SEA LIFE Aquarium Entrance
Day Trips Theme Parks

SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California: Not Worth the Trip By Itself

Last Updated on October 17, 2021

LEGOLAND California loves its capital letters. It seems to be attempting to convey that it is the most exciting place on earth. That or the employees are yelling at you (which seems more likely). In keeping with the theme, meet SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort.

I am not sure how an aquarium goes with the LEGOLAND brand. LEGOs were easy to miss.

The property is small. You can knock the whole thing out in a couple of hours, tops. If you are looking for a substantial experience, this is not for you. It is no SeaWorld San Diego. However, SEA LIFE Aquarium prices are reasonable. It is an affordable add on to your vacation.

What Should You Consider When Planning a Visit to SEA LIFE Aquarium?

1. Animal Exhibits

2. Treasure Hunt

3. Ways to Save on Tickets

4. Tips to Plan Your Visit

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Plan Your Day

1. SEA LIFE Aquarium Animals

The property is like IKEA. Everyone walks in the same direction. To ensure you don’t miss that memo, the LEGOLAND SEA LIFE Aquarium map contains arrows directing you where to go. You will see everything, even if you don’t want to.

The exhibits that house the animals feature over 5,000 sea creatures.

Educational talks and feeding demonstrations are offered at some of the exhibits throughout the day. Check the schedule for SEA LIFE Aquarium feeding times before you arrive if this is important to you. You probably will not be there all day, so the schedule may affect the time you choose to visit.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Exhibits

Freshwater Exhibit

The freshwater exhibit features animals found in nearby rivers, streams, and lakes. Here, you will find turtles and a giant dome in which your child can stick her or her head (i.e. the only thing he or she will remember from this section). Good luck getting your child to come out from under it.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Dome

San Francisco Harbor

San Francisco Harbor features tanks with tons of bright fish. The highlight of this area is a large Pacific octopus. This is not nearly as fun as the San Francisco section of Universal Studios Florida (or the real San Francisco for that matter), but it was entertaining for a few minutes.

Tropical Ocean

The Tropical Ocean exhibit features multiple species of sharks, rays, and fish. It includes the underwater Ocean Tunnel, so you can look up to watch the animals swim by overhead. I never realized how many teeth sharks actually have until I spent some time hanging out under them.

Shipwreck

The Shipwreck exhibit features lots of brightly colored Finding Nemo type fish. This section is especially fun for small children.

Dive Discovery, a talk with a marine expert and diving demonstration, is offered in this area once per day.

Ocean Discovery, a talk that discusses the animals within the tank, is also offered once per day in this section.

Interactive Touch Pool

The interactive touch pool allows kids to get their hands wet while gently terrorizing touching sea creatures like sea stars, urchins, and abalone sea snails. An employee talks and answers questions throughout the day in this area, but I have a feeling he or she is mainly posted there to make sure kids don’t get too rough with the sea creatures.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Interactive Touch Pool

Shoaling Ring

The Shoaling Ring is a unique circular tank. You stand in the center while fish swim around you, giving the impression you are underwater and surrounded by a school of fish.

Kingdom of the Seahorse

The Kingdom of the Seahorse exhibit features multiple species of seahorses. You can watch them grip things and “suck up tiny shrimp” per the SEA LIFE Aquarium website. My vocabulary is fairly limited, but I have to believe they could have come up with a better description of their feeding rituals. Regardless, the seahorses are adorable and fun to watch.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Jellyfish Discovery

Jellyfish Discovery has lots of cool tanks shaped like tubes with lava lamp vibes. They are interesting to watch, and the colors are fun in a trippy sort of way. I enjoyed 1997, so this section was fun for me.

Shark and Ray Lagoon

Shark and Ray Lagoon features rays. The glass is toddler height, so small children can stand next to the glass and watch them swim by at eye level.

Radical Rays, a talk about sharks and stingrays, is offered once per day.

California Coast

California Coast features animals that live in tidepools, including fish and crustaceans.

Tidepool All-Stars is an educational presentation offered once per day in this area.

Sea at Night

Sea at Night is not an animal exhibit per se, but a section with a screen that gives one the impression they are near the sea at night, complete with a starry sky. Kids run around and jump on the floor because screens make kids crazy.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Sea at Night

Shark Mission

Here, kids can bang on a screen really hard interact with cartoon sharks and manta rays to learn more about the species. I’m not sure that they actually learn anything, but it is fun to use.

2. Treasure Hunt

The highlight of the experience for my children was a treasure hunt in which you participate as you walk through the property. This definitely upped their level of engagement, but it also resulted in the kids excitedly running through the exhibits to get to the next one. They may have absorbed more if not for that added stimulation, but they had a great time with it.

You secure stamps at twelve stations, then redeem a prize in the SEA LIFE Aquarium store. By prize, I mean a cardboard hat. You can get one in a slightly different shape for free at Burger King.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Treasure Hunt

3. Ways to Save on Tickets to SEA LIFE Aquarium

Discounts for SEA LIFE Aquarium are generally pretty easy by which to come. You should not pay full price. Shop around for the best deal.

There are several ticket options that include different things, and there are a few different websites from which you can purchase them. Generally speaking, you will get a better deal if you purchase tickets online instead of waiting until you arrive.

You do not need to print your tickets for SEA LIFE Aquarium. They can be scanned from your phone.

LEGOLAND California Resort Discounts Through Direct Purchase

LEGOLAND California Entrance

SEA LIFE Aquarium Only Tickets

You can purchase tickets to SEA LIFE Aquarium for $9.99 per day as of the time of this writing. Children under age 3 are free. You have to select a date to visit when you purchase your ticket.

LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper Ticket

The Resort Hopper ticket admits you to LEGOLAND California theme park, LEGOLAND California Resort Water Park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium for two days, or LEGOLAND California Resort Hopper + 2nd day free as it advertises. People enjoy getting things for free. This isn’t its first marketing rodeo.

The price varies depending upon the date of your visit.

LEGOLAND California Resort packages with a LEGOLAND hotel stay often come with this type of ticket. This may be a better option than purchasing tickets individually.

SEA LIFE Hopper

SEA LIFE Aquarium Hopper gets you into SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND California for two days, but does not include LEGOLAND California Water Park tickets. The price varies depending upon the date of your visit.

You can visit both attractions in the same day, or bring the ticket back within 9 days of the first visit to visit the other attraction. If you come back on a different day, you will need to visit Guest Services (and I’m guessing argue with them). LEGOLAND California Resort customer service is not the greatest.

LEGOLAND Annual Passes That Include Admission to SEA LIFE Aquarium

There are several annual pass options. As of the time of this writing, the annual passes that include all three properties are:

Gold Annual Pass

The LEGOLAND Gold Pass includes:

1. Admission to LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium (Blackout dates apply)

2. LEGOLAND Resort Hotel Discounts

3. 25% Off Reserve ‘N Ride

4. Free Parking

5. 15% Off Dining

6. 10% Retail Discount

Platinum Annual Pass

The Platinum Annual Pass includes:

1. Admission to LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium (Blackout dates apply)

2. LEGOLAND Resort Hotel Discounts

3. 25% Off Reserve ‘N Ride

4. Free Parking

5. 20% Off Dining

6. 10% Retail Discount

7. One Free 1-Day LEGOLAND + SEA LIFE Hopper Ticket

Elite Annual Pass

The Elite Annual Pass includes:

1. Admission to LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Water Park and SEA LIFE Aquarium (No blackout dates)

2. LEGOLAND Resort Hotel Discounts

3. 25% Off Reserve ‘N Ride

4. Free Parking

5. 25% Off Dining

6. 10% Retail Discount

7. Two Free 1-Day LEGOLAND + SEA LIFE Hopper Ticket

8. Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Entry

9. Early Rider Access

10. Free Annual Digital Photo Pass

SEA LIFE Aquarium Military Discounts

LEGOLAND California offers discounts to active duty and retired military personnel. As of the time of this writing, you can get discounted LEGOLAND 3-day Resort Hopper tickets, 2-day SEA LIFE Hopper tickets, and 1-day LEGOLAND only tickets.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Teacher Discount

California classroom teachers can get in free during less busy times of the year. Their friends and family also get a discount.

Lloyd

Third Party Vendors

You can purchase packages that include LEGOLAND California theme park tickets and LEGOLAND Water Park tickets with SEA LIFE Aquarium admission with sites like CityPASS, GO San Diego, and Undercover Tourist. These deals on LEGOLAND California Resort tickets may work better for you if you are visiting other attractions off property.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Groupon

You can sometimes find deals for SEA LIFE Aquarium on Groupon. They are not available year round, but you can get SEA LIFE Aquarium tickets at a substantial discount when available. This may very well be the best deal if you are not combining your visit with the other parks.

4. Tips to Plan Your Visit

Where is LEGOLAND California Resort?

LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad, California contains all three parks. It is less than an hour from LEGOLAND to San Diego and a little over an hour from LEGOLAND to Disneyland.

All three parks are an easy walk from LEGOLAND California Resort hotels if you are staying on property.

How Big is SEA LIFE Aquarium?

The property is approximately 20,000 square feet. This may sound large, but you can easily make your way through it in an hour. This will not be an all day event.

You Can Come and Go Throughout the Day

You are allowed to leave and re-enter throughout the day, a benefit you will not find at some of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centers. Because of the limited offerings, it is probably not necessary to do so, but it is nice to have the option.

Strollers Are Not Allowed Most Days

While the property claims to be accessible for guests with disabilities, strollers are not allowed except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as of the time of this writing. This might make for a long day for parents who have to carry their children. Keep this in mind when you plan your trip.

No Outside Food Allowed

Outside food is not allowed. However, this is not a trip to Disney World. This will be a short jaunt. You can probably plan your visit outside of snack time.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Restaurant – Ocean Journey Cafe

You can easily visit outside of a meal time, especially because you can leave and come back. SEA LIFE Aquarium dining seems highly unnecessary. If you find yourself in a pinch, Ocean Journey Cafe is on the property. It is a market style eatery that has things like sandwiches and salads.

You do not need to pay to enter the facility to reach this restaurant, so you could theoretically eat here around a day at LEGOLAND California or LEGOLAND Water Park if you are not interested in the other LEGOLAND California Resort restaurants.

Is SEA LIFE Aquarium Indoors?

Yes! The facility is indoors, so you don’t need to care about the weather, other than during the long walk to and from the car.

Joker

LEGOLAND California Resort Hours of Operation

The SEA LIFE Aquarium hours of operation vary by the day, as do those of the other two parks. The hours for SEA LIFE Aquarium are typically shorter than that of the LEGOLAND California or LEGOLAND Water Park. Check the schedule online before you visit.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Parking

Unfortunately, parking near SEA LIFE Aquarium is in the general LEGOLAND California parking area. As of the time of this writing, it starts at $25. This hardly seems worth it for a couple of hours.

Will LEGOLAND California Require Masks?

As of the time of this writing, COVID-19 precautions are in place. Face masks are required for visitors. Employees undergo temperature checks, and they will constantly sanitize the area. Attendance is reduced to encourage social distancing. The park is also focused on cashless transactions.

Final Thoughts

The sea creatures make for a fun couple of hours, but it is not worth a special trip to the property. It is a nice break from the sun and chaos of the LEGOLAND California Resort rides if you are there anyway. Consider a package that combines LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE Aquarium to save money and make the trip worthwhile. At a minimum, look for SEA LIFE Aquarium discounts.

Set your expectations to a reasonable level. If you do so, you will not regret adding SEA LIFE Aquarium to your LEGOLAND vacation package.

16 thoughts on “SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California: Not Worth the Trip By Itself

  1. Great review post! We love Lego Land and we had no idea they had an aquarium. I love all of the helpful information you included. It’s a bummer they don’t allow strollers on most days though.

  2. Great post! Very informative.
    We love aquariums, they’re great for when you are missing the ocean and its beautiful inhabitants. That Sea by Night exhibit looks really cool!
    You can learn so much in them too!

  3. Sea life Aquarium souns phenomenal. My son has been to one aquarium and love the touching pool experience there. I cannot believe how economical the ticket prices are.

  4. “The interactive touch pool allows kids to get their hands wet while gently terrorizing touching sea creatures,” sorry, this really made me laugh! What an awesome a thorough post! It looks like a really fun place. When we’re allowed to travel again (sigh), I’d love to take my nieces here. We live near the Baltimore Aquarium, and they absolutely LOVE it (and of course, harassing the fish in the touch tanks, LOL), I’m sure they’d love the Sea Life Aquarium.

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