Aquarium Restaurant has a new, mystical, interactive experience that kids love!
We waited at the tunnel leading into the Aquarium Restaurant at Nashville's Opry Mills. Excitement welled in my 10-year-old daughter as the gentleman took us around the main tank to our table. Front and center! Overwhelmed with the idea of dining with such a wonderful view had her eager to check it all out. She grabbed my camera and walked around snapping pics of all her favorite fish. She comes back to the table all giddy and unable to sit, but we needed to pick something from the menu.
She ordered the Cheese Steak Sandwich while I opted for the Chicken Fried Chicken. Our super friendly waiter, Seger, offered several times to answer any questions about the menu or even the fish in the nearby tank! While we waited for our food, we gawked at the tank. Upon Seger's return, Lilliana had a question. Seger had a significant amount of knowledge about the Aquarium's fish. We learned about the three shovelnose guitarfish (one of which is actually the biggest fish they have), their names and which was the biggest along with many other interesting facts. Then came our yummy food!
As we sank our teeth into our scrumptious meals, we were excited to see a Mystic Mermaid appear in the tank (free for restaurant guests only). Crowds of little ones flocked to the glass to get a closer look. This mermaid is one talented young lady! Not only did she spend time smiling ear-to-ear at her fans, waving and blowing bubble kisses, she gave a wonderfully choreographed performance. We were amazed to see how she twirled in the water, performed flips and swam around like it was second nature to her. The costume was just right, too! The excitement of a mermaid in the tank actually calmed the fears of some of the younger visitors. One little girl upon arrival didn't even want to walk around the giant tank. She was terrified of the fish. BUT, that changed immediately once she saw the beautiful Mystic Mermaid. I heard her say, "I really want to get in that water!"
We finished our meal and ordered dessert to go. Just couldn't pass up on the Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream! All of the Aquarium's desserts are made from scratch in the restaurant. We then headed out to get ready for the next item on our list — the meet and greet.
Following each show, the Mystic Mermaids — either Cora or Kaya, depending on who's doing the show that day — will interact with kids during a meet and greet along with photo opportunities for free right outside the restaurant inside the mall. But, if you want to get a photo, be sure your meal is complete and you've checked out so that you can head out there because all mall guests can line up to get a photo and talk to her, and she can't be out outside the tank for too long!
In addition, Aquarium Restaurant also offers Mystic Mermaid Breakfasts and birthday party packages — these shows feature a narrated, conservation-focused segment. The Under-the-Sea Breakfast is $18.99 adults, $15.99 ages 3 - 10.
In August, the regular show takes place Fridays, Aug. 12, 19 and 26 at 6 and 7 p.m. as well as Sundays, Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 1 and 2 p.m. Upcoming Mystic Mermaids Breakfasts are Saturdays, Aug. 20 and Sept. 10 at 8:30 a.m. (reservations required).
Nashville Aquarium is located at 516 Opry Mills Drive, Nashville. Call 615-514-3474 or visit aquariumrestaurants.com.
More about: Kiera Ashford
Associate editor and photographer for this publication, Ashford is also a mother of three ages 2, 9 and 13.