If you’re looking for an opportunity to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature in one of the liveliest cities on earth, Las Vegas aquariums are an excellent choice. And two destinations top the list of best places to visit with kids: SeaQuest Las Vegas and Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. And although Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is one of the most renowned options in the city, Seaquest Vegas just might be the best aquarium in Las Vegas. Though both have many things in common, SeaQuest offers animal encounters that take your “Voyage to the Sea” above and beyond!
SeaQuest Las Vegas is the ultimate land and sea adventure and is home to some of the most unique and interactive experiences among Nevada aquariums! Seaquest Las Vegas offers the chance to meet 1,200 different animals from 300 different species. Here, you’ll see more than just fish and sea creatures. Discover mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and amphibians from around the planet! This is a hands-on adventure, as visitors get to touch, feel, and feed animals from a variety of habitats around the world.
You’ll journey through the Amazon Rainforest, Caribbean, Mayan Jungle, and Pirate Island as you interact with sharks, snakes, turtles, and lizards during your quest. Are you a fan of kangaroos? Visit the wallabies at SeaQuest! Wallabies are the smallest in the kangaroo family and love to have visits from guests. Kids can also take a selfie with Marina the Mermaid, or meet the pirate Captain Quest!
While Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay does offer some options for private events, most of these are for large-scale corporate gatherings. Seaquest Las Vegas can accommodate large groups with hundreds of guests, but they specialize in small-scale events, including birthday parties, field trips, and family reunions!
What sets SeaQuest apart from Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is that they offer a number of exciting encounters that allow guests to have a one-on-one interaction with animals. Small groups allow everyone to participate in the fun and have an up close and personal experience with the animals. And by up close and personal, we mean touch the animals and directly hand feed them treats and snacks! You’ll learn about protecting endangered animals and the conservation of the planet.
• Asian Otter Interaction: During your time to feed the otters, you’ll get an educational overview of the otter species and habitat, then participate in an informational Q&A on how you can help save the otters in the wild!
• Fishy Kisses: Dip your feet into a tank of fish that will gently “kiss” your toes, removing dead skin cells in the process.
• Crested Porcupine Interaction: Have you ever wondered what a porcupine actually feels like? Look no further – Meet Quilliam the porcupine here at SeaQuest, and learn all about his unique species while hand feeding him his favorite snacks!
• Snorkel With Stingrays: Bring your suit and towel and jump in the water with a variety of rays, tropical fish, and non-threatening sharks for an ultimate up-close animal experience.
• Sleep With the Sharks: Invite 25 of your closest friends for this ultimate overnight experience! Learn how the Animal Whisperers open and close SeaQuest each day, get a behind-the-scenes peek at the aquarium and participate in the morning bird feeding experience.
When it comes to visitors interacting with the animals, Seaquest Las Vegas is second to none. From the moment you enter the doors, you have a feeling of being transported to different parts of the world! You’ll see reptiles native to the Egyptian Desert and maybe even hold a snake! Journey through Parakeet Paradise while you watch the beautiful green birds perched on their ropes and ledges. Feed lettuce to iguanas at Iguana Nirvana as a SeaQuest “Animal Whisperer” shows you how to pet them and informs about their rainforest habitat.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Come face-to-face with some of the world’s most fascinating creatures at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. This Las Vegas aquarium is home to thousands of animals including sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish, and rare golden crocodiles.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is located in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Special Highlights in the Aquarium
- Shark Reef Tunnel: Get a 360° view of the vast marine wildlife habitat in the Shark Reef tunnel.
- Ships Ahoy! Discover the shipwreck exhibit and see exotic sharks and fish.
- Touch Pool: Dip your hand in the touch pool to feel the beautiful stingray and horseshoe crabs. You don’t get to swim with stingrays like the SeaQuest encounter, but still a fun activity.
- VR Experience: While not as interactive as SeaQuest’s Snorkel and Swim with the Sharks experience, this is still an interesting look at a variety of sharks during the Undersea Explorer VR Experience.
- SCUBA: Visitors can schedule a SCUBA dive with the sharks as long as they meet the following requirements:
- Must be over the age of 18
- Must be SCUBA certified
- Must schedule the dive more than 72 hours in advance
- The cost to dive with sharks is $650 per person or $1,000 per couple.
Seaquest doesn’t offer SCUBA diving but they do provide you the chance to purchase activity add-ons, including a Snorkel With Stingrays – which does not have any certification requirements, and children under 18 are permitted.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay has many interactive experiences, but the aquarium is more focused on observation-only exhibits. In contrast, SeaQuest Las Vegas safe animal care and interaction encounters are the primary goals. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals here. While feeding the animals is probably the highlight, guests can also enjoy touching and even holding some of these amazing creatures while under the watchful care of SeaQuest’s animal experts.
The Best Aquarium in Las Vegas? SeaQuest!
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is certainly a popular tourist destination in Las Vegas, but it’s not the only place where you and your family can get up close and personal with aquatic animals and enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In fact, many visitors find that Seaquest Vegas has much more to offer, particularly for kids.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay highlights some creatures that SeaQuest may not have, including a Komodo dragon and golden crocodile, but SeaQuest ultimately comes out as the most cost-effective. Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay admission ranges anywhere from $24 and $36 for tickets to view the exhibits. Feeding any animals is an additional cost, from $40 to $99 per animal experience. Seaquest Las Vegas admission prices range between $13.99 and $19.99 per person. Guests can feed a variety of animals at the Vegas location, and feeding tokens can be purchased for around $2 per token with a 15-token minimum. SeaQuest allows for online booking options or simply walk right into the Guest welcome counter for tickets!
An average visit and walk-through at Shark Reef at Mandalay bay run about 45 minutes. When you visit SeaQuest Las Vegas, expect to spend up to 2 hours on your Quest through the Continents! For the BEST animal interactions in the state check out the SeaQuest website. You can book your special encounter today! SeaQuest Las Vegas