The United States is home to some of the most incredible aquariums in the world, offering visitors a chance to explore the wonders of the ocean floor and observe marine life up close. From the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of the underwater world. Whether you're looking for a family-friendly day trip or an educational experience, these aquariums provide an unforgettable experience. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is one of the best aquariums in the country, boasting more than 10,000 animals representing over 300 species.
Visitors can explore exhibits and hands-on experiences, take boat trips to see dolphins and whales in the Atlantic Ocean, and even enjoy an eco-friendly zipline and aerial adventure experiences at the hotel's adventure park. The New England Aquarium is located right along Boston Harbor and receives more than a million visitors each year. It houses the largest shark and ray tank on the East Coast, as well as a Marine Mammal Center dedicated to caring for northern sea lions. Visitors can spend time with African penguins, get a closer look at sea turtles, and take in the majesty of the giant 200,000 gallon ocean tank.
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located on the Mississippi River in New Orleans and is home to more than 250 species of animals, from white alligators to jellyfish and sharks. Guests can hang out with sea otters, get a closer look at sea turtles, and explore the immersive Gulf of Mexico tank which is 17 feet deep and filled with 400,000 gallons of salt water. Chicago's famous Shedd Aquarium welcomes budding marine biologists who want to see belugas, stingrays, saltwater fish, dolphins and sea lions. The wildlife here can arouse anyone's interest, as Shedd's exhibits even include crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles.
One mammal you're unlikely to find elsewhere is the white-sided dolphin; there are only three aquariums in the US that house them, and some of them were born in Shedd. In Elliott Bay, in Seattle's Emerald City, you'll find the Seattle Aquarium which lets you spend time with sea and river otters, seals, moon jellyfish, lionfish and sea anemones. This experience is all about interactive education, and the aquarium offers summer camps, family programming, and off-site beach naturalist sessions. The Seattle Aquarium is also working to open its Ocean Pavilion to accommodate more visitors and inspire a global ocean ethic with 3,500 sustainably sourced marine species.
The New York Aquarium is located in Brooklyn and features a 4D theater for visitors to enjoy. Guests can attend meals at the aquarium and explore numerous wildlife exhibits including sea lions at the outdoor Aquatheater or visit the Conservation Hall to see brightly colored fish swimming across coral reefs. You can also find 18 different types of sharks and rays at the Ocean Wonders exhibition. The Baltimore National Aquarium houses 800 species and 20,000 animals for visitors to explore.
The exhibits here take you on a short tour of the world replicating habitats such as the Amazon rainforest, Atlantic coral reef, and even an Australian river gorge. Guests can spend time with jellyfish and dolphins or attend a half-price dinner on Friday night to get their weekend off to an exciting start. For ocean lovers looking for an unforgettable experience, head up north to Alaska's SeaLife Center where you'll find seals and sea lions, salmon and rock fish, as well as invertebrates such as king crab and sea urchins. Kids with scientific minds will love exploring the Discovery Zone while adults can learn about conservation efforts at this unique aquarium. Finally, if you're on Oregon's wild coast in Newport don't miss out on visiting Pacific Northwest's aquarium worth planning a trip through. Visitors can see the Indo-Pacific coral reef, witness a giant Pacific octopus, compare marine life found on rocky shores versus sandy shores of Oregon - all while learning about conservation efforts at this unique aquarium.