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View Full Version : OT - Jersey DISers - anyone ever been to the aquarium in Camden?


mommy23
08-04-2006, 12:14 PM
We're thinking of taking a trip there next week. Someone told us it was not very nice. However, I don't know when this person was last there. Anyone been there recently and can give us an opinion? TIA.

Sylvia

Cindy B
08-04-2006, 01:01 PM
Its gone downhill since the Adventure Aquarium took over. I got free passes for the four of us to go last year.

The price went up tremendously (its like $16 or 19 for adults now) and the amount of exhibits went down. They do have some newer things, like the shark tunnel and the hippo area, but they did get rid of many things to do that. The shark tunnel is too small for its area and does not have a moving walkway, so many just stop and look. Think of a tunnel, dark lighting many people, so the walls felt like they were closing in (I never ever get claustrophobic either)

there were poor patterns for traffic control, like a food area right near the escalator and such.

They didn't really add more to the prior exhibits but just changed spaces around.

I've been the the aquarium many times prior to it becomig a private venture. I enjoyed it then, but now its basically the same or less stuff for a much higher price.

Ariel8676
08-04-2006, 01:14 PM
Its ok.. the kids enjoyed it. I do agree though that they need to change a lot around..like the food area by the escalators.
Its not great, but ok. My girls said they love the hippos but they were REALLY smelly..lol.
Maybe we are just spoiled from going to the Baltimore aquarium so many times...IDK.. its worth checking it out...

Donnask8pro
08-04-2006, 01:22 PM
I agree with everyone else. Its just ok. My 5 yr old was very bored. I had a student( 17 yrs old) work there this past year, she said it wasnt as good when it was taken over.

tink_n_pooh
08-04-2006, 02:47 PM
I haven't been there in quite a few years but I would also consider that it is in Camden. I don't really know where you are from but if you are going to go through the hassle to go to Camden there are probably better places to check out, like Liberty Science Center. Or go into Philly or Baltimore. I think the aquarium in Camden would be a more enjoyable trip if it weren't in Camden. Just MHO.

JerseyGirl1972
08-04-2006, 02:53 PM
I haven't been there in quite a few years but I would also consider that it is in Camden. I don't really know where you are from but if you are going to go through the hassle to go to Camden there are probably better places to check out, like Liberty Science Center. Or go into Philly or Baltimore. I think the aquarium in Camden would be a more enjoyable trip if it weren't in Camden. Just MHO.

Just wanted to let you know that Liberty Science Center is closed. They are redoing the whole place, I believe it is supposed to open next year sometime.

Cindy B
08-04-2006, 04:04 PM
I haven't been there in quite a few years but I would also consider that it is in Camden. I don't really know where you are from but if you are going to go through the hassle to go to Camden there are probably better places to check out, like Liberty Science Center. Or go into Philly or Baltimore. I think the aquarium in Camden would be a more enjoyable trip if it weren't in Camden. Just MHO.


To be honest, that is the nicest section of Camden near the Tweeter Center, light rail line, Camden baseball park, etc. Its very touristy and well policed. I've gone to events and felt very safe there. You can park in the nearby garage or do a street parking (you will have to walk a while for street parking) and it will be fine.

disneysteve
08-04-2006, 04:27 PM
Its gone downhill since the Adventure Aquarium took over.

the amount of exhibits went down. They do have some newer things, like the shark tunnel and the hippo area, but they did get rid of many things to do that. The shark tunnel is too small for its area and does not have a moving walkway, so many just stop and look. Think of a tunnel, dark lighting many people, so the walls felt like they were closing in (I never ever get claustrophobic either)

I enjoyed it then, but now its basically the same or less stuff for a much higher price.
I don't entirely agree. We like the new aquarium. DD loves the shark tank and seeing the hippos (both of which came from Animal Kingdom, BTW). I would hate if the shark tank had a moving walkway. I want to stay in there and watch the sharks for a while, not be pushed along the way.

I agree that the price shot up out of proportion to what they added. And they really did nothing to change or update the older parts. Still a nice place to visit, though.

ETA: The line for tickets can be huge. Order your tickets online in advance. I think you save a few dollars, plus you avoid that line. Also, they do timed admission tickets. The earlier you can get there, the less crowded it will be. By mid-day, it can get quite busy even though they limit the admission numbers.

puggymom
08-04-2006, 05:25 PM
It has been a while, but we drove into Philly and took the ferry over to the aquarium. DO they still do that?

disneysteve
08-04-2006, 05:50 PM
It has been a while, but we drove into Philly and took the ferry over to the aquarium. DO they still do that?
Yes they do.

java
08-04-2006, 09:55 PM
Well we belong to the Aquarium. We used to belong before it turned into Adventure aquarium and rejoined when it reopened. I don't think it really has changed that much- the price went up- they added the shark tube(which was fun but short) We used to love the "perks" and special events they held for members- but so far not much going on that we have heard about. My son and I have taken a shark class there-it was cool we got to go behind the scenes into the shark tank exhibit while they were being fed(not in the tank- up on top of it lol) The aquarium itself is not as nice as say Baltimore or Boston. But I do think it can be a fun day trip- with the shows ect.. We will definately go there again soon. Now Camden is not a place you want to be wandering around - the waterfront where the aquarium is is very nice... but 2 blocks in any direction...be careful. My kids love the 2 areas that are hands on- the "pet a shark" tank(which was sting rays the last time we went? don't know if that is a permanent change or just for the day_ normally it is dogfish) and the other touch tank. I think it is worth a trip over. It is clean and they have plenty of exhibits to keep you busy. I love the big tanks they have.

littleEinsteins4
08-04-2006, 10:12 PM
We took our 3 almost 4yr old last year she liked it. My husband and I would have liked it to be a little cheaper but it is what it is. :confused3 She really loved the shark tank and I agree with Disneysteve that I like lingering to watch the sharks swim. The hippos were also fun to watch. (didnt know they came from AK) I would def. do it again as a day trip it took us 2 hrs and didnt realize we were so close to sesame place I hear its close to camden. Next time I would try to do both maybe stay in pa and do ses. place.
ana

disneysteve
08-04-2006, 10:16 PM
Now Camden is not a place you want to be wandering around - the waterfront where the aquarium is is very nice... but 2 blocks in any direction...be careful.
For those planning a trip to the Camden aquarium, the Battleship New Jersey is docked nearby (walking distance) and is also a great tourist attraction. We toured it last year with DD's scout troop and it is very interesting for kids and adults.

I feel some need to defend Camden. Never thought I'd be saying that. :teeth: Yes, Camden was named America's most dangerous city, but like many cities, there are good sections and there are bad sections. They have done a very good job of cleaning up the waterfront area: the aquarium, the battleship, the Tweeter center (open air concert arena), Campbell's field (minor league ball park). Should you go wandering around town - no. But the same could be said for wandering parts of NYC, Washington, DC, Philly, etc.

And if you happen to find yourself in the Fairview Village neighborhood of Camden, stop in and say hello as that is where my medical practice is located.

Nienor
08-04-2006, 10:20 PM
I haven't been there in a couple of years, before they did the renovations. It wasn't particularly nice then.

If you live in Northern NJ, it might be closer for you to go to the Norwalk Aquarium in CT.
http://www.maritimeaquarium.org/
I was there several times last year, but I live almost on the border of New York state. So it might not be close enough for you.

disneysteve
08-04-2006, 10:22 PM
didnt realize we were so close to sesame place I hear its close to camden.
I'd say Langhorne, PA is probably about 45 minutes from Camden. You would cross the Ben Franklin Bridge and take I-95 north to Route 1 and you're there. Certainly close enough to do on the same trip.

Cindy B
08-05-2006, 06:22 AM
The shark tube is very short. At Seaworld, the shark tube is obviously longer and the moving walkway (which is set at a very slow speed, slower than walking) gives the viewer a chance not to be claustrophobic.

I got a horrible headache in the shark tube. My DH did as well. We both agreed that a small walkway would do wonders for crowd control/temp.

Some things they also kept the same--such as the penguins, the upstairs exhibits, touch tank/large tank with bleachers.

It was also very crowded. We got there early and used free untimed tickets and it was so crowded. It was full of strollers! Even though it was free, we won't go back.

Kramer
08-05-2006, 06:39 AM
We were just there this week.

We really enjoyed it and my kids liked it too. The area around the aquarium is fine and they have ample parking so you don't have to drive around looking for a spot. I thought the exhibits were well done and informative. My kids loved the hippos and the shark petting tank.

Camden is like any other urban area. There are good parts and bad parts. Stay by the aquarium and you're fine. Its no different than the inner harbour in Baltimore. I wouldn't stray far from the attractions there either.

Smydovro
08-05-2006, 08:46 AM
Hi,
I have taken my guys there (10,7,2) since the renovation and they loved it. Everything others have said is true, it's twice the price but for a once in a while thing its okay. My kids love the touch a shark, hippos and the shark tube. Don't forget the childrens garden which I think is charming and you can take great pictures in there. Have fun! I live in Yardley and it takes about and hour to get there from here.

badblackpug
08-05-2006, 10:03 AM
Oh definitely take the kids, they will have a great day and with the Riverline it is soooo easy to get to! (and the kids love the train ride) There are a lot of activities in the are (the battleship, the riversharks) and all the historical sites in Philadelphia are 5 minutes away on the train.

Thanks Steve for the defense of Camden! I work there, too (Cooper) and if the opinions that most people post prevail, we will NEVER see an improvement! :goodvibes

CEDmom
08-05-2006, 11:52 AM
I was just there with my DD's camp about 2 weeks ago. It's a great place and with the exception of the seals and penguins it's all inside. The only downside during the summer is that it attracts a lot of camp groups. My advice would be to go in the afternoon since most of the groups leave by 3:00pm.

lizardqueen
08-05-2006, 11:59 AM
We've been there twice this year. Both times with DH's extended family -- kids were 3, 2, 10 mos and 4 mos and they all loved it. Loved it so much that the in-laws bought an annual pass. It's not over the top spectacular, but is a nice way to spend the day. The layout is a little awkward, but we managed just fine. Touch tanks are great. Loved the outside exhibits and the hippos.

mommy23
08-05-2006, 01:10 PM
Thank you to everyone who replied. :thanks: I think we'll give it a try. The Maritime Aquarium in CT looks very nice, but Camden is definitely closer.

Sylvia

java
08-06-2006, 09:27 AM
I feel some need to defend Camden. Never thought I'd be saying that. :teeth: Yes, Camden was named America's most dangerous city, but like many cities, there are good sections and there are bad sections. They have done a very good job of cleaning up the waterfront area: the aquarium, the battleship, the Tweeter center (open air concert arena), Campbell's field (minor league ball park). Should you go wandering around town - no. But the same could be said for wandering parts of NYC, Washington, DC, Philly, etc.

.
Steve I hope I didn't offend. The only safe place we found in Camden was the waterfront.(all the things you mention are in that area I think- not sure about the Tweeter center.) But I think the difference between Camden and other cities is that it is the reverse- ONE area that is ok= the rest of the city scary. Even driving to the Aquarium if you go the wrong way you can be in a not so great place. The unemployment rate in Camden is so high that people don't have the income to even just get by. But still not a place I would want to take a stroll down main street. And if I am missing some nice area there tell me because we do head into the aquarium and even tried to pump money into their city economy by eating someplace in Camden- but we had no luck. The place we ate at closed the next time we came into town. ANd don't get me wrong we still go into Camden.(Hey I am from NY it is not THAT scary :rotfl2: )

disneysteve
08-06-2006, 04:32 PM
Steve I hope I didn't offend. The only safe place we found in Camden was the waterfront.

Even driving to the Aquarium if you go the wrong way you can be in a not so great place. The unemployment rate in Camden is so high that people don't have the income to even just get by.

And if I am missing some nice area there tell me because we do head into the aquarium and even tried to pump money into their city economy by eating someplace in Camden- but we had no luck.
No offfense taken. Camden is the poorest city in the state of NJ and, as I mentioned, was voted most dangerous city in America. It isn't somewhere you want to go wandering. I just think it is unfortunate when people pass up the good things just because they are located in Camden. The aquarium is fun. The Camden Riversharks baseball team is great. We love going to games - so much cheaper and more enjoyable than a major league game across the river. The Tweeter Center is a top spot on the major concert tours.

Trust me. I work in Camden. I'm well aware of the financial struggles. I think median income is about 23K or so.

As for where in Camden you could spend money outside of the tourist attractions, that's a tough one. There are one or two decent restaurants, but honestly I would refer anyone looking for great eats to drive a little out of Camden to Collingswood which has had a tremendous restaurant renaissance in recent years and now boasts numerous top-rated spots.

robsmom
08-07-2006, 03:10 PM
I haven't been there in quite a few years but I would also consider that it is in Camden. I don't really know where you are from but if you are going to go through the hassle to go to Camden there are probably better places to check out, like Liberty Science Center. Or go into Philly or Baltimore. I think the aquarium in Camden would be a more enjoyable trip if it weren't in Camden. Just MHO.


Besides being closed for renovations, the science center is about 2 hrs from Camden in North Jersey not South. I am in the camp that the aquarium is ok but not spectacular. For us it was a nice afternoon activity on a rainy day.