The name was changed to the more fanciful version in 1962, and they were marketed heavily to kids — especially through comic books, and magazines for kids, where they appeared alongside other gimmicks like X-ray glasses.
The product was a huge success, despite the fact that the Sea-Monkeys — in reality, brine shrimp — disappointed millions of kids by not looking even remotely like the characters on the product package. (At the bottom of many of the ads, it did say “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia salina,” but how many kids read the fine print?)
Miss the little swimming creatures you had as a kid? Here’s some good news for you: sets with these little creatures are still available today!
Just add water and you’ve got instant life! (1970)
Over 150 amazing Sea-Monkeys born ALIVE before YOUR eyes!
Shrimp that play games
From the Austin American-Statesman (Texas) November 1, 1976
One of the most unusual aquatic pets is the strain of artemia (brine shrimp) that Harold Braunhut has developed and marketed as Sea Monkeys.
A starter set can cost as little as a dollar. The little shrimp hatch instantly in 12 ounces of purified water, are born about the size of this comma, and within four weeks they grow to about 1/3-inch, with feathery little tails and swimmerets. Fully grown, they reach a maximum of two inches.
Sea Monkeys would be little more than a curiosity, except for a unique talent: They react to light and swim upstream against currents.
Braunhut has used these characteristics to create an instruction book of fascinating tricks to put the shrimp through, and his Transcience Corp. markets a series of racing games in which human players guide their Sea Monkeys by controlling the rate of the current flow.
A deluxe set to breed 100 shrimp includes the instruction book, good for several months, and ready-to-hatch dry eggs and retails for around $2. The racing games (speedway, ski trails, cycle race, fox hunt) are $10 each.
ANOTHER RETRO FAD: Mood rings: The colorful new-age 70 trend – and what the colors meant
A blue Sea Monkey aquarium tank with magnifying windows
Super Sea Monkeys: Fastest-growing Sea-Monkeys of all time!
The spoon, aka “twin-level precision feeding instrument”
Sea Monkey growth food – vintage package
“The complete balanced diet for health and long life!”
Enter the wonderful world of amazing live Sea-Monkeys (1971)
Instant pets, only $1.25 – So eager to please, they can even be trained
Always clowning around, these frolicsome pets swim, stunt and play games with each other. Because they are so full of tricks, you’ll never tire of watching them.
And raising Sea-Monkeys is so easy, even a six-year-old can do so without help. They eat very little, and they keep their water so clean, they require only a minimum of care, though they LOVE attention.
Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia salina
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Sea Monkeys Sea Circus aquarium set
It’s fun to raise pet Sea-Monkeys! (1970)
The official “Instant Life” handbook — includes the Sea-Monkey (Artemia) “Growth Guarantee”
At least TWO Sea-Monkeys MUST grow to maturity or your supply will be replaced under this Guarantee. You must allow at least 12 weeks for this full growth to be reached. If you are unable to got satisfactory results, you may enter your claim.
The most important factor for success is PATIENCE. You must give your Sea-Monkeys a chance to grow. Consider the fact that they are not plastic toys, but real, LIVING creatures that must have time and proper care to be able to grow to adulthood.
Due to conditions beyond our control (although we have taken every precaution known to science), we do not guarantee how MANY fully-grown pets you can expect (thousands of our customers have reported getting many dozens, others just a few).
The amount you will obtain depends upon varying factors, both natural and artificial, such as: The quality of your regional water source, care, feeding, temperature control, bacterial control and many other conditions. To help you achieve success, we have developed many useful supplies and accessories listed in the Price list.
Under THIS Guarantee which is SEPARATE and DISTINCT from your Sea-Monkey Life Insurance Policy), our liability is limited to the replacement of Item No. 28 (value 50c) and Item No. 31 (value 50c), a total retail value of $1.00.
Both packages will be replaced ONLY if the purchaser is not able to grow TWO Sea-Monkeys to maturity. Under no circumstances does this guarantee cover the purchase price of your Sea-Monkeys. It is a replacement guarantee only.
This GROWTH Guarantee is Null and Void if you fail to comply with any of the following requirements for fulfillment of our pledge: 1. You must enclose 25c in coin to cover the labor cost of handling, processing and shipping your claim. 2. You must enclose a STAMPED, self-addressed envelope. 3. You must allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery of your replacement supplies.
Own a bowlful of happiness… amazing live Sea-Monkeys (1972)
A thrilling live sea-circus in your home! – Only $1.00
Vintage TV commercial from the ’70s
“Sea-Monkeys are more fun than a barrel of people!”
ANOTHER DISAPPOINTING PET? How the Pet Rock was one of the hottest novelty products of the 1970s