A Day With Fish and Legos

My oldest son, like many kids his age, has an affinity for aquariums. Stingrays and sharks are his jam. We have journeyed far for some good aquarium action. Mystic Connecticut, Riverhead Long Island, to name a few. Finally, an aquarium within 5 miles of Hoboken! And a good one at that. Sea Life Aquarium at the American Dream Mall is certainly special. Their grand opening on June 15th debuted captivating displays geared toward all ages. All of their tanks however are perfectly at eye level for young children, which means Mom and Dad get a break from lifting! The aquarium features over 3,000 creatures and 100 different species. The large stingrays, black tip reef sharks, and seahorses definitely were among some of our favorites. You can walk through ocean tunnels and interact with sea life in their touchpools. This aquarium may not be the largest we’ve ever visited, but it certainly is magical. The aquarium’s theme, City Under The Sea, is creative and memorable and features “Sharks Fifth Avenue” and other NY inspired landmarks. My kiddos were fascinated and I was just the same.

My OCD tends to kick in at these places and I find myself worrying I’ll miss something and forget to circle back to a particular room. However, the aquarium really has an organic flow to it, with connecting tanks and tunnels, and it'd be hard to miss anything as you wander through. I also didn’t feel like I’d lose my kids in this place, which is a nice bonus! If you’re a parent, I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced that sense of panic after losing sight of your kid from time to time. We’ve all been there. I’ll definitely be putting this aquarium into our rotation of zoos and farms. I know my kids will be begging to visit again and I see my family returning on a regular basis.


After our visit with the mystical sea creatures, we continued the party over at another American Dream attraction. June 15th also marked the grand opening of Sea Life Aquarium’s neighbor, Legoland Discovery Center New Jersey. This was another win with my kids and the experience only added to an already awesome day. Despite the fact that I live with three Lego fans, Legos don’t typically excite me and I’d rather spring for a new pair of shoes rather than the hottest new Lego set. However, as parents, we often experience happiness vicariously through our children. I knew Legoland would be enjoyable as I watched my children light up with excitement and build with what seemed like an endless amount of Legos. However, I wasn’t expecting to genuinely appreciate the attraction as much as I did. I was super impressed with the New York City and NJ display including the accurate replicas of the Chrysler building, One World Trade, Empire State, The Edge at Hudson Yards, Coney Island, and MetLife Stadium, among others.


Upon entering LegoLand, the kids and I hopped on an interactive ride (perfect for my little ones) that captivated them beyond belief. It was quite adorable and a great way to kick off our time at LegoLand. After being amazed by the NYC and NJ displays, we entered the Ninjago play area, where the kids were able to explore and run inside a soft play structure. There are multiple areas for kids to build, Legos of all sizes, and a 4D movie to catch! I knew the kids would have a blast, but it really is a great experience for the entire family. I feel so lucky to have such great options for a fun-filled family day so close to home. American Dream really is a unique attraction in and of itself with so many awesome experiences.