School Holidays at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s

Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life

During the school holidays, Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s partnered with Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet to invite guests on an o-fish-ial quest to discover fascinating features about the fin-tastic places our underwater friends call home.

The interactive experience takes families on a turtle-y cool underwater adventure throughout the aquarium. Children learn about creature’s habitats, different environments and the importance of conservation.

The adventure started upon ent-ray where children received a scratch card activity sheet, then the race wass on to hunt for stars throughout the attraction. After discovering all of the stars, it revealed the full prize word!

Kelly Tarlton's shark

Scott Base

scott baseIf your kids are full of wonder about adventure you can ignite their imaginations here where you escape to another world walking through a replica of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut! A darkened hut filled with memorabilia and things just as they would have been 100 years ago. It wasn’t flash. Small wooden bunks and old blankets like you’re on an old sailing ship. No duvets and cold weather gear as we know it – instead big wool socks, thick jumpers and canvas looking boots. A dark room to develop photos and a chemistry room for chemistry things, medicine and science we imagine. A piano, a sewing machine, a gramophone – they really thought of everything! The kids can get a little taste of what it would have been like in the cold unknown Antarctic frontier all those years ago, and learn about what it took to step into this real-life frozen adventure!

Kelly Tarlton's Penguins

Antarctic Ice Adventure

The Antarctic Ice Adventure at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s is home to New Zealand’s only colony of Sub-Antarctic penguins. Here we get the chance to get up close to PENGUINS we’d otherwise never ever get the chance to see. We were lucky enough to be there during feeding time and hear all about these fascinating birds, their habits, habitat and cheeky little personalities. The baby King penguin chic all fluffy and fat will shed that feather coat that makes it look like a tall Kiwi bird. The male Gentoo penguin will find the smoothest pebble he’s ever laid eyes on and present it to his chosen gal, who may think it’s the smoothest pebble she’s ever clapped eyes on too, and accept him as her mate for life. Awwww. The Kings don’t tend to settle as much, they may change their mate from year to year. lol.

Kelly Tarlton's fish tank

Amazing Creations

Supported by Crayola “Amazing Creations” is a hub of creative energy for the little ones. Fish tanks with numerous Nemos at each work station where kids can colour in pages the old school way, or, you can create your own digital sea creature, watching it take form on the screen within the tank before it’s released to swim amongst all the other colourful creations on a huge projection wall!

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NIWA Southern Oceans Discovery

Kelly Tarlton's sea lifeYou dive in deep here to discover some of the creatures found in the Southern Oceans. Sea Jellies have been around since the time before Dinosaurs! Having only one opening where food comes in and goes out, and along with their lack of a brain the kids were slightly grossed out and perplexed at the point of them, but when you see these jellies close up in their lit enclosures instead of asking why, you’re persuaded to ask why not! King crabs are huge and love cold water, so cold, 9 degrees, it’s a burning kind of cold, not that their massive shells can tell. The Southern Ocean covered in-part in ice has a sea temperature of just 2 degrees and supports a huge variety of marine life including the Giant Squid, and some creatures not yet discovered! A deep sea adventure awaits for budding adventurers!

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Kelly Tarlton's windows

Shipwreck Shores

If you have little ones Shipwreck Shores is for you – the perfect spot to let them loose crashing about in the soft and safe play station, splash about in the water play zone, and checking out a tank full of Nemos and Dories. Stop for lunch with a packed one you’ve prepared or buy a bite to eat (and a large coffee please) at the cafe where you can lap up the view of the lapping sea, bobbing boats and the city skyline from the wave licked windows.

Kelly Tarlton's turtles

Turtle Bay

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s is the only place in New Zealand that rehabilitates rescued turtles! This is one of our favourite tanks where sometimes you’re lucky enough to catch the divers feeding the fish and turtles. The bigger kids enjoyed the interactive experience of learning what it takes to rehabilitate a turtle. Sick turtles that wash up on beaches all around NZ return back to the wild fully fit, and we think that’s pretty awesome!

Kelly Tarlton's shark tunnel
Sting Rays

Shark Tunnel

Another favourite aquarium of ours is the Shark Tunnel! Many other tunnels like this have been replicated and now feature in aquariums all around the world. Here we can glide by travelator through the aquarium seeing some of the world’s biggest aquarium sharks, the Sandtiger – highly endangered in the wild (sad face) and the Broadnose Sevengill – Mr docile looking is “anything but” with explosive speed! You’ll also see a number of sting ray with their smiling faces and flapping wings. We were told to keep a look out for the Wobbegong Shark (great name) who loves to camouflage against rocks, we’re not sure if we saw it or not!

Kelly Tarlton's ugly fish

Fish Gallery

Pig, Lion, Clown, tropical and Ocotopus, you can get up close to weird, colourful and beautiful looking fish here. Plus ugly eels and huge crayfish. I was drawn to the colourful and beautiful, the kids to the ugly and huge!

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Seahorse Kingdom

Escape to another world again in the Seahorse Kingdom! We LOVE Seahorses, the most beautiful creatures of the sea. On display are our Spiny Sea dragons which come from the unique ecological environment of NZ’s Milford Sounds. They are the only creatures of their kind able to be seen in any aquarium in the world! They’re kind of strange looking, and not a lot is known about them so they’re being studied to learn how to breed and protect them. Also fluttering what looks like their manes are Big Bellied Seahorses, looking more like you imagine a seahorse looking – majestic. You can lose time watching these guys who are under threat from overfishing, we hope they’re protected in years to come!

Fun & Adventure

Kelly Tarlton's underwater tunnelTaking a trip out of the winter weather and adventuring under the sea is definitely worth making! It’s a fantastic place to learn all about the sea creatures we share the world with, especially for our kids who are eager to note all the interesting facts, and demonstrations. It’s a buzz for all the family to spot the weird and wonderful, and an awesome opportunity to dive in and escape into a world we wouldn’t otherwise get to see up close!

So water you waiting for? For moray information, visit

Written by Ronnie Swainston for Kidspot

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