And it was a good thing we left when we did. Between Spring Break and rodeo traffic there were multiple slow downs. We arrived with about 20 minutes to spare, and by the time we had located the room and had a potty break it was party time.
The party room had an aquarium view.
The boys immediately camped out in front of it.
They alternated between watching the various fish including a barracuda, and various sharks and playing with blocks and letters in the floor. Soon their friends began to trickle in and a chorus of "oohs" and "awws" repeated themselves over and over again with each new wave.
After about 40 minutes of playing our host lined the kids up and led us upstairs for the behind the scenes penguin encounter.
Amazingly enough we didn't lose anyone on the trek down the long hallway, up the stairs, and through the aquarium where we re-assembled outside the penguin habitat.
After a short wait - just long enough for a group photo opp we were led back into the penguin's kitchen.
Once we were all settled and reminded again to use our quietest voices a penguin waddled into the room with one of the staff.
The trainer gave us a 10-15 minute speel all about the penguins from how long they live, to hall tall they get to be, to what they eat, and how fast they can swim. A few minutes in our penguin stood completely upright and let out a loud call, for lack of a better word, surprising us all. Apparently it was a fairly rare treat which it would go on to repeat again before our visit was up.
Our penguin was quite an active fellow. He kept the trainer busy as he wandered first one way then another exploring the room.
The trainer had her work cut out for her trying to corral him.
At the very end the birthday boys got to see the penguin up close and personal and got to have their picture taken with him.
Afterwards it was time to feed the penguins. We grabbed spots at the glass and watched the penguins waddle around on the ice.
And swim underwater as we waited for the food to be brought out.
As we watched the penguins gathered round and enjoyed the buckets of small fish.
We returned to the room to find a few friends who had gotten tied up in traffic. They were just in time to meet the penguin mascot.
Though several of the other kids stopped to visit and had pictures taken with them him the boys kept a skeptical eye on him and refused to budge anywhere near him.
The boys instead amused themselves with the blocks, colors, and other activity items laid out on the tables as the hostess brought out the cake.
The boys once again heard a round of Happy Birthday, and like the seasoned pros they had become blew out their candles and dug into the cookie cake.
And a nice red punch. :)
Afterwards we took a 10 minute break to allow folks to take a potty break and/or drop of their goodie bags in their cars before we headed into the Aquarium.
The aquarium was a go at your own pace and our group soon split up with a dozen kids running in different directions. Our smaller group including Leila H, Dean, and Rohan headed towards the sea lions. They particularly enjoyed watching the biggest sea lion as he repeatedly made a path doing a backflip right in front of the under sea window.
The boys wandered from tank to tank delighting in all the fish.
Though there were few that they enjoyed more than the big tank with the sharks. The tunnels where the schools of fish and sharks swam over head was a particular favorite.
There was such a variety of fish everywhere we looked. We could have easily spent an hour watching in that one spot alone.
As the end our tour drew near we rested for a while in the auditorium like room just before the exit. A giant yellow eel sat near the glass probably as intrigued by as we were by him. After playing and watching for a while we finally said our goodbyes and headed out.
It was certainly an adventure we won't soon forget.