4 Things to Love About Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Sea Life Safari

by Carrie McLaren with 1 comment

If you’re looking for a unique and really fun experience along the waterways of Florida, don’t miss the Sea Life Safari at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Climb aboard the pontoon boat with a local biologist and get ready to explore and learn too.

My family and I experienced this 90-minute adventure during our visit to the Clearwater area last year and loved touring the area via boat and seeing the aquatic creatures found in the nearby waters.

4 Things to Love About Clearwater Marine - blog pic

Each Sea Life Safari is Unique

During the safari, the on-board biologist cast a net into the waters letting it sit for three minutes, and then pulls the net back in filled with a variety of creatures for us to learn about during our ride. With water filled tanks ready for these creatures to sail with us on short voyage, it was fascinating to see these animals up close.

Sea Life Safari Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Crab

Since every net brings in new creatures and items, each trip is always different. It was funny to hear the tales at what they’ve brought in from their pulls. On the morning of our trip, the net pull brought in a spider crib, a silver perch, a lizard fish, a sheep head fish, a mango snapper and even a blowfish!

I really appreciated that if they biologist found an injured creature or one that needed medical attention, they were kept safe until we made it back to the aquarium for a closer look.

Visit Shell Island 

About halfway through the safari, the boat stops at a beautiful sand dune right in the middle of the intracoastal waterway. The little island was filled with beautiful shells and my girls loved dipping their feet in the water.

Sea Life Safari Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Shell Island

Pro Tip: Bring a small ziploc bag with you to collect a shells – it will keep them safe, dry and you won’t have sand all over your stuff too.

A Fun Learning Experience

The on-board biologist was very knowledgeable and patient with so many of our questions. Once she completed the net pull and placed creatures in their temporary tanks, she walked around the boat with it so everyone could get a closer look.

Sea Life Safari Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Look and Learn

It was an adventure that my family had never experienced and I’m not ashamed to admit that I learned just as much as the kids on the boat. I love discovering activities that are educational for my girls, but for me too. Learning can be an adventure — even on vacation!

The views

Seeing Clearwater via a boat offers such great views. The waters were clear and my girls loved waving at the other boats as we passed in the intracoastal area.

You get a different perspective of an area when you think outside of the box. Exploring on the Sea Life Safari boat allowed us to relax and soak in our surroundings. And it made for some fun pictures too!

Sea Life Safari Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Views

Things to Know: Sea Life Safari

  • Don’t worry moms with little ones, there is a bathroom onboard the pontoon boat.
  • Book the first Sea Life Safari tour of the day for less crowds.
  • Sea creatures are more active in the morning, so you’ll have a better chance of seeing more species during the net pull.
  • Reservations are required, walk-ups are allowed if space is available.
  • There are only three tour times each day – so plan ahead!

Are you ready for the Sea Life Safari? 


** A special thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for hosting us on our visit. Thoughts and opinions here are my own. ** 


  • Janne Halstead

    this would be great fun

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