Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World is a must for all travelers in Auckland, New Zealand. Experience life under the sea. Getting up close and personal with some of the scariest creatures in the sea can be daunting, but at Auckland’s Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World even the smallest children can safely learn more about the world underneath the sea. The aquarium is a must see on any visit to New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
Kelly Tarlton was a legendary New Zealander. Inspired by the ocean and Jacques Cousteau, he set about building his own diving equipment and becoming an underwater photographer. He wanted to share the world he knew with those on land, from a divers perspective. Traveling to aquariums around the world, he and his wife researched how they could share their love of the ocean with others. In 1985, a few months before his death, Kelly opened his ‘Underwater World’.
The Underwater World
Walking from ‘Stingray Bay’ down underwater level, you descend into the depths, venturing into the world below. The moving walkway transports you from the beach under water, and into the shark tank. Seeing the fish, stingrays and sharks swim around you as you travel through the enclosed tanks above you is breathtaking. The sharks seem to glide effortlessly around you, and the stingrays fly over the walkway. After seeing the sharks, rays, turtles and other sea life, the aquarium opens into a rock-pool environment with crayfish, seahorses, tropical fish and terrors like puffer fish. Kelly Tarlton’s most recent addition is the magnificent Seahorse Kingdom.
As Kelly Tarlton was an explorer of the deep, embracing this ideal was also the explorers of the South Pole such as Captain Robert Falcon Scott. The Antarctic encounter includes a look at the life of the explorers at Scott Base in Antarctica, and the challenges they faced. Riding the snowcat ride, the explorers travel into the antarctic wilderness and come face to face with sub-Antarctic penguins; the Gentoo and the King breeds. The penguins live happily in the snowy enclosure, and are a thrill for young and old alike.
To take the journey an extra step into the wild, there are a number of Animal Encounter options. These range from cage diving with the sand sharks and free diving with the sharks, to the beautiful and magnificent option of hand-feeding the stingrays. These rays are massive, nearly 2 meters in span, some caught by Kelly Tarlton himself. As you feed them, they rise up, flapping their wings against you. The whole encounter is stunning and a thrill for all involved. All the animal encounters include a behind the scenes look at the aquarium and all the gear you will need, from wet-suits to a hot shower afterwards!
Making Memories with the Family
Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World is a fantastic place to take the children. The venue is safe for all ages, and the encounters can be experienced from dry land, watching others feed the stingrays for example. In the center of the complex is a family-friendly cafe. Eat lunch while watching the fish eat theirs. With many exhibits built to be seen and viewed by youngsters, it is a place for memories to be made. Upon your arrival, the photographer will take a picture of the family which can be purchased from the gift shop. There are many activities designed totally for children, from coloring to the educational play center. Souvenirs range in price, but there is something for all budgets. With fantastic opening hours, no time constraints and a range of fascinating creatures to see, catch the bus from Britomart in the city and spend the day at Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World.