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Took a first date to the Downtown Aquarium on Saturday night. What an awesome romantic evening. Probably because I was in the good company. It was unexpected on her part and I have not been there since the renovation of Ocean Journey.

Our goal was to grab dinner, and maybe wander around the Aquarium.

OMG!! They have really changed this place a lot!!! In my own humble opinion for the better.

First stop the restaurant. You will find it through the gift store, of course and you will be greeted by a host. There was not much waiting for a table (about 20 minutes they said). They even volunteered to call me on my cell when the table was ready. Fantastic! 10 minutes later we were paged. The restaurant curves around a 150,000 gallon fish tank complete with sharks and other various fish in it. There are tables up close to the glass that are available via special request ahead of time. But, personally, I would not want to sit that close as the acrylic up close as it warps your view. Dinner seemed is a little higher priced because of the environment. It was good food too. The service was very good. I think the restaurant is owned by Landrys. They feed the tank twice a day with divers and it should make it a great show.

Afterwards, we went up to the Aquarium exhibit itself. There are some great exhibits in there. The otters are fun to watch and the tigers were cool too. They did not have too many fresh water exhibits and some of the salt water exhibits still seem to be in transition. Overall I would recommend this in conjunction with the restaurant. The aquarium will not fill your day, so look to the hiking paths around it and the Children’s museum close by should you want to fill the whole day in one location.

Plan your visit to the aquarium around or after 6pm as they give you discounted tickets to the main hall. In the actual aquarium, we went in after 9pm. It is open till 11pm on Friday and Saturday. Not crowded at ALL!! Talk about a great moment in life. We sat down and watched the tigers play in the water for like 30 minutes and only saw the occasional employee.

There are walking paths everywhere around the outside of the aquarium. One takes you to Children’s Museum.

In closing I highly recommend the Downtown Aquarium and the associated restaurant for a romantic fun filled evening.

Jim Tolentino
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