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SeaQuest: The Perfect More Than Aquarium Experience

I visited SeaQuest Roseville recently as part of a press trip with Visit Roseville. They paid for my experience, but all thoughts are mine.

SeaQuest Roseville sign

I grew up in Minnesota, just outside Minneapolis. I spent years living the Minnesota life from Valley Fair to Canterbury Downs to the Fair (that’s the Minnesota State Fair for the uninitiated). We did field trips to the Minnesota Zoo and rollerbladed around Lake of the Isles.

SeaQuest Roseville is a completely different experience. While you picture it as an aquarium, it’s so much more than that.

Located inside the Rosedale shopping center, SeaQuest rolls through two floors at the exterior of the mall. This makes it easy to get to and provides plenty of space to wander.

There is a LOT to see at SeaQuest Roseville. However, the spaces are not huge, nor are the aisle ways.

On a Tuesday morning, we saw a line waiting to get in when they opened. Come Saturday or Sunday afternoons? Expect a crowd – or better yet, choose to visit on a less busy day when you can spend more time with each animal.

What will I see at SeaQuest Roseville?

SeaQuest encompasses far more than stingrays and sharks and sea horses. They have hundreds of species ranging from wallabies to an Asian water monitor to land tortoises and more.

SeaQuest iguana

Many of the animals are available for interactions, such a gently petting them with two fingers down their back. The animal whisperers (staff) in each area have different animals available throughout the day for you to experience up close.

petting a lizard at SeaQuest

SeaQuest Roseville has distinct habitats, so you move from room to room and view animals from that part of the world. You start in the Amazon with piranha relatives (in a tank behind glass – don’t worry!), turtles, and yes, that Asian water monitor.

From there, you explore Egypt, the Denmark Farm, Mayan area, Fantasy Cave, Iceland, China, Shark Lagoon, Caribbean Cove, and – of course – the gift shop. You’re able to spend as much or as little time in each room as you choose, depending on your level of interest.

Other rooms include silkie chickens, an aviary filled with parakeets that you can enter, starfish, and a 26,000 gallon tank that houses stingrays, sharks, and other tropical fish. The animals change from time to time, as some get a break from people or others are brought in as rescues.

Seahorse at SeaQuest Rosevile

Access to see all the animals is included in your admission, but you can also purchase extras for your visit.

How much does it cost to visit SeaQuest Roseville?

If you plan to visit for the day, you can purchase a one day pass. The passes are cheaper online (hint – buy them before you go!) Kids under 2 are free.

  • Kids 2-11 cost $12.95 ($10.95 online)
  • Ages 12 and up cost $16.95 ($14.95 online)
  • Those 55+/military/students cost $14.95 ($12.95 online)

Note: You can purchase single day tickets at Viator, a TripAdvisor company, for $9.95 per person, although they do not sell the extras.

In addition, you can purchase a monthly passport or an annual passport if you plan to visit regularly. If I lived closer, we absolutely purchase an annual passport and visit regularly, especially if my kids were still in elementary school.

Monthly passports cost $5.95 for the “primary” passport and $2.95 for each additional passport. You have to purchase them all at the same time, and it’s a minimum 12 month commitment, but you can cancel with 30 days’ notice after that first year.

You can also purchase annual passports, but oddly, they cost more on a per month basis than 12 months of the annual passports. The primary annual passport costs $59.95, with additional passports costing $39.95.

Both passport options also give you access to all SeaQuest locations throughout the country, as well as reciprocal benefits at other animal related attractions in the States and Canada. You also receive discounts for everything from birthday parties to the gift shop, as well as access to members only events and more.

What are feeding tokens?

SeaQuest Roseville sells tokens that you can use for additional experiences. If you plan to visit multiple times, buy a larger token package and save them, as they never expire.

The tokens cost $3 apiece if you buy them individually. However, you can purchase them in quantities up to 50 for $76, which brings the cost down to about $1.50 each.

Use the tokens throughout SeaQuest Roseville to feed the animals. You’ll see little gumball machine like stands where you can use a token to purchase food for specific animals in that section. Add your token, turn the knob, and out pops a plastic ball with food instead of a ring!

Note: There are limited food balls each day to ensure that animals don’t get too much food. Related to that, on busy days, the balls may contain less food, while on slow days they may contain more to ensure animals get enough food.

The most fun – for me – is the aviary. You can enter the aviary and watch the birds at no cost, but when you use a token, the animal whisperer will give you a small scoop of bird feed to hold in your hands.

Bird feeding at SeaQuest

Simply hold your hands out, and the birds fly to you and eat directly from your hands. It tickles, but it’s a fun and unique experience. If you have little kids, make sure they understand that they need to hold still and explain what to expect in advance.

Parakeet eating

Note that these are wild birds. They are not house trained. Like me, you may end up with bird droppings on you (I had two in different places on my arms). There is a sink to wash in each area you visit, but be aware!

How does the behind the scenes SeaQuest work?

For two tokens or $4.95 (remember – buy a token package, which makes it cheaper!), you can go on a behind the scenes tour at SeaQuest where you get to assist the animal whisperers as they feed animals, visit areas not open to the public, learn about habitats, and more.

The tours last for 20 minutes, and they leave each hour on the hour. You cannot schedule the tours in advance, as they are first come, first served the day of at SeaQuest.

Only six people attend each behind the scenes tour, so you don’t feel cramped. They don’t have an age limit, which means you can bring your littler kids if you think they would enjoy this.

It’s a fun and more intimate experience for a minimal cost and well worth it from friends I’ve spoken to. You learn a lot, and who doesn’t love to go where the masses can’t?

Make sure you bring your camera. You will want photos, and the animal whisperers are also happy to take your photos for you to remember the special experience.

Note: For this an all other “special” experiences at SeaQuest, these are in addition to the cost of admission. You can’t go just for the $4.95 tour and not either use your passport or purchase a ticket for the day.

How can I snorkel with the stingrays?

SeaQuest Roseville has a 26,000 gallon tank with stingrays, sharks, and tropical fish (including a puffer fish!) where you can sign up to snorkel with the stingrays for $29.95 per person. Each snorkel session lasts for 30 minutes and has a maximum of six people, so there’s no crowding.

SeaQuest Roseville stingrays

You can register online for one of the three daily timeslots at 6pm, 7pm, or 8pm. Make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled session to ensure you have time to change into your swimsuit, get fitted for a wetsuit, and have your debriefing.

You must provide your own swimsuit and towel to dry off afterwards, but SeaQuest Roseville has you covered with everything else. They offer shorties to keep you warm, which is plenty for snorkeling in the five foot deep tank.

SeaQuest has two bathrooms for you to change, both of which include a shower to rinse of afterwards. Bring your own shampoo, however, as there is none in the shower. The bathrooms also include lockers to store your personal items during your snorkel adventure.

If you choose, kids can wear a life jacket, but everyone who snorkels must be able to swim at least 100 yards. There is also a plexiglass bench you can sit on to rest, if needed.

You are welcome to bring your own waterproof camera or GoPro to capture your snorkeling experience. SeaQuest Roseville also rents GoPros for $29.95 and then downloads photos to a jump drive for you, if you prefer.

Your friends who don’t snorkel with you can watch through the sides of the tank, as well as walking to the back of the tank and sitting under the plexiglass bench area to see even more. In fact, even if you don’t snorkel, check out the tank from that vantage point!

Inside the stingray tank

In addition to snorkeling and seeing the sea life going about your business, you have the option to feed the stingrays. I’ve fed stingrays multiple times in the past, and this was easily the most fun time.

Rather than squid, SeaQuest Roseville offers halved sardines for you to feed. Additionally, it isn’t one per person and you’re done like most experiences. Instead, they have a container, and you can continue to feed the stingrays until it’s empty.

As with any feeding experience, make sure you feed safely. While stingrays don’t “bite” you, they have strong suction in their mouths to pull the food in. Either tuck your thumb inside your fist (how I’ve always been told to feed in the past), or pinch the sardine and release it as soon as you feel the stingray start to eat it.

The stingrays love their food and will swarm you. It feels like puppies snuggling up against you, and some of them will try to snarf up nonexistent food along your legs or on your camera. Don’t panic, as it just tickles!

All the stingrays have had their barbs removed, but you still don’t want to step on them or annoy them. If you stand, make sure you shuffle your feet in the sand. If you pet them, be gentle and don’t chase them.

What other unique experiences does SeaQuest Roseville offer?

While I experienced “only” the snorkeling with the stingrays, SeaQuest Roseville also offers otter and slot interactions for a fee in addition to the price of admission. Book these online in advance to ensure there is space when you want to experience them.

SeaQuest Otter Interaction

The otter interaction costs $24.95 for a 5-7 minute interaction, which feels steep to me, although it is a cool option. Only three people are a part of each interaction, which makes it special.

You get to pet the sloth, interact with it, and take photos with the sloth. Note that all guests must be at least 10 years old. If anyone is under 10, a parent must join and be part of the three person maximum.

These interactions are offered four times daily at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 4:30pm. Make sure you check in at the front desk at least 15 minutes before your time to avoid losing any interaction time.

SeaQuest Roseville requires reservations at least 24 hours in advance for this attraction.

SeaQuest Otter Interaction

For $29,95, you can also have an interaction with the two Asian small clawed otters who live at SeaQuest. This interaction lasts for 15 minutes, and I find it more unique and potentially more worth the money than the sloth interaction.

No more than five guests can participate in any otter interaction. The same 10 years old or older requirement remains in place, and any under 10 must have an adult also participate.

The otter interactions happen four times a day, though only twice on Sundays due to their hours:

  • Breakfast with the otters at 10am (Monday to Saturday)
  • Brunch with the otters at 11am
  • Playtime with the otters at 3pm
  • Dinner date with the otters at 6pm (Monday to Saturday)

You get to feed the otters, with supervision, as well as play with them. Otters are incredibly social and friendly animals, but you don’t often get to see them up close.

Other options:

SeaQuest Roseville offers birthday parties that include party room time, a private encounter with an animal, goodie bags for each child, and more. Each party lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes and can be booked at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, or 6pm Mondays through Thursdays.

You can also sleep with the sharks, where yes, you do in fact get to spend the night at SeaQuest. This includes a nocturnal animal tour with shark feeding, breakfast in the morning, and the ability to bring in a movie of your choice and watch it before bedtime.

What are the hours of SeaQuest Roseville?

SeaQuest Roseville is open 7 days a week, though closed for the same holidays that Rosedale shopping center closes.

Monday to Saturday, they’re open 10am to 9pm. Sundays they open 11am to 6pm.

Is SeaQuest Roseville accessible?

SeaQuest Roseville is wheelchair accessible. Although it is located on two levels, there is an elevator to transport guests.

Strollers are also welcome at the facility, which is great news for parents of small kids. SeaQuest Roseville is also able to accommodate other special needs, including on many of the special events.

Please call them in advance to discuss your needs to help them better plan. You can reach them at 651-330-2590.

What’s your favorite animal to interact with?

If you - or your child - loves animals, make a trip to SeaQuest Roseville. This more than aquarium lets your interact with animals you don't often see up close. Here's everything you need to know to make the most of your visit and why you SHOULD visit this Minnesota attraction.

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  1. Tran says:

    Please correct the location on your article. Seaquest is nowhere in Roseville. It’s in the city of Folsom.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Tran, While there *is* a location in Folsom, California, that is not the one I visited, nor the one I’m talking about here. They have multiple locations across the country, and there are many similarities amongst them (though each is slightly different). This is the location in Roseville, Minnesota. I assure you the city is correct 🙂

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