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SpecialGlobe's Top 10 Favorite Aquariums
When the kids and I are planning our next adventure, we often like to choose a location that includes an aquarium nearby. As I’m sure you have gathered by now, water and anything to do with water is a passion of ours! We have been able to visit some amazing aquariums around the US and beyond and here is a list of our very favorites so far! Hope you enjoy.
- Oregon Coast Aquarium - Well worth the trip to Newport, Oregon! This aquarium is so much fun and very comprehensive. With exhibits both indoors and out, you will easily need a full day to explore this fabulous place. Our favorite exhibits included Passages of the Deep, where a series of underwater walkways take you through the waters off the coast of Oregon with the final tunnel leading the visitor into the expanse of the open Pacific Ocean. In the open water tank, there are 5 species of shark, huge rays and big schools of anchovy and mackerel. We also the enjoyed Secrets of Shipwrecks exhibit. The kids spent lots of time here exploring the many interactive displays where they could do their own research on what happened to the sunken vessels.
- National Aquarium - This aquarium had been on my list for a long time to visit and it did not disappoint. Located in the heart of Baltimore this is such a fun destination to explore with the kids. The National Aquarium is now home to over 20,000 fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals. Our favorite exhibits here were the multistory Atlantic Coral Reef, where you walk up a ramp three stories high with windows every few feet for lots of opportunity to view and we also loved Shark Alley, a 225,000 gallon ring shaped exhibit with lots of species of sharks. Lastly, my daughter’s absolute favorite was the Dolphin Discovery exhibit, the National Aquarium’s largest exhibit which is home to 7 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. You could sit at this one exhibit all day and get a peek into a day in their lives. It was fabulous!
- Downtown Aquarium - Denver, Colorado - This aquarium host about 500 species so it is smaller in size but the exhibits are fantastic. The main draw for our family in visiting the aquarium was to see the famous resident Mermaids! We were even able to make a reservation to have lunch with a table next to the tank where we could watch the Mermaids swim by, a huge favorite for the kids and wonderful memory to this day!
- SeaCoast Science Center - A sentimental favorite of mine as I visited here on school field trips as a child. Located in Rye, NH within the historic Odiorne Point State Park, this is a very small interactive aquarium that is perfect for kids. They can roll up their sleeves and learn all about the Gulf of Maine. There are touch tanks filled with lots of great things for the kids to learn about and be sure to bring a picnic as the park in which the Science Center is located is a great place to spend the day with the kids.
- Seattle Aquariumwww.seattleaquarium.org - This was our very first stop on the day we landed in Seattle. They house six major exhibits including Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Underwater Dome, Birds & Shores and Marine Mammals. Our favorites included the Underwater Dome, where you can sit sit and be surrounded by Puget Sound's sea life and we also loved meeting the resident giant Pacific octopus, something we had never seen before!
- Georgia Aquarium - I am in awe of this aquarium, my absolute favorite by far! Home to the most amazing sea life and exhibits including Dolphins, Belugas and Whale Sharks. My all time favorite exhibit was the Ocean Voyager, one of the largest single aquatic exhibits in the world featuring an acrylic tunnel for guests to view the incredible marine life on all sides, and a giant acrylic viewing window where you could sit for hours and watch Whale Sharks, Stingrays, Sharks and other incredible marine life. This is a one of a kid experience that your kids would love and remember forever!
- New England Aquarium- Boston, MA - This too is a place that I have been many times in my life. Growing up about an hour away from Boston, I spent many school and summer field trips here and I now love sharing this special place with my kids. The star of the New England Aquarium is a Green Sea Turtle named Myrtle. Myrtle has called the aquarium home since June of 1970. She was there when I visited as a child and now my kids have had a chance to meet her too! I have also always loved the centerpiece of the aquarium, a four-story Giant Ocean Tank featuring a coral reef with large windows where you can sit and watch the hundreds of Caribbean reef animals, including sea turtles, stingrays, eels, and fishes swim by.
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium - Located in beautiful Clearwater, Florida, this place is very special. Home to Winter, the Dolphin, who was made famous with the inspirational Dolphin Tale movies filmed on location. It is the mission of CMA to rescue, rehab and release all of the animals if possible. Those animals that cannot be released back into their natural habitat for a variety of reasons are well cared for and open for the public to see. If your child has seen Dolphin Tale, this trip is a must! You get to meet Winter, Hope, Mandy, Rufus and even Mavis!
- Shedd Aquarium , Chicago, IL - Upon arriving, you will be in awe of the building that houses the aquarium. A massive stone structure with large columns invite your family to enter through it’s doors. Once inside, the beautiful architecture continues to amaze as the first exhibit you will see is the Caribbean Reef exhibit, a 360 degree stand alone exhibit where you can follow a green sea turtle, Watch rays and small sharks glide by and watch a diver feeding the animals. Shedd was the first aquarium that we visited that had an underwater walkway and all we could say was WOW! To think that you could feel like you were underwater with the sharks was so exciting! We were thrilled! We also loved the Oceanarium exhibit and be sure to head to the Rice Amphitheater for an amazing aquatic show!
- Atlantis - Most people don’t realize that Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas hosts the largest marine exhibit in the Caribbean and is recognized as one of the largest in the world. There are 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of ocean water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species. You can view the sharks, rays, barracuda, piranha, eels and even an endangered alligator all over the resort in lagoons, caves, coral formations and they even built an amazing underwater ruin exhibit. The kids will be amazed by all that they can see!