it was a power plant but all I see is what was there just a few short years ago. The entrance of the aquarium was once Howl at the Moon where pianos dueled. The touch tanks stand where the game room floor of PowerPlay once was and the underwater walkway was where Improv was before moving across the parking lot. The hallway that once housed the pinball machines and the office of PowerPlay now has brilliant fish tanks. It is just crazy and wonderful!
My favorite exhibit was the Shark Tank. Those majestic animals are so graceful and beautiful. One of the cool events that the aquarium was offering when we were there was yoga with the sharks. You can actually be doing downward dog while a shark watches you! My six year old wants to do ZZZs with the Seas Overnight. Yep, you would be sleeping with the fishes! I think I would stick to the yoga.
As much as we loved it, I wish there was more for the kids to do, especially for the price. I know it costs a lot to run the aquarium but after paying for parking ($5 on weekends/$3 weekdays) and then admission, a Saturday trip to the aquarium for a family of four will make your wallet $80 lighter. Let's not even talk snacks at the Nautica Café or souvenirs from the gift shop. It would be well worth the price of the family annual pass ($130) if you want to go more then once.
Now it's your turn! Here is your chance to win four tickets to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium! Not from Cleveland? Good news! I will give them to The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland to give to a family who is staying with them.
The kids and I got free tickets to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium but did not receive any money for our opinions. Opinions are 100% ours. I will donate the tickets to The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland if winner can't use them or does not want them.