Aquariums are the ultimate family-friendly destinations.
Here 15 of the best and biggest aquariums to visit in the US:
- Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia
- Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey Bay, California
- Aquarium Of The Pacific in Long Beach, California
- Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois
- National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland
- Dallas World Aquarium in Dallas, Texas
- Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut
- Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Oregon
- St Louis Aquarium in St. Louis, Missouri
- Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts
- New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, New York
- The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida
- San Antonio Aquarium in San Antonio, Texas
Everyone is invited, all ages can enjoy themselves, and there is no shortage of photo opportunities and amazing facts to discover.
Table of Contents
1. Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia
The Georgia Aquarium is currently the highest-rated attraction in Atlanta, Georgia.
Located in downtown Atlanta, this star attraction houses thousands of species in dozens of habitats.
You will find a variety of exotic fish, marine mammals, and sharks, and there is also a cafe selling pasta, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and other foods that should appeal to most tastes.
Tickets are currently priced at $36.95 and include access to 4D theater shows and dolphin and sea lion presentations.
Kids under 2 years-old are admitted free of charge.
2. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay, California
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit devoted to ocean conservation.
The tickets are a little on the expensive side, but your money will be going toward good causes and will help to keep the aquarium operational and its many animals happy.
You’ll find hundreds of different marine animals here and there are also lots of interactive exhibits and areas for kids and adults alike.
Your little ones can walk through an enchanted kelp forest and learn about the importance of this algae or have a blast in the Splash Zone.
3. Aquarium Of The Pacific, Long Beach, California
Coral reefs, shark lagoon, sea otters, jellyfish—the Aquarium of the Pacific is a snapshot of all the beautiful creatures that live in and around the Pacific Ocean.
It’s one of the best family-friendly destinations in Long Beach and it’s open 7 days a week.
Admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific costs $36.95 for adults, $33.95 for seniors, and $26.95 for children.
There are also harbor tours and blue whale watch add-ons, but these will add between $15 and $30 to your ticket price.
4. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois
Sharks, giant octopuses, beluga whales—these are just a few of the animals on show at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
There is also an oceanarium exhibit, a Caribbean reef, penguin encounters, stingray feeding, and a polar play zone, ensuring that there’s a little something to keep all ages happy.
5. National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland
The National Aquarium is one of the world’s best aquariums and features over 20,000 animals across many species of bird, fish, reptile, mammal, and shark.
There are 4D theater experiences and lots of special events. Tickets are also reasonable, costing just under $32 for adults and $24 for children between 3 and 11.
6. Dallas World Aquarium, Dallas, Texas
The Dallas World Aquarium is a reasonably priced aquarium that should keep you and your family busy for an hour or two.
It’s not the biggest, but there is still a lot to see and do here and it’s the perfect destination for lovers of birdlife and sea creatures.
7. Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut
The Mystic Aquarium has the largest beluga habitat in the US and is easily the best place to see these animals in action.
The touch exhibit will even allow you to get face-to-face with sharks, creating an experience that you won’t forget in a hurry!
8. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a great place to take the family for a morning or afternoon.
It’s open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM and admission is just $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for seniors and teens, and $14.95 for kids.
One of the things that we love most about this aquarium is that it hosts live webcams on its website.
You can watch the animals eat, play, and sleep from the comfort of your own home, and it will also give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive.
9. St Louis Aquarium, St. Louis, Missouri
The St. Louis aquarium spans over 120,000 square feet and includes exhibits such as shark canyon, where guests can watch sharks swim in a 250,000-gallon tank.
10. Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Located in downtown Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium has over 1000 animals and its very own IMAX theater.
You can watch the animals through the class or on the screen, and there is a diverse range of sea creatures to discover and amazing facts to learn.
11. New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts
The New England Aquarium welcomes over a million visitors every year and is a great way to kill a couple of hours.
The star attraction is a massive 200,000-gallon coral reef exhibit that’s home to over 1,000 animals, as well as a penguin encounter where you can learn more about these cute animals and watch them do their thing.
Tickets are between $30 and $40 and the aquarium is open 7 days a week. There is also a theater that opens 20 minutes after the aquarium and can be accessed for just $10 per adult or $8 for kids and seniors.
12. New York Aquarium, Brooklyn, New York
Catch a show at the Aquatheater, watch some sea otters being fed, or marvel at the beautiful moon jellyfish—the New York Aquarium deserves a place on any NYC itinerary.
The Spineless exhibit is one of the most popular and is a must-see for any visitors to the Big Apple.
It showcases a variety of invertebrates, including jellyfish, squid, and octopus.
Admission costs $26.95 from Monday to Thursday and $29.95 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
There are some discounts for seniors and children, but they are much smaller than the discounts offered at other major aquariums.
13. The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Florida
Florida is easily one of the best places to explore wildlife in the United States.
You can swim with dolphins, get close to alligators, and encounter a variety of other creatures you won’t find anywhere else in the US.
If you find yourself in the Sunshine State, be sure to drop by the Florida Aquarium—the cherry on the cake of any wildlife adventure.
You will find local and international marine animals including many species of shark, fish, and sea turtle. And if you want to get within touching distance of dolphins, you can take a short cruise on board the Bay Spirit II.
14. Adventure Aquarium, Camden, New Jersey
With several touch tanks and a Shark Realm, Adventure Aquarium is an unforgettable experience for all ages and will delight and amaze your little ones in equal measures.
If you’re a teacher or a parent, be sure to check the weekly activities as they usually host special attractions or exhibits aimed at younger age groups.
15. San Antonio Aquarium, San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio Aquarium promises that it’s “more than just an aquarium” and it’s a promise that it actually lives up to.
There are thousands of animal species here, including land mammals like sloths.
Kids can “walk the plank”, visit the arcade, and participate in a variety of interactive exhibits.
There’s also plenty to keep older visitors entertained and more importantly, it’s one of the cheapest aquariums on this list, with admission currently priced at just $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids.