Best Kids' Thrill - 2005
World Aquarium at the City Museum
"Hello, pretty baby" is the greeting you'll receive at the entrance from Candy and Louie, the resident cockatoos. But these unusual doormen are far from the only feature that makes the World Aquarium a kids' thrill. You want up-close, hands-on experience with aquatic life and ecosystems? You and your small fry can crawl through the caves to view the stingrays, slide over the glass-bottom boat and into the shark-pool tube or explore the animal-touch exhibits in Sand Castle Beach. Visit the Rivers of the World, Lizard Lounge, Alligator Alley and the Curiosity Classroom, which is full of glass bookcases housing dozens of aquariums and tanks. Say hello to the two-headed snake (yup, both heads get hungry) as you pass into the newest addition, Captain Nemo's study from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. World Aquarium head honcho Leonard Sonnenschein says the move to the City Museum a little over a year ago "enabled us to keep the imagination of the St. Louis Children's Aquarium and create a space for adults to be comfortable, too." Admission is $18 ($12 to get into the City Museum, plus $6 to see the fish). It's worth it.