Looking for the best aquariums in the USA? You’re in luck! There are plenty of options to choose from. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best aquariums in America, based on factors like size, selection of exhibits, and educational opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a place to take the kids or simply want to experience some of the world’s most amazing aquatic life up close, one of these institutions is sure to be a perfect fit.
Whenever I travel with Madison, I try to find as many kid-friendly activities as possible, and if there’s an aquarium there, we try to add it to our list. Madison enjoys learning about wildlife, whether on land, in the air, or underwater. We’ve managed to visit a few aquariums in her life, both in the US and abroad, and she never gets tired of it.
If your child enjoys visiting aquariums, or you’re planning a trip to the US and you’d love to visit an aquarium, we’re going to share the best aquariums in the USA you should add to your bucket list to visit. But first, let’s talk about aquariums.
Aquariums are institutions that display aquatic animal life. They usually have a glass front so you can see the animals up close. The first ever aquarium was built in 1761 in London, and since then, they’ve been popping up all over the world. Aquariums can be found in zoos, SeaWorld parks, as well as stand-alone buildings. Most of them are for entertainment purposes only, but some exist for educational or research purposes too.
In this article, we’ll only be discussing the best ones for entertainment purposes since those will likely be the ones you want to visit with your family. And we’ll also share why it’s important for your children to visit an aquarium at least once in their lives. So without further ado, here are the best aquariums in the USA:
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA, is an incredible experience that I recommend everyone visit. Madison and I visited this aquarium a few years ago and was amazed. This aquarium is the world’s largest, with 8 million gallons of water and hundreds of species of fish, reptiles, and marine life. The massive tanks with stunningly decorated habitats provide an awe-inspiring look into underwater life. In addition to the regular shows and demonstrations, the Georgia Aquarium offers special events like interactive cooking classes or “behind-the-scenes” tours for visitors wanting a more immersive experience. Whether you’re interested in learning about conservation efforts or just visiting one of their many attractions, this aquarium is sure to be one of the best places you visit in Atlanta and is hands down one of the best aquariums in the USA.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, is a sight to behold! Located right on the shores of the stunning Monterey Bay, this majestic place is home to a plethora of sea creatures and awe-inspiring exhibits. There are many windows into the depths of the Pacific Ocean, allowing visitors a captivating view of some of its most beautiful marine life. The aquarium even has special touch pools where visitors can interact with some creatures like anemones and sea stars. They also have specialized programs for children and adults that increase knowledge of and appreciation for ocean conservation. Whether you are a first time visitor or have been before, there is no doubt that the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be an experience that will never be forgotten.
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL, is a must-see for any visitor or lifelong resident of the city. Its welcoming walls envelop visitors in an incredible aquatic world filled with diverse displays and animals that have lived within its halls since 1930. From beluga whales to living coral reefs, amazing creatures from around the world are housed at this beloved attraction. It’s a space that sparks appreciation for nature and its surprising complexities, fostering a love of studying and understanding our blue planet through interactive exhibits and educational sessions. Make sure to check out the Shedd Aquarium next time you’re in Chicago!
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD
The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD, is a must-see destination for any traveler. Spanning two buildings and including over 2,200 species of fish and mammals, it represents the beauty and diversity of the world’s aquatic creatures. With exhibits ranging from the Amazon River Forest to Shark Alley, it’s a great way to learn about fascinating marine animals while having an entertaining day out. Beyond the exhibits, the aquarium has climbed the ranks in terms of conservation efforts, hosting research programs and regularly releasing rehabbed and rescued animals back into their natural habitats. Year round events such as educational lectures, night dives, and camps provide even more intriguing activities – if you’re lucky, you might get up close enough to touch a stingray! An amazing learning experience for all ages, visitors will not be disappointed when visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
The New England Aquarium in Boston, MA
The New England Aquarium in Boston, MA is truly a sight to behold. From the captivating ocean views afforded by the unique architecture to the hundreds of varieties of marine life on exhibit, there is something for everyone at the New England Aquarium. Visitors can even take an elevator down into “Giant Ocean Tank”—a four-story Caribbean coral reef teeming with creatures like nurse sharks and southern sea turtles! Millions of guests have passed through these doors since its opening in 1969, making it one of the most popular attractions in the area. There’s no doubt that a trip to the New England Aquarium promises something extraordinary and unforgettable!
The Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, CA
The Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, CA, is a unique slice of aquatic adventure and discovery. Located at the California Academy of Sciences, this aquarium features a wide array of creatures representing different habitats from around the world. From playful sea otters to octopuses, sharks, jellyfish, crabs, and more – the Steinhart Aquarium has something new to offer on each visit! In addition to its incredible array of aquatic animals, visitors can explore some of the rarest aquatic plants and beautifully presented underwater scenes administered with attention to detail by expert aquarists. Visitors are sure to have an unforgettable experience exploring the wonders of the ocean that this one-of-a-kind aquarium brings to life.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL
Standing at the thoughtfully designed building that houses the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, it is clear to see why it has become a popular attraction for both tourists and locals alike. Inside, visitors have the opportunity to learn about some of the state’s most iconic and fascinating wildlife, from majestic manatees to playful clownfish. As such, the Florida Aquarium provides an engaging activity for many families or groups. Furthermore, not only can you explore the numerous exhibits inside, but you can also venture outside and experience the nature center and wetlands trails located within the zoo grounds. From this combination of educational opportunities as well as interactive activities, The Florida Aquarium has positioned itself as one of Tampa’s premier attractions.
The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN
The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN, is a must-see destination. From the incredible selection of freshwater and saltwater animal exhibits, to immersive activities like the butterfly garden or deep sea virtual reality, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Surrounded by an expansive forest park and ideally located on the banks of the Tennessee River, this unique aquarium also provides breathtaking views of downtown Chattanooga and stunning sunsets. Visitors delight in exploring the collections found here – everything from seahorses to sharks – making it easy to understand why The Tennessee Aquarium has been named one of the best aquariums in America.
The Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, USVI
The Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas is a delightful destination to experience the beauty of the ocean up close and personal. Not only can visitors explore a gorgeous coral reef filled with incredible sea life, but they can also swim alongside friendly sea turtles, get to know colorful tropical fish, feed sharks and stingrays, or take a glass bottom boat tour of the area. Specialty tours are also available for those looking to discover more about the local ecosystem, such as observing marine life without getting wet or acquiring certification for basic SCUBA diving. Set against a backdrop of white sand beaches and clear blue waters, this environmental living museum offers endless opportunities for adventure both above and below the surface.
The Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ
For those looking for an incredible aquatic adventure, the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, is definitely worth a visit. From 2,000 Great Hammerhead Sharks to river otters and stingrays, there’s something that’ll captivate the imagination of everyone. You can get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures under the sea in their amazing touch tanks, go eye-to-eye with wolves on Shark Bridge, and take a simulated ride on seahorses at the 4D Theater. And if you’re really daring, you can even become a trainer for a day and work with the aquarium’s experts to get hands-on experience caring for these creatures. The Adventure Aquarium – where adventure meets imagination!
The New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, NY
The New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, NY, is an absolute must-see if you’re looking to get up close and personal with marine life. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve visited. As a former NY resident, this would be the place we would plan playdates for the younger kids. From its captivating sea life shows to its interactive exhibits, the aquarium is full of opportunities for children and adults to learn about ocean creatures from around the globe. You can even take a virtual tour or listen to lectures from fish experts through the aquarium’s engaging educational programs. Plus, the breathtaking views of Coney Island ensure a truly special experience! Can’t make it out in person? The aquarium is also active on social media, so you can follow along with all the latest updates and events. There’s something for everyone at this aquatic attraction!
Why It’s Important for Your Kids to Visit an Aquarium at Least Once In Their Lifetime
Do you remember the first time you went to an aquarium? The excitement of seeing all those amazing fish and creatures in their natural habitat? The sense of wonder that comes from being up close and personal with sea life? If you can recall even a fraction of how you felt on that day, then you know why it’s so important for your kids to have the same experience.
An aquarium visit is more than just entertainment – it’s an opportunity for your children to learn about marine life and ecology in a fun and interactive setting. They’ll be able to see firsthand the amazing variety of life in our oceans, and perhaps even develop a newfound appreciation for the importance of preserving these delicate ecosystems. So if you’re looking for a summer activity that will educate as well as entertain, consider taking your family to an aquarium near you. Your kids (and you!) will be glad you did.
Aquariums provide a fun and educational experience for kids of all ages
Aquariums offer a unique and exciting way to educate children of all ages about the underwater world. They create a safe, interactive atmosphere in which kids can explore and learn in a relaxed and fun environment. Kids can observe various types of sea creatures and admire their vibrant colors, shapes, and sizes. Seeing firsthand how fascinating and diverse sea life is captures the imagination of young minds. Aquariums provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty beneath the depths while discovering valuable information about ecosystems, ocean conservation efforts, and other essential topics related to the aquatic world. Through these activities, every kid learns something new!
They help teach children about the importance of marine life and conservation
Marine life and conservation are essential lessons for children to learn, and organizations such as those dedicated to oceanic research are key in helping them understand these topics. By working with educators and student groups, these organizations can provide unique resources and experiences that deliver educational messages in an engaging, hands-on way. Through activities like beach clean-ups or visiting aquariums, children have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the environment and its importance. Education from these types of organizations not only helps children learn about marine life but also encourages them to care for the natural world around them.
Kids can learn about different cultures by visiting an aquarium that features animals from all over the world
Visiting an aquarium is a great way for kids to experience different cultures from all over the world. From clownfish in the Indian Ocean, to sea turtles in the Caribbean Sea and stingrays in the Pacific Ocean, kids can explore many different aquatic habitats in one place. With interactive displays and educational programs, aquariums can give children an immersive experience of learning about animals and their ecosystems. Kids can view animals up close and even touch some creatures in touch tanks! There are so many opportunities to gain knowledge when exploring all that aquariums have to offer while connecting with cultures around the world.
Aquariums are a great way to spend time with family and friends
Aquariums offer an unparalleled opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Many people enjoy the serenity of spending hours slowly strolling around while they take in the countless displays of fascinating sea life, from vivid coral reefs bursting with color to mesmerizing jellyfish majestically dancing in their tanks. What’s more, aquariums provide education about the incredible diversity of creatures in our oceans and allow us to marvel at some of nature’s most beautiful inhabitants without having to leave home! Spending a day at an aquarium can be a highly memorable experience for all involved, with photo opportunities and interactive exhibits that encourage meaningful conversations as you learn more about the oceanic ecosystem. It’s no wonder why so many people love visiting aquariums with families and close friends throughout their lives!
Aquariums provide a unique opportunity to see some of the most amazing creatures on earth up close
Aquariums offer a one-of-a-kind experience that allows us to observe the incredible underwater creatures of this planet in their natural habitats. The vast and immersive tanks are full of vibrant colors, shapes and sizes, and diverse species that can be found all around the world. From graceful seahorses to goofy stingrays, visitors of all ages are enchanted by the beauty and community rituals of life in an aquarium. With knowledgeable staff present throughout the exhibitions, guests can learn about the biology, habits, and potential conservation needs of each species being showcased. By witnessing these remarkable creatures up close, we are reminded of our significant role in respecting and protecting aquatic life.
Aquariums are great places to take your kids for a day of fun and learning. There are many different types of animals to see, and most aquariums offer educational programs and behind-the-scenes tours. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, be sure to check out one of these best aquariums in the USA!