Amazing Aquariums in North America
Watching colourful sea creatures swimming around in larger-than-life tanks can seem pretty magical to young kids. But, there's more to a great exhibit than just fish. We’ve found some amazing aquariums that not only showcase some of the ocean’s most graceful, powerful, and breathtaking marine creatures, but who also offer a ton more! There are opportunities to interact with marine life, spark learning, and create a fun visit for the entire family!
Discover some of the best aquariums in North America...
Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
The Shedd Aquarium, located on Chicago's Museum Campus, is the world's largest indoor aquarium with more than 8,000 aquatic animals representing more than 700 species from all parts of the world. The Caribbean Reef, teaming with bright, colourful new corals and more than 60 species of animals, includes bonnet head sharks, southern stingrays, angelfish, and a hawksbill sea turtle. Divers hand-feed sharks, sea turtles, and eels at scheduled times during the day. The Marine Mammal Presentation, presented several times each day, features animal-care staff interacting with the dolphins and whales as they dive, spyhop, and walk on their tails.
The Vancouver Aquarium is home to 50,000 animals which hail from diverse habitats, from Canada’s Arctic to the Amazon rainforest to British Columbia’s local waters – including sharks, wolf eels, beluga whales, and a somewhat shy octopus. There's also a small, walk-through rainforest area of birds, turtles, and a statue-still sloth. You'll see stunning animals that live in the deep sea or high up in the tropical canopy, or peculiar and strange creatures that we rarely have the opportunity to view. In the Penguin Walk, everyone’s favourite flightless birds are stepping out of Vancouver Aquarium’s Penguin Point and going for a daily walk in front of visitors. It’s a chance for people to see the penguins up close, like never before, and take in their famous adorable waddle. Check out the mesmerizing iridescent jellyfish tanks as well as the schedule for feeding times. The attraction's latest draw is its 4-D Experience: a 3-D movie theater with added wind, mist, and aromas.
Sea World in Orlando
This marine adventure parks consists of 200 acres where visitors can get up-close and personal with killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, otters, and other ocean creatures. The major stars of SeaWorld are the killer whales found in the Shamu Stadium. The massive, open air theater seats thousands that are there to view the killer whale show, "Believe." In addition to the hands-on interaction, presentations, and shows that SeaWorld offers, there are a multitude of educational programs and behind the scenes extras. Share an epic voyage with sea turtles on the 3-D 360 TurtleTrek. And, there’s nothing cooler than to see the world through the eyes of a penguin in the thrilling, chilling adventure of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. An ocean of fun is waiting to be explored at SeaWorld Orlando. Pacific Point Preserve is home to California sea lions and harbor seals. The 2 1/2 acre naturalistic setting duplicates the rocky Northern Pacific coast. Shark Encounter takes guests underwater through an almost 85 foot tunnel that surrounds them with the spine-chilling denizens of the deep, including barracuda, venomous fish, and sharks. This amusement park and aquarium all rolled into one also provides a day's adventure through high tech rides, animal interaction, and a variety of seasonal specials and events.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is the newest attraction in the heart of downtown Toronto, next to the CN Tower. Containing over 5.7 million litres of water, the 12,500 square metre (135,000 square foot) interactive attraction plunges guests in a one-of-a-kind underwater adventure that showcases more than 16,000 marine animals and over 450 species. Canada's largest indoor aquarium features the biggest shark collection in North America, one of the world's most extensive jellyfish exhibits, 100+ year old giant lobsters, stingray and bamboo shark touch pools, and daily live dive shows. Exhibits include the Canadian Waters Gallery featuring 17 exhibits of aquatic animals from Canada's very own backyard; Dangerous Lagoon where you’ll find yourself nose to nose with nature’s most perfect predator: the shark; Planet Jellies where visitors will be mesmerized by the hypnotic dance of Pacific sea nettle jellyfish; Rainbow Reef with over 60 varieties of colourful species from the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific regions; Touch Tanks with stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and various types of smaller sharks at your fingertips; Ray Bay with dozens of sting rays playfully swimming across a large viewing area; The Gallery with delicate sea horse and leafy sea dragons, as well as some of the world's most poisonous fish – piranhas, lionfish, and stone fish; and Discovery Centre where little ones can take a break from the exhibits and have some educational fun.
Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in New York
This full-scale Aquarium and brand-new Exhibition Center features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere; a 120,000 gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Shark Dive, Pirate Snorkel Adventure, Atlantis Explorer Tour Boat, and Sea Lion Kiss. Get up close with penguins, snorkel with tropical fish, and feed a stingray. Prepare for a voyage of undersea discovery at Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, the only public Aquarium on Long Island that offers interactive fun, adventure, and education. Long Island Exhibition Center’s first exhibit is "Butterflies & Birds," flying for a limited engagement. Get ready for an interactive, educational 1 1/2 hour adventure aboard the Atlantis Explorer – a unique 'floating classroom.' It’s a fascinating way to discover the ecological wonders of Long Island’s waterways.
New England Aquarium in Boston
The New England Aquarium in Boston is located right on Boston's scenic waterfront. Colourful and educational exhibits feature more than 8,000 aquatic creatures, including the playful penguin pool. The Aquarium has just completed a renovation that has renewed its main building to the core, and the iconic Giant Ocean Tank has undergone a top-to-bottom, 21st-century transformation with nearly 2,000 animals now on view in the Giant Ocean Tank. The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank features sharks and rays in a 25,000 gallon tank surrounded by shallow edges and viewing windows, allowing visitors to experience a close encounter with these animals. This beautiful space replicates a large mangrove area. The rays glide around the tank where visitors have the opportunity to reach right in and touch these graceful creatures. The New England Aquarium also features the Simons IMAX Theatre to showcase animals and habitats too big, too rare, or too dangerous to be seen in the Boston Aquarium. And, the Aquarium runs a Whale Watch in Boston Harbor from April through October.
As the world’s most magical aquarium, Georgia Aquarium features more animals than any other aquarium in more than ten million gallons of water. Through a path of more than sixty exhibits, the Aquarium tells a global water story, with features modeled after the greatest zoos and aquariums in the world. Each majestic exhibit is designed to inspire, entertain, and educate. Among the exhibits that are sure to reel you in are the Cold Water Quest, Ocean Voyager, River Scout, Georgia Explorer, and Tropical Diver. You can also take a behind-the-scene tour! Georgia Aquarium’s new Dolphin Encounter is the perfect way to meet a dolphin face-to-fin. There are also swim and dive opportunities with whale sharks, manta rays, and more! The Beluga & Friends interactive program provides a unique animal encounter with these charismatic animals, giving guests an opportunity for an exclusive, close, and hands-on interaction. Suit up and work alongside Aquarium beluga whale trainers. Along with seeing the thousands of animals at the Georgia Aquarium, you could also experience the underwater world from their point of view in the 4-D Theater and Deepo's Undersea 3-D Wondershow.
Monterey Bay Aquarium in California
Since its opening in 1984 on historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s mission has been to inspire conservation of the oceans. Consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative exhibits and unsurpassed visitor experience, and with more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits filling 34 major galleries, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a showcase for the habitats and sea life of one of the world’s richest marine regions. The aquarium has also grown to become one of the leading ocean conservation organizations in the world. It is home to sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies, and thousands of other marine animals. Splash Zone is a 7,000 square foot area with more than 30 hands-on features created for kids under age 9. Kids can crawl through a tunnel filled with tropical-fish displays, pull a plush stuffed moray eel out of its den to measure it, and use squirt toys to learn how animals resist crashing waves. There are daily shows and feedings with penguins, otters, and more.
What other amazing aquariums have you visited?