Kelly Tarlton's is a wonderland of snow, ice and amazing underwater sights. Explore the wilds of Antarctica and the natural treasures of the ocean depths in our Underwater World - and beyond.
Ph: (09) 528-0603
Fx: (09) 528-5175
- Adult [15 years and over] : $28.00
- Students [15 years + at school or with ID] : $21.00
- Seniors [65 years +] : $21.00
- Child [4 - 14 years] : $14.00
- Pre-schooler [3 years and under] : FREE
Both my husband and I were Diving Instructors and have a keen interest in marine life and the preservation of it. I had some Kellogg's 'Adults Go Free' vouchers and thought it would be a nice treat to take my daughters to see Kelly Tarlton's so they could see what we keep going on about!
We arrived just before lunch and there were a few parking spaces free. My husband and I had visited with other family members about 10 years ago so we were just as excited to see what new changes had been brought in. There was no queue to pay but I was quite surprised at the prices. Children were $22 each and adults were $40 (luckily our vouchers meant we saved $80) but this would have been an expensive visit had we not used the vouchers. A quick photo was taken and my girls were eager to get going so weren't looking at the camera so I knew we wouldn't be buying that later!
There was no ride in the car which was a little disappointing but you did get to start the visit with a walk over a 'bridge' that had the effect of making you feel dizzy/ sick. We then got to see the penguins which was great. My daughters loved seeing them swimming around and loved looking at the baby ones.
The Scott Base display held no interest for our girls and on we marched. There was a big tank with stingrays and other fish which was great, especially seeing the stingrays glide up the windows. There is also the revolving conveyor belt where you go under a tunnel full of stingrays, sharks, turtles, kingfish and other numerous fish. This was great for our girls but after one 'circuit' they had seen enough. We continued on to see some tanks with jellyfish, octopus and seahorses but all my girls wanted to do was go back to the playground which is next to the cafe.
I have to say the set up is a little confusing and my girls (6 and 8) got bored quite easily. They weren't that keen on reading the information and after an hour (half of that was spent in the playground whilst we had a drink) they were ready to go.
Although Kelly Tarlton's is a great place to see marine life, my girls lost interest quite quickly and we left feeling slightly disappointed. I would love to visit again in the future,maybe when my girls are quite a bit older and would appreciate the educational aspect of it. I would definitely be looking at vouchers/ deals to avoid paying full price though!
It had been many many years since I last went to Kelly Tarltons as a child, so when I won several free tickets to Kelly Tarltons during a McDonalds promotion we decided to go for a family trip and check it out. I was absolutely shocked to see the entry prices when we first arrived, and was rather grateful to be going in for free with it usually costing $40 per adult, which I quickly discovered was very steep for the small amount they have to see and for the actual time spent there.
There have certainly been a few big changes to the whole layout of Kelly Tarltons since my last visit, the main one and most disappointing to me being that they no longer have the ride that takes you on a tour around the penguin enclosure which was a hit with all the visitors. Instead they now have it so that you walk around, which to be fair isn't the worse thing as you can get some great views of the penguins up at the close and it is pretty incredible when they come face to face with you at the glass window. Miss 2 loved the penguins as did I, they are so fun to watch as they swim, dive and waddle about always giving you lots of entertainment and giggles. The other change was to that of the area where the cafe is, they have still got the stingray tank and also the starfish rock pools set out within, but they have made it so that the windows you look out are below water level to the ocean so it looks kind of as if you are in the sea which provided a rather nice atmosphere.
There is still the conveyor belt that you stand on which moves you around huge viewing windows which are above and on either side of you, these tanks are filled with sharks, stingrays, eels and various other sea life animals. They have stools for children to stand on and these help them to get a better view, my daughter loved watching all the different animals swim by and pointing out aĺl the different ones. At the end of this ride you are led to small tanks which have various different sea horses in them and some with small tropical fish my daughter loved seeing 'Nemo'. There were also tanks with crayfish and eels in them.
All in all it's a good place to take a young child to see, but best to do if you can get as a cheap deal on grab one etc due to the usual cost, they sell annual passes but I don't feel these would be really worth buying as it wouldn't be much different each time you went. We will probably revisit again in a few years time when things may have changed again. If visiting leave early as parking is limited.
We have not been to Kelly Tarlton's in a couple of years and my husband had plans on the Sunday so I went with my Mother in law, Neice, my two daughters and myself. The price blew me away $99 for just the four of us, my baby got in free only cause we said she was two and they were going to charge $17 for her which I could not justify. My mother in law commented about the price and the receptionist told us very nicely that there power bill was $1500 a day not including wages and food - wow!!!
Kelly Tarlton's has definitely been through some changes most notably the Penguin enclosure. No longer do you ride around in a machine instead you get to take your time walking around it. Its incredible getting to view them in there (somewhat) natural environment. Swimming, waddling, nesting you get to see it all. One penguin must of really liked my daughter cause he followed his right around the area and she loved it.
We had a couple of favourite areas. The jellyfish enclosure blew me away, three different varieties swimming around. They look so alien, actually talking of aliens saw a Octopus stuck to the window moving at great speed - seriously looked out of this world. I adore sharks so the interactive tv showing you different species of sharks was exciting. You got to click on the shark and it swam towards you then you could do a 360 with it followed by a break down on its anatomy. Fun but very educational.
The tank with the sharks swimming around you was rather a let down. It felt very small and the sharks were not as big as I would of liked. But it is still extremely fun to walk underwater with marine animals swimming right next to you. I loved the greenery river area with the eels and then there were the seahorses which are just incredible fish.
We spent just over three hours there and everyone was excited about various aspects. It is really rewarding knowing my children have a love for animals and to watch there expressions as they get to see something they have only heard about. We went to Sea World in Australia last year but I think this is better as you get to view more and its at your own speed. Although my daughter did say she wished there were Whales that she could see. I hope they keep improving the place because it really is a marvellous experience for everyone of every age to enjoy.
Kelly Tarltons has to reviews for me. My memories as a child on a school trip, and my experiences revisiting as an adult.
As a CHILD, I went to Kelly Tarlton's after a trip to the Auckland Museum, and we only had an hour to look around at everything. It was set up differently back then (1997?), with a lot of the educational print and posters in the first half, which held little interest for me. This was followed by a trip in a little 'Postman Pat' ride that took you around the penguin enclosure, before kicking you out. Unable to go back and see the penguins again, I was disappointed, but was still elated that I had seen penguins.
Any disappointment was alleviated by the sight of the huge tanks that now surrounded me. With so many bright coloured fish, and the moving walkways, I was a kid in a candy shop. It was the best place that I could think of. I ended up being dragged away back to school before I'd had my fill, and going back became one of my bucket lists items
As an ADULT, I returned last year, and the layout had changed. the Penguin ride was very much the same small ride, but it was to the side, so you could in fact ride it as often as you would like; which is an improvement in my books. But when I had a quick wander around I was shocked by the change in perspective. The large tanks that seemed endless, were in fact a lot smaller, and I managed to walk around them in under 2 minutes. Being sure to make the most of the experience, I read every "Interesting fact" and made sure to find and photograph every species of fish, shark, and ray etc that was present in these tanks.
Even doing all of this however, after 20 minutes I had seen it all, and I couldn't help but wonder if the admission price was indeed worth it (It's $36 for an adult if you don't buy a ticket online). I could see children all around me having the time of their lives. So it struck me as very much a facility for kids. There just wasn't enough to occupy an adult.
When you think of Kelly Tarltons, you think of a magical place under the sea, and yes indeed it can be a very special and magical place. But on this particular trip I was left some what disappointed, I'm sorry to say. Being the school holidays and not having been to Kelly Tarltons for a couple of years we decided to take a trip, last time there we had an awesome time with our then 2yr old son. This time he is 6 and our daughter 3 who had never been.
We arrived on a every windy cold day, so it was nice to be at an inside attraction. First disappointment the price, oh my god are you for real! The price had gone up since our last visit. Adults now $36 from $28 children 3-15yrs $18 from $14, no more under 3's free. Honestly $18 for a 3yr old are you serious! I fully understand the cost that is involved in the up keep and running of this place, but come on we are families not millionaires! It would be nice for once if these attractions would add that into the mix sometimes and not think of the tourist dollar. Anyway money wrenched screaming from my wallet, on our way we went (and yes its cheaper to buy tickets online and will do so next time if there is a next time). First stop, photo time, new since our last visit. Ok I'm happy with this except for the fact we couldn't understand what the photographer was saying (no speaka da English) and it was all very rushed. First exhibit scott base set up, was here last time, didn't like it then didn't like it now, and kids not interested at all.
Next Penguins, now the entrance to this is cool, you walk through a revolving snow tunnel, this did make me feel a little sick but still loved it. Penguins galore! Kids loved it. You can see them swimming under water and on the snow. We just arrived at the finish of feeding, but still got to see a small bit, lots of penguins nesting and the kids saw a egg. Disappointment was the snowcat ride through the enclosure is no longer there, this was the highlight of our last visit. Now on offer is a close encounter and I'm sorry but after paying a $100 to get in I'm not paying $200 to get up close, also its 14yrs and older so bummer if you have younger children who might be penguin mad. Onto the centre of the aquarium, there's a cafe and some seating, a kids interactive area a cool sharks head/jaws for the kids to get inside. The feeding pool, in time for feeding. This is cool and informative, but for little ones its way too loud or just on this day? The fish handler doing his thing talking to the crowd but the speakers were way too loud and it became overwhelming for my 3yr and some other small children. So I left with her heading to the underwater tunnel ride, on last visit before the tunnel was a huge turtle to sit on take photos by, no longer there.
The ride on the moving track was boring to say the least, shark after shark, sting ray after sting ray, where were the other fish? Who knows, hiding or maybe eaten. Saw one turtle. Nevermind I thought up the stairs to the smaller fish tanks, last time they were full of lots of colourful tropical fish and sea anemones, I took so many photos the time before. You guessed not this time, I have no idea what happened this time. This was the one area I knew everyone would love, but each tank only had a few fish with a couple of anemones. So lets go see the new seahorse area, everyone is enchanted by seahorses, and yes by the first tank and second tank, but by the third, fourth and fifth tank of seahorses, BORING. Kids lost interest in a matter of minutes.
Time to leave via the gift shop of course, a test of wills for many a parent I'd say. Jam packed with lots of goodies and extremely over priced, was hard to find something small cheap and satisfying. Just as you leave you get hit with the photo pack, 2 large photos, 2 postcard photos, keyring, magnet to put smaller photos in all inside a booklet. Nicely present and a keepsake, for $35, but you feel slightly guilty if you say no. So out the door we went with our photos, kids cups $20, lollies brought at the cafe $10 and my wallet $165 lighter and my heart heavy with disappointment. I know Kelly Tarltons has been better than this visit, but at this point in time I struggle with the idea of coming back in the near future.
I recently visited Kelly Tarltons after winning a family pass in a competition and it was a great day out for our family. I personally had never been there before and my partner had not been since he was a kid. My daughter had been a couple of times once with other families and once on a school camp.
We went only a few days before Christmas so there were some special parts such as snow in the penguin enclosure and Santa swimming in one of the tanks which was pretty cool to see. The penguin enclosure was amazing and the snow made it such a beautiful place to be. My son who is 11 months was so funny to watch as there was just so much to look at that he did not know where to look and was laughing and making really loud noises.
The tanks are spectacular the fish are so beautiful and I loved seeing the sharks which is probably the closest I will ever get to a shark in my life even through the glass they freaked me out a bit. My daughter showed me where it was she slept when she went there on school camp which was right underneath the shark tank which she thought was pretty cool can't say I would want to sleep so close to sharks.
I don't know if it was because of it being holiday time but it was very busy and hard to find parking but we did get a park in the end as I didn't want to have to walk to far. Although we didn't have to pay I think the prices are pretty reasonable as it is a great experience and I would pay to go back again when my son is older and would enjoy the experience more.
Kelly Tarltons is a family fav in this house. The kids have been going since they were about a year old might be younger, but they always enjoy it. One of my sons first words was penguin he loves them like there is no tomorrow. Riding the cars around looking at the penguins though the glass was always a hit and the big whale popping up at the end excitement for all really.
So where is this great place, well so close to the beach and a park, a full family day out, go in and see all the underworld life on a moving belt or walk around, stopping and ahhing over the magic of the sealife. Sharks and fish living in the same tanks just like sea life.
There has been many changes to this wonderful place, so many things being made better. We just recently went for a 5th birthday and that was another GREAT experience, you go in though the exit and head to the party room. We had a tour of what you dont get to see when you just go for a day, headed though doors pass everyone out to the back to feed the fish, now these fish get so excited all the kids got wet and adults that were standing close, was a great experience for the kids, the tour guide was lovely. We all got to see animals such as a turtle that were recovering and then being sent back to the sea via navy ships.
The penguins area had changed from last time i was there, was lovely to be able to see them up close, you walk though the blizzard instead of going though on a car, and get right up close to the glass can see them all swimming around. This time of year you see the males sitting on the nest with their babies or eggs.
There is a cafe for those that want to stop have a drink and snack, a little educational playarea and of course the gift shop. As we left yup there were the photos on the wall of what you get taken when you first walk in (not the party part). So once again its a great place to visit, or keep going to. Everyone all ages will love this great experience.
The only gripe i would have is the parking, especially in school holidays as you need to be there from the time it opens to get a spot, i had to park down the road closer to the park which was a bit of a walk for 2 young kids, but we did manage.
Kelly Tarlton's is another gem that Auckland has to offer. Not only can you explore a piece of Antarctica, getting to see real penguins in a semi-realistic environment. But then they also have their classic underwater world, with a tunnel and moving track through to look at the sealife.
My daughter was quite penguin-mad when we went to visit last. So we ended up lining up for quite some time to see the penguins over and over again. When we went there was a ride, and you were pushed through the area pretty quickly. That was the one negative I had about the experience. I understand that they have now renovated this area and you can walk through now which is a huge improvement. I can't wait to go and see the centre again with these changes.
Even though my daughter was penguin-mad, she still enjoyed the sealife displays as well. She enjoyed looking at the rays and going through the tunnel. It was great that they had little steps for shorter children to stand on, so they could see things better. They also had an area of fiberglass animals and sea-related things that you could climb on and into. My daughter loved this area as well and spent heaps of time there. We killed a whole day during our visit and I had to drag my daughter screaming out of there. In the end I had to promise to come back before she would let me take her away. Its an amazing and magical place and its great to know they are updating things to keep up with their customers as well.
Arriving early with my 2 x Japanese students, my 9 year old son and my 18 month old daughter we were early so first one in the door. I had heard that it gets really busy hence arriving early was a must. I must admit that at first the prices seemed high especially when you have 3 kids in tow but after I was pleasantly surprised after we came out comparing value for money. Upon entering you go through the displays of Edmund Hillary and the first explorers. The kids did a brief look at this but their main attraction was to get to the penguins fast so it was a very quick whiz through. Arriving at the first fish tank where the huge stingrays were swimming right up to the glass the Japanese students were speechless and in total awe of the massive creatures. We went through to the penguin enclosure which was being renovated but you could still see them through the glass in the enclosure. Heading through to the fish enclosures we will see sharks, every colourful fish known to man, eels the size of alligators ewww. He kids absolutely loved watching the massive stingrays and sharks that look fierce and ferocious. After spending an hour going through the tunnel 3 times we headed to the gift shop which is next to the seahorse enclosures. Here we see the most beautiful and elegant creatures in the tanks swimming with no care in the world. Each tank is beautifully displayed and the different types of sea horses were amazing. Of course a brief stop at the gift shop to buy a photo that one of the staff members took at the start of the entrance and of course a soft penguin each and key rings and an empty wallet later. I thoroughly recommend Kelly Tarltons to any visitor or at least you have to go once at least with the kids. The kids will find it amazing and will have a story to tell when they get home. We loved it and we ended up buying a full year pass to save some money when i take my daughter again.
Kelly Tarltons is an awesome family day out. Its located along Mission Bay which is only minutes from the heart of Auckland city. It has plenty of parking. The premises is very clean & tidy. Its one of those places that no matter how many times you've been there you always see something different. It has excellent little rock pools that the kids can get up close to, which is extremely educational. Last time we went there the big sting ray flicked its tail & sprayed water on us which was very entertaining to see... couldn't get much more action than that. We also went on the snow mobile which took you through the snow to see the penguins & it was amazing. You can go on it as many times as you like & its all included in the admission price. I think that the admission prices are reasonable as you can stay there all day if you like. The gift shop has a huge variety of things that are related to the sea. We had a lovely fish n chip basket for lunch, which was appropriate considering the venue!! Kelly Tarltons would be one of the best attractions Auckland has to offer... in my opinion.
Value for money - this would be the only thing that i could have any doubt over after taking my family to Kelly Tarltons for the day . My first impression was it was over priced for the average kiwi family and was there more for our overseas guest with a few more dollars in there wallets, as it cost my family just over $100 to gain entry alone. Lets not forget the family photo and cd package lunch and the shop on the way out where all the family wants a small gift to remember the day to take home with them. Yes the extras are optional but the family photo and cd package was very nicely put together and how often is the whole family together in one place these days so really what a great chance to grab one with a world class back ground. The appeal really has the WOW factor, where else can you get so close to the under water wild life sharks stingrays and such a massive range of fishes crabs crayfish etc in there own surroundings and not even get wet. I have been a very keen scuba diver over the years and been all over the pacific and our country diving with sharks ,hand feeding them , diving tropical reefs etc, and i was quite surprised on how great this amazing concept was presented, not even having to walk all on a conveyor belt so you can take the whole world around you in amazing really. Accessibility was great plenty of car parks easy to get into as well as leaving not a common thing in Auckland. Overall what a great day out with my better half and kids the whole family had a ball , from my two year old son through to mum. This is a world class attraction and gets a 10 out 10 from me and my family. So is Kelly Tarltons value for money yes it is and i am a hard man to please.
Kelly Tarltons is great! from the minute you arrive you're drawn in by the different sights and sounds. My personal fave is the penguins! I love that you can go through the tunnels and see them in their natural habitat, the kids are always so fascinated by it too!
The stingrays in the big tank are fantastic for getting up nice and close to them.
There is always plenty to see and do with special shows being on a regular basis. You will never fail to find something new to discover and learn about with the kids. A real Treat!
From the outside, there does not seem to be much to attract the almighty tourist dollar - but once you have parked in the ample car-park and head into the underground world that really is Kelly Tarlton's you will not be disappointed (ignoring the staff problems we had, but more about that later).
On entering, we were lined up to have our photos taken, and promised we could buy prints on the way out. Great - another inventive way to wrest more cash from our hands, but hey, what the hell. It's a great memento of our visit.
Heading towards and exhibition of R. F. Scott (incidentally, a much better exhibit than found at the Canterbury museum) we were exposed to an insightful journey into Scott's world of the Antarctic. Here, there is more to slow the adults down than the kids, and perhaps a few more child-friendly interactive games here to slow down the hyperactive kids would have helped the adults to enjoy this more, but no matter.
The tunnel walkway had both my daughter and myself spellbound. Gob smacked, speechless even - what can one say? It was amazing to think that just a few short years ago, this complex held the unthinkable. What a transformation. Excellent identification charts all around helped us identify most of the fish.
The snow ride - despite being close to closing, the staff member on duty re-opened the ride for us, and not only sent us around once, she readily agreed to send us around again. I doubt my stomach could have stood a third trip around the 'white out' conditions. The commentary was fantastic and informative, as was the rest of the display.
Finally, we went to the smaller aquaria to marvel at the other fish in the tanks before heading to the gift shop.
The gift shop was the whole dampener of our trip. Normally, one would expect friendly staff willing to take money from you. Normally they will suggest other things to help obtain more money from you. Not this lot. Apart from ignoring us whilst they continued to chat with each other, they items we had in our hands couldn't be purchased because they had closed the till. They had, it seemed, closed the till before we got to the gift shop, and quite sometime before normal closing time.
The photos we were told we could buy were lost because the computer had been switched off.
As someone who has worked in retail, these staff were a discredit to the company who ran it and caused loss of valuable business. Clearly their social life was more important than us. [Editorial Note: The PhotoSpot is run by an independant company and not by Kelly Tarltons.]
I dare say I will be back again sometime, but I sincerely hope, for the sake of the company, the staff are more attentive to the customer, because as were are always told: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!
What can I say, this is a great venue. The displays are stunning, from the static stuff like the Squid Explorer sub through to the more interactive such as the boxes of costumes for the kids, and the squid sucker demonstrator. I was particularly impressed by the mockup of Scott's Antarctic cabin... wandering through this display, you certainly get a fairly good impression of life on the Antarctic continent, without the chill and frostbite. The movie clips that play, and the accompanying narrative books, give you a historical perspective on Scott's ill-fated expedition to find the South Pole.
Another major attraction is the SnowCat ride through the Penguin enclosure. It was so dinky we went around twice. By far the worst part of it is the 'white out conditions' part, which is a revolving drum that you pass through... can you say "-urp- Vertigo..."... I knew ya could... There is more than just the penguins, of course... you also see a display of all the flags of the countries that have signed the Antarctic Charter.
The longest running attraction of the venue is the moving walkway tunnel. This was the first thing Kelly Tarlton built, converting the old disused sewerage overflow tanks into a national treasure which opened only weeks before he passed away. The original tank has been expanded and sub-divided, and of course extra features and displays have been added over the years since it was opened. On top of this, you can also book for their adventure events, such as the Shark Survival dive, the Stingray Splash swim and the Snorkel Safari through the main tank. And as if this wasn't enough, you can also arrange sleepovers and birthday party tours as well!
As you enter the main area, you can get your photo taken at the independently-owned "PhotoSpot" stand, and then later you can choose a background to superimpose it in front of. Final images are available for view and selection at the "PhotoSpot" counter, which is sharing space with the Gift Shop at the end of the venue. This is a GREAT idea for any family or group outing, however you need to make sure you don't leave it too late. We got to the gift shop about 20 minutes before closing time, and approached the "PhotoSpot" counter with a good 15 minutes to spare, only to be told they had closed it down already and we would not be able to have our photos, so sorry. I was quite disappointed in their overzealousness and "Well, tough luck, we aren't powering it back up for you now" attitude... it cost them quite a bit of money, since there were 3 adults and 2 kids all wanting photos, keyrings and magnets. To add insult to injury, we were also told they had closed the tills down so we couldn't even buy a gift to take home instead! This was a rather disheartening end to an otherwise amazing, awe-inspiring and fun tour. All we ended up walking out with was a couple of the "Tourist Dollar" coins from a vending machine by the Stingray tanks, and our memories.
Overall, this was still a great place to visit, but be sure you get to the end with plenty of time to spare. The staff were a little hard to deal with, but I will chalk that up to it being the end of the day and them wanting to go home. Not a reasonable excuse, but at least and understandable reason. Parking was great, with ample spaces aboveground by the entrance, and access is easy with ramps leading down, but only stairs leading back up... so any chair-bound folk will want to head back the way they came when it's time to leave.
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