In a nutshell:
PROS: Design, variety of wildlife, quality of exhibits
CONS: Price (at $21 per adult and $14 for children over 3, plus $6 parking - which is actually a steal compared to Chicago area aquarium parking- it's no joke when you add it all up)
Would we recommend this? Absolutely.
This venue has a unique set-up, with exhibits integrated into the exterior of the building, along the area where you line up for tickets, and visible from the various cafes and restaurants. It may not look like much outside (although the plants and flowers are quite attractive), but it's great inside.
Along the outside of the building:
Where you line up:
There are two main parts of the exhibits, both based off a central "jungle" area (the official term), with various levels, including birds at the top of the tree canopy, monkeys in the trees, waterfowl in the water, and separate water areas with giant crocodiles. Fish viewing areas were often tucked along the walls, with several large tanks located in the lower level - including some of the most gorgeous live corals I've ever seen in a tank.
There were some unexpected animals, too - including the huge chimp or some kind of monkey (almost man-sized) that was crawling around up in the rafters (seriously, a bit weird!).
Here are some of our favorite parts:
Close encounters with a sloth:
We were this close:
Gorgeous environment in the central garden areas:
Gavin observing said nests:
I think they were observing the crocodile, but it could have been lots of things:
Beware of children on field trips (it was just fine):
Top of the shark tank (view from our table at the Mayan cafe):
Some of the water exhibits:
These were the biggest crabs I've ever seen:
Gavin loved watching the diver clean the tank:
The shark exhibit:
(Side note, one of these animals - I forget the name, it's not a shark, actually - was rather... ahem.. excited?... The school-age children were all over that.)
Outdoor penguin exhibit (appears to be an old entrance?):