Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium is a public aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand opened in 1985 where visitors can experience a cage-less shark encounter
Test your courage to meet the shark in Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium Auckland
Who is Kelly Tarlton?
Kelly Tarlton is renowned for diving, archaeology, and conservation before he built the Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium out of unused sewage tanks. He wanted to build an aquarium with the size four times larger than any aquarium in the world. The aquarium became famous because of the curved acrylic tunnels that enable visitors to view sea creatures and their habitats from beneath. The acrylic tunnels that he used were even molded in the oven he built by himself. He is also the first to construct a buoyancy compensator suit in New Zealand with waterproof canvas for the body and a garden hose to connect the snorkel mouthpiece. Unfortunately, he died 7 weeks after the aquarium opened. In 2012, Kelly Tarlton received a post-humus induction into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame
History of Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
The idea for the aquarium first appeared in 1983, using clear acrylic to allow visitors to see the fish with a different view. The aquarium was built as a 110-metre tunnel in sewage storage tanks that has been unused since the 1960s. After tested for leaks, the tank was filled with a seascape of caves and reefs created with concrete before finally filled in with a careful selection of more than 1,800 marine creatures in one section and sharks and stingrays in the different section. The aquarium was opened for public in 1985 after 10 months of construction
The development of the aquarium
The Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium was not as big as how it is now back then. The aquarium went through several additions throughout the years. In 1994, a replica of the hut used by Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his tragic expedition to Antarctica and a colony of Antarctic penguins in a climate controlled exhibit were added to the expanded facility. While a Stingray Bay was opened in 2004 with open topped 2.6 metres tank and clear acrylic for optimum viewing. In 2008, the facility was purchased by Village Roadshow who owns Sydney Aquarium, Oceanworld Manly, Sea World Gold Coast, and other venues, but the facility was then sold to Merlin Entertainments Group in 2011. Merlin Entertainment then added new exhibits in 2012 and rebranding the facility by changing its name to Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
In Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, there are a lot of exhibitions, from the exhibitions of fishes from New Zealand to Penguins from Sub-Antarctic. One of the newest exhibitions is the Amazing Creations that is a perfect destination for your children. In this exhibitions that was just opened in 2017, children can draw their own fish and see it swim in an interactive screen. There is also the Shipwreck Shores where children can enjoy the water play with the Splash table. This new exhibitions will guarantee that your children will not be bored. Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium also has a program for kids' sleepover, where they will get to feed the fish and walk through the tunnels lit by torchlight
Visit the Scott's Hut
Scott's Hut is an interactive exhibition where you will see and experience the tales of life in the coldest place on earth. There are a lot of authentic memorabilia that will tell you what it was like to live in the coldest place on earth 100 years ago. Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium also has Scott Base that is located at Pram Point on Ross Island near Mount Erebus. The place is used as a research facility and named in honour of Captain Robert Falcon Scott
Discover the fishes of Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
There are different areas for the fishes in this aquarium. In Niwa Southern Oceans, you will see the jellyfishes and king crabs. While in the Shipwreck Discovery is the home for more than 1500 fishes from New Zealand, including the curious pigfish and the rare moray eel that can live up to 100 years. More colorful fishes can be seen in the fish gallery, where you can meet the mandarin fish with its beautiful color, the aggresive clown tigerfish, the huge crayfish, and octopus. Then there is the kingdom for one of the most beautiful creatures in the sea, the seahorse. Don't forget to visit the turtle bay and walk with the sharks in the shark tunnel also. Check the schedule online to participate in fish feeding of talk activities
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets can be bought online or on site, though it is better to book your tickets online for cheaper price. There are different types of tickets available, so make sure you choose what you want
How To Get Around?
To get around, you will have to go by foot
What Should I Wear?
There is no recommendation on what to wear to visit the Kellly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium. You can wear nice clothes if you want to take pictures with the fish because the fish tunnels definitely make a beautiful background
Best Time to Visit
It is better to avoid peak season when you visit the aquarium because it can be very crowded. It is also better to have mobile tickets so you don't have to print any tickets on site and you can go straight to the entrance
New Zealand Dollar
Will I Need a Guide?
The facility is a self-guided aquarium. If you want a guided tour, you can purchase for behind the scenes tour
How To Get There?
To reach the place, you can use the free shuttle service that departs from 152 Quay Street. The shuttle is available every day and will depart hourly start from 9.30. Another option is to go by City bus from the Ferry Building