Karen and I love to be in the ocean and snorkel. The only problem with that is that we are landlocked stuck in the middle of the United States. Fortunately for us we get to travel a lot and see lots of attractions. Even though they can be expensive Karen and I like to go to aquariums which serve to tide us over until the next time we can go snorkeling. Some of these aquariums Karen and I have been to, others are ones that we want to see. Our top ten aquariums are based on reviews, websites, and experiences. Hope you enjoy.
Top Ten Aquariums in the United States
10. Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is located in downtown Dallas. It is a bugger to get to but well worth the drive through all that traffic. This aquarium has a lot more to offer then just thousands of gallons of saltwater. It starts its visitors in a reproduction of the Orinoco Rainforest that comes complete with a semi free range three-toed sloth. Other top of the line exhibits include they Mundo Maya which is an eight-story exhibit that features a 400,000 gallon tank that has a variety of species of ocean life. There is also a section that showcases animals from South Africa and Borneo.
For more information go to their website at http://www.dwazoo.com/
9. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is located just outside of Smoky Mountain National Park in the gateway town of Gatlinburg. Despite its location it is a world-class aquarium with over 1.4 million gallons of water. It has several exhibit areas including a tropical rainforest, shark lagoon, penguin area, and an area to touch sting rays. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is home to 10,000 sea creatures that belong to over 350 different species. It makes for a wonderful stop as you are visiting Smoky Mountain National Park.
For more information go to their website at http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg/
8. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport
The Oregon Coast Aquarium opened its doors in 1992 and sits on 23 acres which makes it just as much an indoor experience as an outdoor experience as well. The Oregon Coast Aquarium has an aviary for sea birds like puffins, a sea otter pool, and 90,000 gallon tank for their seals and sea lions. Their indoor exhibits is highlighted by their wonderful Passage of the Deep which used to house Keiko the killer whale who starred in the movie Free Willy but now houses various marine animals like sharks, rays, and salmon. They also have several exhibits that highlight animals that live along the shore line of the Oregon Coast.
For more information go to their website at http://aquarium.org/
7. Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga
The Tennessee Aquarium is unique due to the fact that it is two aquariums in one location. It started out as a fresh water aquarium housing river otters, giant catfish, alligators, and other fresh water species. Then in 2005 they added a building to house saltwater species. Altogether both buildings are home to more than 12,000 animals. Like most modern aquariums the Tennessee Aquarium has a lot more to offer then just fish they also have a variety of birds including penguins, many reptiles and amphibians, and they even have a butterfly garden filled with hundreds of butterflies.
For more information go to their website at http://www.tnaqua.com/
6. Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay
The Florida Aquarium is located in downtown Tampa and allows people to see all the lovely creatures of the water in and around Florida without ever having to get wet. It is a very large aquarium having more than 250,000 square foot of space and is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals. The Florida Aquarium is set up to take its visitors on a journey from freshwater to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Its major exhibits include Wetlands, Bays and Beaches, and large Coral Reef. This aquarium also has several interactive activities and a very strong education program tied in with Florida schools.
For more information go their website at http://www.flaquarium.org/
5. Newport Aquarium, Newport
The Newport Aquarium is located just across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati. It has sixty exhibits and five underwater tunnels to give its viewers the feeling that they are not in Midwest anymore. The Newport Aquarium is home to more than 11,000 animals which include alligators, sharks, a variety of fish, and penguins. Some of its do not miss exhibits are Kroger Penguin Palooza, Rainforest, Bizarre and Beautiful, and Frog Bog.
For more information go to their website at http://www.newportaquarium.com/
4. National Aquarium, Baltimore
The National Aquarium is located in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore. Being a large aquarium with 16,500 animals from 660 species there is no wonder that more than 1.5 million people visit it annually. Some of the animals that call this aquarium home are Bottlenose Dolphins, puffins, a variety of reptiles and amphibians, and of course a countless number of fish. The National Aquarium has many exhibits that are worth seeing but a few stand out above the crowd. These few include its multiple-story coral reef, a tropical rain forest, and 2008 award winning Australia: Wild Extremes.
For more information go to their website at http://www.aqua.org/
3. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
The Georgia Aquarium has the distinction of being the world’s largest aquarium by size with more than 9 million gallons of water and more animals than any other aquarium. It is located in Centennial Olympic Park and houses tens of thousands of animals in its sixty plus exhibits. It is basically a brand new aquarium having opened its doors in 2005. What makes the Georgia Aquarium so unique is that it is the only aquarium outside of Asia to house whale sharks. Other unique animals that call the Georgia Aquarium home are giant hammerhead sharks, beluga whales, and manta rays. The Georgia Aquarium is full of unique experiences.
For more information go to their website at http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/
2. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago
The John G. Shedd Aquarium is Chicago’s most popular attraction which is saying something. It is located on the Museum Campus which it shares with the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. It is a large aquarium with over 5 million gallons of water and is home to over 30,000 animals. Of those 30,000 animals there are 1500 different species including fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. There are several exhibits here worth noting including their Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Oceanarium, and their aquatic show. Besides its wonderful aquarium features what moves it to second place on our top ten aquariums in the United States because it also has one of the best views of the Chicago skyline.
For more information go to their website at http://www.sheddaquarium.org/
1. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay is located on the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California. It is not the biggest aquarium or has the most animals, but what it is lacking in those two areas it makes up for in natural beauty. The Monterey Bay Aquarium benefits from having a constant supply of fresh ocean water that the aquarium continuously pumps in from Monterey Bay. This allows it to have one of the best aquarium exhibits in the world the Ocean’s Edge Wing which is a 33-foot high tank that is a living kelp forest. Monterey Bay is home to 35,000 animals and has over 1.2 million gallons of water. The Monterey Bay has made headlines the last couple of years being the first museum to ever successfully house and display a great white shark.
For more information go to their website at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
So, what do you think of our top ten aquariums in the United States? Is your favorite aquarium left off? If it is, please tell us which one it is and why it is your favorite because Karen and I are always looking for one to go visit. Hope you enjoy our list of the Top Ten Aquariums in the United States.