Had a recent visit to the Mystic Aquarium on a weekend trip. As this was a planned trip, I purchased my entrance ticket in advance, online. When I arrived, I found the parking lot to be quite full, and a long line of people waiting to get in. A quick check at the ticket booth to ask if I needed to wait in the line, I was told that because I had pre-purchased I could bypass the ticket line and go right in.
At the main entrance I was informed that some of the areas of the aquarium were closed for winter maintenance and renovations. An understandable inconvenience for the time of the year. I may plan a future trip in warmer weather.
My first stop was the 4D theater. The movie was Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs, the 4D Experience. The movie was an animated short with the 3D glasses as well as some other little surprises along the way. If I were to have a complaint about the movie, it would be that it was a little too short for the extra cost.
From there I went out to the large main tank with the beluga whales. The two of them seemed very playful and liked to put on a show for the people. The tank is outdoors and has not inside viewing areas and the day was a bit overcast, but for mid-February it was a rather nice day to spend outside.
Next up I went inside the main building to enjoy the different exhibits. The one I was most looking forward to seeing was the Weird & Wonderful exhibit. First up was a section devoted to the different breeds of jelly fish, each in their own individual tanks with plenty of information about each variety. After the jelly fish was another area of tanks filled with some of the strangest fish I have ever seen. I do not want to get to specific and spoil the fun, but I will say that it was very interesting, entertaining and educational all wrapped up in one strange package.
Around the inside area of the aquarium were loads more tanks and displays of all manner of fish and other water creatures. Sadly, one of the closed off areas was the Shark Lagoon. There was an open pool of small sharks that visitors could pet if they were so inclined, I did. One of the rules for the petting of these sharks is that you could not touch them as they swam by, you had to wait till one stopped to rest within your reach. As I was reaching in and petting a resting shark, another swam up just out of my vision and scared the daylights out of me, not knowing what it was going to do. Other than swim by, it did nothing else.
Back out doors to walk around the outside areas. The seal tanks were interesting to watch, but winter time has no shows to see. The penguins seemed at home and were being playful for people watching them. A walk around the boardwalk past the dormant monarch butterfly area and through the open frozen march. I imagine these two areas are brimming with life during warmer weather, winter time not so much. Back around to another of the seasonal exhibits, the birds of the outback.
The last area, and unfortunately closed for renovations, was the Foxwoods Marine Theater that when open features a sea lion show. A quick walk through the gift shop to see if there was anything I wanted, all I got was my usual attraction keychain to add to my collection.
I had a good time during my visit. I do recommend visiting during warmer weather as a large amount or the aquarium is outdoors and subject to the seasons. Purchasing tickets in advance is also a good idea if you know exactly when you are going to visit, the prepurchased tickets are dated. I would also recommend that you plan on at least three hours to fully enjoy this attraction.