Toddler-Friendly Fun at Hauntaquarium Under the Big Top

Toddler-Friendly Fun at Hauntaquarium Under the Big Top

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Kids flocked to the shark tank as a diver dressed in Jurassic Park gear followed their instructions on where to place toy dinosaurs.

I’ve wanted to visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, but have never quite gotten around to it. That’s why, when I saw an ad for this year’s Hauntaquarium Under the Big Top, I bought tickets the day they went on sale.

My 3-year-old loves underwater creatures and I love Halloween festivities, so it was the perfect event. My 9-month-old loved staring into the tanks and watching the brightly colored fish swim, so I felt like it was an activity the whole family enjoyed (dad, too).

While not huge, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is the perfect size to entertain kids for a couple hours. It’s nicely divided into different sections, which helped space out the crowd for the Hauntaquarium event. And it offers visitors a glimpse at a wide array wildlife, from turtles and fish found in Northeast Ohio to the most exotic ocean life (the sting rays and octopus were very popular, as was the enormous walk-through shark tank). Several tortoises were enjoying the special event, too, as they very slowly ate their way through jack-o-lanterns for the occasion.

The treat stations featured friendly staff handing out high-quality treats — more than the typical candy, anyway. Outside, the neighboring Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica was transformed into an extension of the Halloween fun.

My son most enjoyed the maze, magician show, and children’s activities like balance beams, corn hole and carnival games. The fact that it was an unseasonably warm night was an added bonus — though our sons’ warm, fuzzy bear costumes (one was a grizzly, the other was a panda) made them a tad overdressed.

It was the perfect opportunity to visit the aquarium — and we will definitely be back.

About the author

Northeast Ohio Parent Managing/Digital Editor Denise Koeth is raising her two sons while working part-time. She and her husband make a point to take the boys to area events and attractions, and Denise is always on the lookout for new, kid-friendly destinations. Here she will share her experiences in seeking family-friendly fun throughout the Northeast Ohio region.

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