Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter

There are certainly enough attractions in Auckland, New Zealand to satisfy any and all visitors. This is the country's largest city, and there is plenty to enjoy when it comes to dining, shopping, nightlife and fun-filled activities. If you are traveling with kids, or just want to awake your own inner child, a visit to Kelly Tarltons in Auckland is an ideal addition to your Auckland travel itinerary. Found just under 4 miles from downtown Auckland, resting nicely on the Auckland waterfront at 23 Tamaki Drive, Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World is a place where you can view penguins, sharks, seahorses and all kinds of other wonderful creatures.

The late founder of Kelly Tarltons in Auckland, Mr. Kelly Tarlton himself, was an accomplished diver, explorer and dreamer. Kelly Tarlton grew up on New Zealand's South Island, and upon viewing a film by French diver and scientist, Jacques Cousteau, he became hooked on diving. Piecing together his own scuba diving equipment in the early days, he would take to the New Zealand waters with zest. In time, Tarlton would become noted for his underwater photography, displaying an adventurous attitude that often awarded him with photos worthy of making a list of publications. A bit later on, Kelly Tarlton would form a commercial diving company, applying his knowledge of marine archaeology. He even invented a water blasting technique that was quickly adopted in the salvage diving industry. As Tarlton hunted for sunken ships and lost treasures, he dreamed all the while of opening his own aquarium to give others the chance to enjoy what he loved so much about what he called, the "Southern Ocean". By 1982, Kelly Tarltons Underwater World was on its way from conception to fruition. It was in this year that Tarlton and his wife began to research other aquariums around the world in preparation of building their own.

Kelly Tarltons Underwater World opened in 1985, and though some thought Mr. Tarlton a bit bizarre for building an aquarium in the city's waterfront sewers, over 10,000,000 million visitors have enjoyed the experience thus far. The sewers here were no longer in use, and really, where better to build an aquarium then on or near the water? The tanks that house the marine exhibits at Kelly Tarltons Underwater World overlook the Waitemata Harbor, just below the Auckland suburb named Orakei. Kelly Tarlton died just months after his Underwater World opened, and he was just 47 years old. He would certainly be proud to see what his original aquarium has become. In 1994, Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter was added to the complex, and it was the first Antarctic environment for penguins to be built underground. As you might imagine, the challenge of building an underground, frozen world where animals can thrive is pretty daunting. You'll likely find yourself both intrigued and enthralled when visiting Kelly Tarltons in Auckland, and it's certainly a wonderful place to hang out if you like animals. Pairing a trip to Kelly Tarltons with a visit to the Auckland Zoo is always a great idea.

Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter offers a realistic journey through an Antarctic environment that will have you thinking you've been transported to Antarctica. Start your journey with a stop at the replica hut of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, a renowned South Pole explorer. Afterwards, you'll board a heated snowcat and be off to observe the self-sustaining Gentoo and King penguins. You can even watch the penguins swim underwater in the saltwater pools here. After "visiting"Antarctica at Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Encounter, you will certainly want to see what the exhibits have to offer at Kelly Tarltons Underwater World. A moving walkway will transport you through an underwater tunnel fashioned from transparent, acrylic panels. This is a good introduction to underwater life for those who might be considering doing a little New Zealand scuba diving. You'll be able to observe the amazing aquatic creatures in Kelly Tarltons Underwater World without having to get wet, and at times, these often large creatures will swim right over your head. The stingrays here are large, the broadnosed sevengill sharks intimidating, and the bronze whaler sharks just as menacing. But, fear not, you're safe in the oxygen-filled tunnel. After enjoying a trip through the tunnel, you might head over to Stingray Bay for feeding time, or be off to the fish gallery to observe over 1,500 different species.

If you are enjoying an Auckland, New Zealand vacation with the kids, be sure to take them to the NIWA Interactive Room at Kelly Tarltons. It's found next to Stingray Bay, and it is a great place for kids to learn about Antarctica and marine life while having fun. Kelly Tarltons in Auckland is open every day of the year, and its hours of operation are 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. There is free parking available if you are getting around by way of rental car, and you can also take a few different buses to get here. Some of the downtown Auckland hotels serve as stops for the free Kelly Tarltons shuttle, so if you plan to include this great attraction in your Auckland itinerary, you might look for one that does. Since the snowcat at Kelly Tarltons Antarctic Adventure is heated, you will not need to bring specific clothing to keep warm. Students and senior citizens receive significant discounts on admission, as do kids aged 4-14. Kids 3 and under get in for free. Admission for adults is around $30, and it includes both the Antarctic and Underwater experiences. There are Family Passes available that can help you save money. If you need a snack or beverage when visiting Kelly Tarltons, there is a refreshment kiosk here, and if you want to nab some souvenirs, you can hit the fun gift shop. Plan to spend at least a few hours here, as there is so much to enjoy!

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