In an effort to visit more than theme parks while staying in Anaheim, we sought out other attractions in the area. There was definitely not a lack of options and we visited a total of 6! You can read about the other attractions we visited here!
Pirates Dinner Adventure
On the first night of our stay, we took in the Pirates Dinner Adventure and as an entertainment experience it was totally enjoyable. As a dining experience, however, we were disappointed by the quality of the food. With the exception of the salad and the dessert, the main courses were over salted or dry. I would be willing to give it another try however, because the show itself was so entertaining, interactive and the kids absolutely loved it. Starting in the lobby, there is a pervasive swash buckling feel. When you hand in your tickets, you get a color coded flag and scarf that you are encouraged to wear proudly – as we did on our heads!
While having drinks and snacks in the anteroom, you are surprised to find pirates have invaded and the show starts right behind the bar with full on sword fighting, rappelling and even a ceiling walker! The pirates kidnap the princess and take all the spectators ‘hostage’. We are forced to walk behind our flag to our seats where we settle in the watch the show.
Our host pirate then encourages us to interact, yell, and encourage his onstage antics. To top the show off, the Sea Dragon rises from the water and stares us all down! It was a fun way to start off our vacation!
Aquarium of the Pacific
If I had to pick a favorite of all the wonderful attractions we experienced during our week in Anaheim, it would be the Aquarium of the Pacific. It’s a large, beautiful facility, with 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits concentrating on the aquatic life in the Pacific with many eye level and hands on exhibits to keep that kept the kids (and grown ups) happy, entertained and educated!
The habitats are massive. Its possible to get very close to all the aquatic life. Its such a surreal feeling to be standing on dry land yet looking eye to eye with huge fish!
Look ma, a sea turtle!
It was a satisfying experience for my husband, an avid scuba diver, to be able to show the children what he sees as when he dives the waters off Vancouver and really help them relate to his love of the water. Our daughter is now very excited about doing a PADI Bubblemakers course with him! We may have another little scuba diver in the making!
The penguins are crowd-pleasers and the June Keyes Penguin Habitat is designed so you can get very up close and personal with the penguins and even underneath them in the exhibits crawl space.
The Sea Otters are a favorite at our Vancouver Aquarium and they delighted the kids here too. We were in time for a talk by the keepers in the BP Sea Otter Habitat that had the children enthralled.
Feeding the stingrays was fun (if not slightly pricy at $5 per portion of shrimp). It was gobbled so quickly we almost missed it! Petting them was also a unique experience.
Petting the sharks however was freaky! The guide instructed us to use two fingers only, so that we don’t press too hard, and to avoid their mouths. Which was easier said than done when there were so many of them swimming by so swiftly. However we got to touch their sandpapery yet slimy skin and my shark loving son was thrilled. We also had an opportunity to pet the jellyfish and rays. The whole experience was incredible.
One attraction we did not see at the aquarium was TurtleVison 4D which was playing in the Ocean Theatre. We were having so much fun exploring the habitats that we missed the show time. It’s definitely on our list for next time!
Discovery Science Centre
We spent several hours at the Discovery Science Centre one afternoon and it was a great education and hands on experience. As part of the ASTC Passport Program, a membership to any North American Science Center means you get you in free! You can’t beat that price!
A unique feature of the Discovery Science Centre is the cube. Visible from the freeway, it entices you with its gravity defying position and invites you in to discover its secrets. We actually got to go into the cube where a rocket exhibit is set up. In there we ‘raced’ our rockets to see how adding energy in the form of compressed air or water would make our rockets go higher and faster.
Just outside is a Dinosaur area complete with a Sauropod where you can see the skeleton on the inside, make its heart beat and watch how the intestines work, complete with a pile of ‘poop’ just underneath its nether regions. This was a big draw for the kids as they were both reduced to giggles at the thought of touching the dino poop.
Another attraction that kept their engagement for quite a while was the Earthquakes. You can simulate earthquakes, see what jumping up and down in from of a machine that plots the movements does, sit on a bench in a small room that will shake similarly to 3 large earthquakes.
The wind machine was fun! Inside it simulated speeds up to 70 mph. My husband thought it was hysterical that my daughter and I looked like Cousin It.
We’re Canadian so the Science of Hockey was definitely a hit. My son loves to play hockey so he really enjoyed hopping up on the Zamboni, playing goalie in the simulator and seeing the what the big guys gear looked like in mock up of the Anaheim Ducks dressing room.
The Eco Challenge section and in particular the Discovery Market and Race to Recycle were also very engaging and hands on, teaching about the effects of excess packaging on the environment, recyclables, waste, and other green initiatives.
The Science center is definitely a place for discovery! And it makes me feel better knowing that although we pulled the kids from school for a week, they were still constantly learning!
Thank you to the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor and Convention Bureau for helping arrange our tours!
For more great ideas of family fun things to see and do in Southern California, be sure to visit www.anaheimoc.org