This is one of the most family friendly places we went. Parking is free and close to the aquarium. Upon entering the area, we were so relieved that it was smoke free! The kids really enjoyed all the animals and sea life. They had many things we had not seen before. We spend about an hour there. We found a coupon at a local restaurant, so the price was not too bad. There is also a really kid friendly food court right outside the exit of the aquarium.
Shark Reef isn't very big, but it's fun., as long as you're not claustrophobic! My family and I had a very good time. You can see different sea life and walk through a tunnel that is in the water as sharks are swimming around you. There is one place in there that they change from time to time, so it's sometimes a treat when you go. At one time they had a tank with sting rays...then another time there was a tank with jellyfish. This is a place I would recommend for parents to take their children!
Tucked in the very back of the Mandalay Bay (and I do mean VERY back), the Shark Reef aquarium is a surprisingly kid-friendly place to take the little ones in a very adult themed city. It isn't cheap, but compared to the dollars you would drop in the casino during an hour or two, it is pretty reasonable.
The Reef is a small, high quality, interactive aquarium and zoo in the heart, but out of the heat, of Las Vegas. The aquarium is well thought out, beautifully themed, and easy to navigate. Plenty of informative panals are available for most exhibits, and the museum does a good job of explaining the consumer's role in pollution and environmental concerns.
The obvious draw to this aquarium is, of course, the sharks. The walkthrough tunnels are very similar to others I have been in (places like Sea World parks), and didn't seem to have nearly as many sharks as their competitors. HOWEVER, the underwater sunken ship shark tank was incredible!! The detail to theme takes over here as you enter what appears to be sunken remnants of an old ship. Sharks swim through dark and blue lit water around you, above you, and even under you where the "boat" has given out. It is pretty impressive and very creative. My girls LOVED this portion, as did I.
Hands on ray touch tanks help give kids the chance to get in and feel the action, as well as little stations where you can feel simulated shark skins and real shark eggs. Another cool area was the impressive jelly fish tank with tons of the little glowing guys, and the octopus tank, where the normally reclusive creatures were right at the front of the tank. I don't know if we were just incredibly lucky, but we got the most incredible view of a giant octupus- I couldn't believe it!
* Ticket lines get incredibly long during peak visiting seasons. You can order your tickets online in advance and pick them up at a much shorter window. Despite the crowds, the inside moved quite nicely.
* No snacks or drinks are allowed in the aquarium. You are allowed to bring bottled drinks in in a bag, but they are not to be taken out during your visit. Plan snack time before or after.
* Strollers are allowed & there is plenty of space for navigating.
* Restrooms are toward the end of the exhibit; use the ones outside the aquarium before you enter for easiest access.
* A ton of cute souvenirs are available in the gift shop exit so plan accordingly and be prepared for the non-stop, "Can I get this??" cries from your little ones.
* The entire exhibit can be seen fully in about an hour.
Disclosure: I received complimentary admission to the Shark Reef for the purpose of this review. I was not required to state any particular view; all opions are my own.
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For some reason, I thought this exhibit was going to be enormous. It wasn't. I think you could walk straight through it without stopping in about 5-10 minutes. At the end we had a "that's it?" feeling.
Are we glad we did it? Definitely yes. In a sea of casinos and buffets, this was a welcome relief. We brought our daughter to a weekend in Las Vegas where, frankly, there isn't a ton for an almost 5-year-old to do on the strip.
She LOVED the jellyfish tank and the place where you pet the horseshoe crabs and rays. They have a few small places where you can stand and look down into the aquariums, which she liked too.
I will warn you that you exit via a gift shop. I gave in and bought a few things. So it was an expensive little trip, but I'm glad we did it.
Also, we were staying at the Four Seasons/Mandalay which was about a 10 minute walk (or maybe a bit longer, it felt like forever with a 5-year-old.).
Upon entering the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef exhibit, I forgot I was still in the middle of the desert in Las Vegas. The sheer size of the aquariums made me feel that I was at one of the aquariums closer to the ocean. My boys were very excited to get the passport that was handed out that explained the different shark and animal species that were located in the exhibit. They were also very excited to get to pet the manta ray in the touch tank. The staff was very helpful and informative. They were very patient with my boys’ questions. A couple of the attractions got a bit backed up which made it a bit hard for us to see the animals, but overall, it moved through pretty smoothly. This is a great exhibit for all ages. I felt the price was ok; children 3 and under were free, and my 3 year old thoroughly enjoyed it. While I was surprised by the size of the exhibit, we were able to go through it in about an hour. I would recommend it as a great place to visit if you have the money.
The Shark Reef isn’t just any aquarium. It’s North America’s only predator-based aquarium. The facility’s 14 exhibits feature some 100 sharks plus exotic fish, reptiles and sea turtles, a rare golden crocodile, piranha, plenty of jelly fish and rays, a touch pool experience and a 1.3 million gallon shark exhibit.
All this is presented with décor designed to make you feel as if you’ve been transformed into an ancient temple that is slowly sinking into the bottom of the ocean. The grand finale is a 360-degree view of the shark tank in surroundings designed to replicate the inside of a sunken ship.
I must admit that we enjoyed this place a lot more before our oldest turned 5. That’s because kids 4 and under get in for free, while kids 5 and up cost $11! Add to that the $17 entry fee for adults and the fact that the Aquarium only offers about 45 minutes’ worth of entertainment, and suddenly it doesn’t seem so inviting – at least for your wallet.
But the kids always enjoy it. Big hits with ours (who were 5 ½ and 2 during our most recent visit) included the golden crocodile, Kimodo dragon, the rays, the jellyfish, the touchtank and of course, the sharks in the 360-degree “shipwreck” tank.
A free audio tour is provided (via wand), but even the 5-½ year old was only mildly interested. The facilities are stroller-friendly, though you’ll need to use the elevator to enter & exit. Food & drinks are not available or permitted within the Shark Reef Aquarium, so plan accordingly. And beware of the exit – it’s through the Aquarium’s gift shop!
Insider tip: Play “I spy” using the Aquarium “Passport” to guide your search. This free, 20-page full color booklet is the perfect size for little kids. It’s divided up by sections with several animals pictured on each page, making it perfect for “I spy.”
One of the few really kid oriented places in Vegas. This is actually a GREAT aquarium. They have a "please touch" area too which the kids always love. Plus, you get to go at your own pace but still have a guided tour with their little handheld tour guides.
One of the few things you can do as a whole family. The aquarium is so neat here. The have an area where it appears that you are walking into a sunken ship and the windows are around it like your looking out the ship. They have a spot where you can touch some different types of sea creatures and they have hand sanitizer and towels everywhere so that is nice. There is also a bunch of different animals like a croc. and a komodo dragon, that was really cool to see! Its kind of more than I wanted to spend but it’s worth it!
I took my 21 year old brother, my 13 year old sister and my 2 year old daughter here. All 4 of us had a great time! The older kids loved listening to the headphone tour, and my daughter was glued to the tanks watching the fish swim around. There is a big tunnel you can go through with the aquarium on all sides of you. My daughter loved watching the fish and sharks swim over her. The very best part of this whole aquarium is the sting-ray touch tank. We stayed there and pet the sting-rays for close to a half hour. What a cool experience! It's definitely not Sea World, but for about $35 for all of us, it was totally worth the price!
A great attraction for families with young kids. A small aquarium, but lots to see. You can also touch small sting rays and leopard rays and other sea creatures. There is a walk through tunnel surrounded by fish, sharks and other sea creatures that is mesmerizing, and you can walk through it at your leisure so that the kids can take it all in.
This is great for the whole family. You get hand held devices so you can learn about each of the sharks or animals or you can opt to just walk through. My 1 yr old (at the time) loved it. Something you dont expect when you go to Vegas but nice to get away from gambling and experience something different. Its a bit on the pricey side but if you plan on spending most of the day it will pay for its self. We let our little one walk around since the Aquarium is so big.
This is a very small aquarium. The guided headphone tour is very long winded. Too much for a young child. It is very beautiful and well taken care of. The sea life is mesmerizing. We stay at Mandalay Bay at least 6 times a year and I have taken my daughter, now 19 months, every time since she was 3 months for a 30 minute sight seeing tour of the fish. It still entertains her, and it gives us something to do while Daddy is gambling!
It's nice because she likes it ,but still just OK.
The gift shop is nice. They have something for everyone's budget.
We had a great time at this aquarium walking through the different rooms, especially the see through tunnel which allows the sharks and other sea life to swim over your head! The touch pool allows you to get up close and personal with many different types of sea creatures! My son had a great time looking at everything. So fun! :)
I don't often trek down to casinos for child entertainment purposes, but we do generally go to the Shark Reef at least once a year and whenever we have guests with children visiting. It's a bit pricey for an hours worth of entertainment, but children really seem to enjoy it. Some of our favorite areas are the jellyfish tank and the "Touch Pool." But mostly we tend to spend our time there watching sharks swim all around us in the Shark Tunnel. If you are visiting Las Vegas with children, you can't go wrong taking them here.
We've always enjoyed going to Shark Reef, but my two year old has just recently begun to appreciate it. Before now she was content to ride through in her stroller, but it's even more fun now that she's excited about the sea life. We attended a birthday party with a guided tour for a five year old there recently and he and his friends were in heaven. It was awesome to have the guide and the birthday room was a lot of fun too! When my kids are older I'll bet at least one of them is going to have a birthday party there.
We've taken our son there several times already and he never gets enough. He really likes the "petting" tank, where he got to touch small sharks and rays. This is pricey, even with the local's discount. But Las Vegas locals can get two free tickets (while they last) if they mail their tax-return from Mandalay Bay on April 15. That's how we've done it the last two years.
My kids love to go there and stare for hours. They love the jelly fish tank that seems like it changes colors. There is a spot where the aquarium is like a tunnel and the sharks are swimming all around. They have a cute gift shop on the way out. Kids love the live tank where they can touch certain fish. I do feel that its pricey and some what small.
My husband and i took our son here last week. He loved peering through the glass at all of the sea creatures. (bonus points for the floor to ceiling glass on some of the exhibits. Makes it easy for really little ones to see and enjoy.) Shark Reef tends to be crowded because of its location, and for its size I think the admission price is too steep. (There is a discount for locals.)
My son really enjoyed it. He was almost 1 yr old and had a blast there. We were a little disappointed with how short/small it was, but for being in the hotel it was big. We took the bus down there, which is a pain if you have a stroller. So if you are close, I would walk. We ended up walking back to our hotel just so we didn't have to deal with the bus.
It can get a little pricey but they do offer discounts for locals, military, etc. They have an area where you can touch certain sea life which will entertain the kids for quite a long time. A tunnel where the sharks can swim around you. My kids love the jelly fish tank. I would give it more stars if it was a little bigger.