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Life Lately: The Beluga Whale Encounter At Mystic Aquarium

A few years ago, we had the most exciting day of our lives at The Mystic Aquarium in Seaport, Connecticut. It was Day 10 of our epic New England Road Trip & we were feeling a little exhausted and sad to leave our beautiful home for the night, The Ocean House.

We drove the short distance from the shores of Rhode Island into Connecticut for one reason and one reason only….the beluga whale experience at Mystic Aquarium.

It was a short, yet beautiful drive, and we were thrilled that the sun was shining even though the wind was brisk. If we’d been staying at The Ocean House another night, we would’ve loved to have driven a complimentary Mercedes Benz {yes, you read that right} to the aquarium, but were too worried we’d get it all fishy and what not.

We checked in at the information desk inside the aquarium and promptly filled out our disclosure and release forms that we forgot to bring…because who can remember anything on a crazy drive 3000+ miles around the eastside of the country. We probably should have realized, though, that we’d literally sign our life away, we were, afterall, getting in a tank with beluga whales. No biggy.

We made our way with the other several daring souls into a little classroom of sorts near the beluga whale tank, for an introduction into everything beluga whale and to don our dreaded waders.

We’d introduced ourselves briefly to the whales at their enclosure prior to being escorted back to start our adventure. The youngest whale at the time, Juno, stole the show and even photobombed us as were taking a selfie. Little did we know at the time that he would completely steal our hearts later that morning.

I’d never done an animal experience like this before and wasn’t sure what to expect. The staff at Mystic Aquarium was supportive and so in tune with the animals. They eased our minds and nerves as we entered the tank.

Wearing wadors in water was a completely different experience as well. I may or may not have a slight fear of the water, and I don’t know how to “formally” swim. I always joke that I might be able to swim to save myself if need be, but I’m certainly no Michael Phelps in a pool. And, with those wadors on, I knew I’d never make it if I fell into the 30+ gallon tank.

We each got to come up the edge of the pool and pet and play with the whales. There were a few groups of adventures that day and we got to participate in their beluga whale show for the other guests.

The beluga whales felt a lot like rubber. They were so smooth and soft and extremely gentle. I instantly fell in love.

At one point of our experience, one of the lady whales rolled over on her back and let us pet her flubber {AKA belly}, and let us rub her enormous tongue. It was the sweetest darn thing.

Adam kept saying, “can you believe we had our hand inside of a whale’s mouth today?”. It was pretty incredible.

Juno came over to our group and we got to choose whether we wanted a little squirt from his mouth or something else a lot less messy. I was chosen to go first, so I chose the messiest option, of course. You only live once, right? Well…it was more like a salty fishy facial from the big boy himself.

It caught me totally off guard. I’m thankful I didn’t blow over. Ha! But, we had a good laugh about that for a long while. It was the best & made for an awesome picture by the on-staff photographer.

We were on cloud 9 after our beluga whale experience. We managed to explore the rest of the aquarium, take in a sea lion show, and pet some sharks. But, nothing compared to our beluga whale experience.

I would love to go visit Juno and his whale buddies again someday and do this same beluga whale experience. It was unforgettable.

Encounters at Mystic Aquarium

If you find yourself in Connecticut and are looking for an unforgettable experience, look no further than the Mystic Aqarium. They offers encounters with several animals including seals, sea lions, penguins, and beluga whales.

If you’d like to get up close and personal with a 2 ton whale, but don’t want the wadors and the water, Mystic Aquarium also offers a painting with the whales experience. You hold the canvas and the whales paint a masterpiece for you. How cool is that?

They also offer a beluga whale experience for younger visitors as well, so everyone can fall in love with these creatures.

To learn more about their other encounters…

Click Here

Beluga Whale Experience

The beluga whale encounter that we did runs from May to October and costs $179/per person for Non-Members of the Aquarium & $169 for members. It was worth every penny.

“Enjoy a classroom introduction and preparation (approx. 20 min.) followed by a 20 minute in-water experience where you’ll pull on waterproof waders and go waist-deep in the Arctic Coast exhibit to meet a beluga. Learn about the species and try your hand at directing a behavior. Feel the whale’s melon and finish with a posed photo with a beluga. A question and answer session is available to conclude the program.”

Tips for the Beluga Whale Experience

  • Pack An Extra Pair Of Warm, Dry Clothes- the waders will keep you pretty dry, but if you get a facial from a whale like I did, you’re gonna want something dry to throw on after your experience
  • Bring All Necessary Paperwork With You- like the safety forms that we forgot. If you do forget them like we did, they’ll supply you the forms to fill out.
  • Buy The Pictures- cause when will you ever be that close to a beluga whale again? Their on-staff photographer will get some action shots of you with the whales and also some posed pictures, so bring your best smile and your check book!

Donate To Their Mission

Once you fall in love with these animals, all you want to do is help conserve their waters and help them thrive. What a glorious animal they are, including their many friends throughout the aquarium.

You can become an Animal Parent, and adopt an animal for yourself, your child, even your classroom. We’ve adopted a beluga whale for our niece for her birthday, and she thought it was the perfect present.

“By supporting our Animal Parent program you are helping Mystic Aquarium achieve our global mission to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet. Your donation does an ocean of good!”

To learn how to donate and become an Animal Parent…

Click Here

We can’t wait to go back and say hi to Juno and his other whale friends. He stole our hearts and we’ll never forget this beautiful day we had together in Connecticut.

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