Nothing against the Shedd, but I find it EXTREMELY difficult to muster the energy to wrangle my two little monsters into their gear, pack a very strategic bag that is full of supplies for a fun filled day that is light enough to schlep around a museum without giving me an aching back, figure out the best and cheapest parking and admissions package, and keep my boys under my watchful eye all by myself while my husband is at work, so I have become very creative in finding “museum quality” aquariums to visit. I am happy to report that I have found an AMAZING place to spend this winter for free in order to get our “fish fix.” Where is this hidden gem? The Petland Aquarium Adventure superstore in Hoffman Estates.
Located in a strip mall along Golf Road, the Petland/Aquarium looks like a very simple version of a Petsmart or Petco from the outside, but trust me, it has MUCH more. This store in particular is divided into two sections, a Petland part that has more “traditional” pet store items and activities such as birds, hamsters, bunnies, and even puppies.
Now, I am VERY MUCH AGAINST buying a puppy instead of adopting one of the wonderful dogs out there who need a loving home (we found our lovely Rylie through www.adoptapet-il.org) but there are some dogs there that are up for adoption, so that makes it SLIGHTLY better. Just slightly.
But onto the great aspects of the store. The employees are very friendly and obviously know that many parents take their kids to their store just to check out the animals, and they are more than willing to have “show and tell” sessions with the many animals on display. You can even host a small birthday party at this location, perfect for the little animal lover in your family.
If you have followed my blog, you are well aware that my boys are OBSESSED with water and any and all creatures that live in this very exciting habitat. Well, the Aquarium Adventure part of the pet store is heaven to them. There are aisles upon aisles of fish tanks to explore, including two huge tanks that span from floor to ceiling as you walk from one section of the pet store to the other.
I absolutely love the “googly eyed” fish so we spend a lot of time exploring those, as well as the more exotic fish that are all over the world. Each aisle and tank is clearly labeled with the name of the fish and what part of the world it comes from, so we have a great time learning all about the different habitats of the fish, especially since we have a brand new globe at home and are beginning to talk about the vastness of earth (at least as much as a three year old would understand).
The Aquarium Adventure section of the pet store doesn’t just showcase fish, however. You can truly find just about every type of aquarium focused pet you can imagine, as well as living things to add to your aquarium habitat.
We always have fun visiting the bearded dragons and lizards since our bearded dragon passed away earlier this year, and the turtles are always fun to watch. I loathe getting up close to the snakes and tarantulas, but my boys love these creepy animals so I suck it up and put on my “big girl panties.”
The most prominent feature of the front of the store has to be the two huge ponds, especially the one that features a relaxing waterfall. We could literally stare at the koi for hours, but they seem to get sick of us pretty quickly because we don’t feed them. I never knew they were so temperamental!
Looking for other ways to have fun with animals? Simply search “zoo,” “nature center,” or “aquarium” in the side bar.