Money-Saving Tips For Visiting Mystic Aquarium With A Toddler
For the past few visits back to Connecticut, I've been dying to take Baby ISO to Mystic Aquarium to watch him marvel at the colorful fishes, clever octopus, playful sea lions, penguins, and the list goes on. But our trips would always pass by at the speed of light so we still hadn't made a visit. Though our trip was no less busy, this time, however, we managed to visit the Mystic Aquarium--the only aquarium in New England to have a beluga whale and is an institute that mainly focuses on conservation and rehabilitation. And though J and I grew up nearby the Mystic Aquarium and have been several times--as young children with parents, on school trips, and as adults chaperoning students--there were definitely certain tips that we had forgotten but would have made our visit even better.
I figured that if you've not had the chance to visit Mystic Aquarium yet, you'd also need a few tips to help you save money and make the best of it with a child of any age.
What To Bring
Preparing a couple of things before your visit to the Mystic Aquarium will ensure that you have a great visit. These were things that I forgot to pack for us, but they definitely would have enhanced our trip!
Reusable water bottles
Bringing in your own water bottles* and filling up at the water fountains around the aquarium is completely allowed--and maybe even encouraged to cut down on single-use plastic waste.
Packed lunch and/or snacks
We were only able to stay at the Mystic Aquarium for a couple of hours because we all got hungry and hadn't prepared in advance by packing at least a snack. Though there are snack bars at the aquarium, these are pricey; save yourself money and avoid the lines by bringing your own lunch or snack to eat at the picnic tables.
Especially if you are visiting in the summer, be sure to apply sunblock* before or during your visit as many of the exhibits are outside.
Leave your stroller in the car
Now, you know I LOVE my stroller* and rely on it every single day. But, this is the one time that I'd suggest leaving your stroller* at home. Let your kids out to see the animals up-close, touch the hands-on exhibits, and save space in the crowds.
The Mystic Aquarium is one of the most popular places to visit in all of Connecticut so as you might guess, it can get very crowded. My suggestions are to arrive at opening time and expect lines (but the lines move quickly!). If you aren't a discount pass (like the library pass below), consider buying tickets online to avoid the queues.
With the basic ticket costing $37.99 for adults, it ain't cheap to visit Mystic Aquarium, but other than bringing your own lunch and reusable water bottles*, there are a few additional money saving tips.
If you're from nearby, take advantage of your local library's resources with a Mystic Aquarium pass. We borrowed the pass from our local library and saved $5 per adult! That brought our total for two adults down from $75.98 to $65.98 (definitely enough savings for a post-aquarium coffee and doughnut).
Children two and under are free
Ticket prices for children are reduced from adult prices, and these savings can be significant. Children two and under are free (we got to take advantage of this!), tickets for kids three to 12 are $27.99, and from age 13 to 17, tickets cost $31.99.
Validate your ticket
Another awesome way to maximize your budget is by getting your ticket validated (near the entrance) before you leave. When you validate your ticket, you can enter with the same ticket for 48 hours. This is great if you want to go off-campus to eat lunch and then return for the afternoon or if you'd like to have fun for two mornings in a row. That is like getting a ticket for free!
Combination passes to Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium
If you are a tourist in the area and planning to visit both Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium, definitely consider purchasing the combined ticket. The combined ticket for an adult is $56--tickets normally cost $37.99 + $26.05 = 64.04, saving you just over $8.
What To Do Nearby
Within walking distance to Mystic Aquarium is Olde Mystick Village, a quaint shopping town full of restaurants, cafes, and shops. If you decided to only bring a snack and eat lunch out, then my recommendation is definitely to walk over to Mystic Village. Though I can't recommend every restaurants in this outdoor shopping center, there are a few that I really love.
Bleu Squid is such a tasty spot, and its recent move into a new restaurant has plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors. Bleu Squid has so many options that are kid-friendly, including mac & cheese and grilled cheese, and also has a really great selection of cupcakes.
Now that we're back in Florence, I'm really missing the wonderful Vault Coffee and its great collaboration with Deviant Donuts, with fresh specialty doughnuts available Friday through Monday. If you're visiting Mystic Aquarium on one of these days, pick up a cheeky doughnut and coffee.
Nearly every weekend that I was back in CT, I indulged in Deviant Donuts at Vault Coffee located in Mystic Village. Now that I'm back in Italy, I'm missing my weekend ritual☕️🍩. . . . . . #myatlasaddict #insearchof #travelgram #lovetheworld #roamtheworld #bbctravel #wanderlust #travelgram #tlpicks #neverstopexploring #familytravel #havebabywilltravel #toddlertravel #talesfromthewild #roamtheplanet #trip101com #traveldeeper #travelblogger #connecticut #ctvisit #mystic #thisismystic #foodporn #foodie #doughnut #expat
Alice in the Village
Alice in the Village is a new spot for me, and one that I definitely recommend for a takeaway bubble tea (try the lavender!). If you're visiting with school age children (especially kids really into tea parties) then it might be fun to take them for an afternoon tea here. The decor is amazingly whimsical and the food is tasty! Do be sure to book ahead of time though if you plan on opting for a sit-down afternoon tea.
You can learn more about Mystic Aquarium, their ticket prices, opening hours, and special events
Please note that some affiliate links, marked with an asterisk, are used in this post. If you purchase something using one of these links, In Search Of may make a small commission at no cost to you. Read more on my Disclaimer page. Thank you for supporting In Search Of!
Pin for later!
I'm linking up with the Weekly Postcard hosted by California Globetrotter. Come join the fun!