Are you thinking of going to the Draper Aquarium? The Loveland Living Aquarium is amazing!
This is one attraction to add to your Salt Lake City itinerary.
The Living Planet Aquarium is actually located in Draper, Utah which is just south of Salt Lake City. The aquarium is always expanding and making things better and better.
Let’s explore all about the aquarium so that you can plan your adventure at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.
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Tickets to Living Planet Aquarium
Seniors, Teens, Military, College Student: $16.95
Children under 2 are free
10:00 am – 6:00pm
Mondays are extended hours to 8:00 pm plus a family discount of $5 off per ticket.
If you live nearby and are considering an annual membership they will usually pay for themselves within 2-3 visits.
There are a few options for memberships:
- Individual Membership
- Family Membership
- Bring a Guest Membership
- Adult Add A Child Membership
Benefits for all Members Include:
- FREE, Unlimited Aquarium Visits for One Year
- FREE, Unlimited Entry to Tuki’s Island: Play & Party Center (Play areas are designed for children 12 and under.)
- Member-Only Pre-sales for Summer Camps, New Animal Encounters, and Events
- 20% Off Animal Encounters (exclusions apply)
- 20% Off Signature Events (exclusions apply)
- 10% Off Café Purchase
- Gift Shop Purchases 10% Off
- 10% Off Parties
- Summer Camps 10% Off
- Invitations to Exclusive Member Events
- Expedited Member Entry
- Monthly Membership Newsletter
Parking at the Living Planet Aquarium
There is no additional charge to park. The Loveland Living Aquarium has plenty of parking that is located directly adjacent to the building.
Explore the Draper Aquarium
The aquarium is divided into different sections: Ocean Explorer, Expedition Asia, Journey to South America, Discover Utah, Penguin Research Station, and Deep Sea Lab.
You can start at any section.
As you walk in the Ocean Explorer section which is located on the main floor of the Draper aquarium you will see animals such as the Giant Pacific Octopus, colorful ocean fish, and stingrays.
There is an area where you can place two fingers in the water to pet the stingrays as they swim by. This is a fun interactive area where you can have a hands-on experience.
As you move around this area you will be led on a shark adventure. The shark tank is incredible. You are actually surrounded by sharks in a 40-foot tunnel. It is really impressive to see this massive shark tank.
As you exit the shark tank you will get another view of the sharks. It is a large area where educational lectures are held.
Expedition Asia was an expansion in 2016. It is a great way to explore some of the rare Asian Arowana Fish, Clouded Leopards, and Asian Clawed Otters.
We loved going to this section when it first opened. It was exciting to explore new fish unique to the Asian continent. This exhibit is quite large. My kids loved exploring this area.
Journey to South America
Journey to South America is one of our favorite areas. There are alligators, amazing birds, and gigantic fish. It is on two levels.
The best part for my kids is a rope bridge that they can run across while looking down at the animals. My kids spend a long time running across the bridge over and over again.
There are also really cute amazon frogs that are all different colors. There are also big frogs for the kids to play on.
South American Atmosphere
You really feel like you are in the Amazon. There are birds flying around. You even feel the humidity that is common in this part of the world.
It really is a beautiful area. I love the walkways that help you immerse yourself and help you actually feel like you are in the Amazon.
We love how this aquarium really explores all parts of the world but also highlights Utah. Many people know about Utah’s amazing National Parks. But the aquarium highlights some of the wildlife that you may not otherwise know about when you visit Utah.
Utah also has many lakes with native Cutthroat fish. There are also desert turtles in many of these lakes.
One reason the aquarium makes my list of top things to do in Salt Lake City for kids is because throughout the entire building there are fun and interactive exhibits where kids can have hands-on experiences!
There are mazes made out of the red rock that is so common in Utah. My kids loved crawling through them.
North American Otters
There are North American Otters in this section that are so cute. Kids can crawl to a viewing area and actually feel like they are in the otter habitat. It is like being face-to-face with an otter!
Penguin Research Station
The Penguin Research Station in my opinion is the best part of the whole aquarium. There are so many adorable penguins. They swim around and interact with each other.
Presentations are offered throughout the day. You can ask all sorts of questions and learn all about these amazing animals. It is fun to see them swim under the water and then jump up on the rocks and hang out.
Have you ever wondered what could survive in the depths of the ocean? This very dark area helps you actually feel like you are in the depths of the sea.
These fish do not like light so the area is dimly lit. There is a submarine that the kids can play and pretend in.
This is a smaller area with limited sea creatures.
The 4D Theater is a fun interactive experience! There are shows on the half-hour and hour. Different presentations alternate so you may have the opportunity to see two different shows in one visit.
My kids love seeing a new film and get excited about this when we go to the aquarium.
Tuki’s Play and Party Center
For kids, the Tuki’s Island Play Center is amazing!
If you have a membership it is included. If not, there is an additional charge of $3 per kid.
Socks must be worn.
My kids could spend 2-3 hours just in this area. It is basically a really cool play area. Birthday parties are also conducted in this area but are isolated in private rooms. Parents can relax on couches and chairs while their kids play.
As you exit the aquarium you will be going through the gift shop. I actually really like this gift shop. I have purchased some pretty unique items for birthday gifts and Christmas.
One thing I like about it is there are usually sales on specific items each time I visit. Unfortunately, the hard part is that there are so many cool things that it might make it hard to actually exit because your kids will want everything.
I highly recommend making some time to explore the gift shop on your visit. Your trip to the Draper aquarium would not be complete without some souvenirs right?!
If you work up an appetite never fear the cafe has plenty of great options to choose from. When my kids were little we would make sure to eat lunch every time we came to the aquarium.
It is a nice way to start or finish your adventure at the Draper aquarium.
Expansion – Science Learning Campus
I had the opportunity to speak with the director of the Draper aquarium and she shared with me how exciting this new area is going to be.
According to their website:
“Through hands-on interactive exhibits, animal exhibits, high-tech classrooms, laboratories, and more, the Campus will offer experiences that help people understand that the environments we live in are all interconnected as one global ecosystem: The Living Planet. With this knowledge, we all can become better stewards of our environment.”
Are You Ready to Go to the Draper Aquarium?
If you are looking for more ideas for your Salt Lake City with kids itinerary, check out my post on This is the Place, Heritage Park. This is another great spot to explore with kids!
If you would like to ask any questions join my Travel Community on Facebook. This is a great group that can help answer any travel question you might have. I also try to add any deals that companies send me as well!