Mister Four started a new year at kindergarten last week. After a few days filled with the excitement of new shoe buying and uniform labelling, I found myself back in the school yard, waving off my little big boy and desperate to fill the void. And so I turned to the other school mums and the conversation went something like this.
'So what did you do over the summer?' (And no, as an Aussie I still haven't got used to referring to July and August as 'summer').
'We kayaked to a desserted island.'
'We zip-lined through the jungle.'
'We scaled Everest.'
Okay, not quite. But you get my drift. It seemed everyone had an exciting adventure to share.
But so did I. One rainy Monday morning here in KL Mister Four, Little Miss and I had a close encounter with a tiger shark...
Fancy one too? You'll need to head to Aquaria KLCC.
The first thing I like about this aquarium is just how easy it is to get to. It's located in the concourse of the Convention Centre. You can walk across from Suria KLCC and there are good public transport links. It's well sign-posted too.
The aquarium houses eight or so exhibits, showcasing marine life in various habitats from jungle streams to tropical waters. There are also otters and water rats - surprisingly cute and cuddly looking. Young children will enjoy the touch pools where they can stroke sea cucumbers and star fish. Then there is the shark display, with enough jaws and pointy teeth to tantalise any future marine biologist. On any of our visits though, it's the Oceanarium that steals the show. We never tire of watching tiger sharks, rays and turtles swim above our heads in the tunnel and there's definitely child appeal in the moving walkway. We also enjoy the fish feedings, which are scheduled throughout the day (check first). Be warned though that they can get very crowded. On this last occasion I was left standing on the side with Little Miss, craning my neck to get a view of anything more than the man in front's head.
It's worth mentioning that the Jewels Of The Jungle exhibit was closed when we went in August. I believe there is a new display set to replace it, but it did leave a slight 'hole' in our tour. That said, there is still plenty to see.
I should also mention that it's one of the more costly family attractions in the city. This must be reflective of the upkeep required though, evident in the well-maintained exhibits. Residents of Malaysia receive a discounted rate on presentation of ID.
Having visited a number of aquariums in other countries, I think that Aquaria holds its own in terms of variety and presentation and will keep little ones happily diverted. It's not particularly large, but a good size for younger children whose interest may be zealous but short lived. There are toilet facilities though few rest stops. The aquarium is stroller and wheelchair friendly. It's well staffed and we found a number of people willing to help us navigate our way around.
As with most child-orientated attractions in the modern world the exit hosts a sizeable gift shop with all manner of marine (and surprisingly non-marine) trinkets on offer. I challenge any parent to make an undiverted exit.
I haven't managed it yet but perhaps that's my challenge for the next school holidays.