My sister-in-law and I took my daughter, her son and the son of a friend (ages 3-4) to the Sao Paulo Aquarium. Sao Paulo boasts the largest aquarium in South America. But museums and other cultural attractions in the third world make one appreciate the public and private funding that gets funneled into museums and art galleries in the States. Shedd Aquarium this was not.
Regardless, the kids thought it was the best! Aside from a school group, we were the only ones there so the three preschoolers had the run of the place. They dashed from tank to tank identifying fish and snakes and iguana, eagerly discussing what they saw. They were having a great time!
That is, until we got to the dinosaur exhibit:
What giant plastic, mechanical dinosaurs and a prehistoric zombie exhibit were doing in the middle of an aquarium, God only knows. But the kids were TERRIFIED. We had to pick up each individual child and RUN them past the displays. My daughter screamed the entire run and then cried for 10 minutes straight. Twenty minutes and some deep breathing exercises (and some chocolate and a R$15 Little Mermaid balloon) later she was recovered enough to proceed through the remaining sea creature exhibits. The fun resumed, though there was some understandable hesitation before entering each new exhibit.
It was still a great time. However, guess who refused to sleep in her own bed that night. Just guess.