REVIEW: VIA Aquarium, Schenectady [PHOTOS]
Have you ever been to Viaport? Does that not sound familiar? What about Rotterdam Square Mall? Well, it’s the same thing but a lot better! If you haven’t been to the Rotterdam area lately you may have missed the change over to Viaport. With that change came Viaport Entertainment with a restaurant, bar, arcade & bowling as well as the VIA Aquarium.
VIA Aquarium hasn’t even been open a year yet but has already made its mark on the Capital Region. With over 25,000 square feet of water and over 2000 different creatures, not only is this aquarium the only full-scale in the Capital Region but it provides a great under the sea experience for all ages.
They recommend about an hour and a half to get through the entire space. Tickets vary based on day, age and military service/college. With that, you get admission to the aquarium for the entire day and admission to hourly talks and feed times. There’s also the opportunity to buy an annual passport which includes store discounts, guest discounts, previews of special exhibits and more!
I had the chance to take a walk though the Via Aquarium and I was really impressed. Each section of the aquarium is separated by location in which you’d find the sea creatures as well as what kind of creature they are. You start the walk-through locally with some of the fish you’ve probably become familiar with in the Adirondacks, then eventually you go through the Amazon, the Deep Sea, the Coral Reef, and more. You end the experience through a fish tunnel which is incredible. If you didn’t feel like a fish before, it’s hard not to when you’re almost swimming with them.
The screens that identify the fish are a little confusing. I expected them to be touch-screen or interactive, but they’re not, and they slide through each fact like a powerpoint so if I miss something, I have to wait to read it again. They are very easy to read and when the words are there, the facts are very informative.
Throughout the aquarium there are some great activities for kids. You can get a passport and stamp it yourself at each location, there’s a virtual water on the ground where kids can do their part to get trash out of the ecosystem, 360 cameras so you can get a sense of shark-diving first-hand or, my favorite, an interactive sandbox that changes based on how you move the sand around. Ever wanted to feed a Koi fish? Maybe even pet a stingray? There isn’t a space that isn’t interactive within the VIA Aquarium! And if you’re looking for a place for your kids next birthday, you can plan one at the aquarium, surrounded by koi fish.
Overall, I really enjoyed the amazing creatures they had. The set-up is really easy to follow and you do feel like you’re taking a journey around the aquatic world. You get to see all very different kinds of fish and in some cases how they interact with each other. It’s a great place to not only bring kids but even to go as just adults. They intend on changing up the exhibits rather frequently and plus, they’re live animals, they’re ever-changing, always doing something different! Have you taken a look yet? What was your favorite fish?
[Quote by Anne Stevenson]