Best Aquariums in the New York Area
By Melissa Wickes
Family trips to the aquarium can be a magical adventure filled with colorful sea creatures and fascinating nautical species of all kinds. Spend a day exploring marine life at any of these of aquariums in the New York area where you’ll encounter the many wonders of the sea, including sharks, sting rays, moon jellies, clown fish, and even beluga whales. If you’re feeling daring, you’ll have to visit the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey to walk across the suspension bridge that hangs over a 21-foot-deep shark tank!
Click on the links above to view aquariums in your preferred area!
The New York Aquarium, part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, is home to 350 marine species and 18 sharks and ray species on 14 acres on Coney Island.
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This nonprofit center is dedicated to educating visitors about the freshwater ecosystems of New York. It has the largest living collection of New York state freshwater reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Tour two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds, or feed the hungry trout.
Features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, butterflies from all over the world, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, Pirate Snorkel, and Shark Keeper. Plus, for an extra fee, you can board the Atlantis Explorer for a 2-hour cruise.
The Maritime Aquarium is a landmark in Connecticut and home to nearly 75 live exhibits featuring more than 2,700 marine animals of 300 species including jellyfish, sharks, tortoises, quail, porcupines, and sea bass. For an extra fee, you can see a movie in the aquarium’s 4-D theater or board the Marine Life Encounter Cruise.
Mystic Aquarium is home to thousands of species of marine mammals, fish, invertebrates, and reptiles. Exhibits include beluga whales, sea lions, seals, sharks, penguins, octopi, clownfish, seahorses, sting rays, and jellyfish.
Seaquest Trumbull aquarium introduces you to thousands of animals from the rainforest, desert, and depths of the sea. You’ll learn about animals and their ecosystems, hand-feed sharks, get swarmed by birds, hold a snake, and come face-to-face with iguanas. Snorkeling experiences are available as well.
Attractions include Caribbean Currents, Creature Feature, Hippo Haven, the KidZone, Little Blue Beach, Ocean Realm, Penguin Park, Piranha Falls, Sea Turtle Cove, Shark Realm, Stingray Beach Club, Gill’s Grotto, and Touch A Shark. You can even walk just inches above the 21-foot deep Shark Realm exhibit on a V-shaped rope suspension bridge.
The aquarium’s exhibits give visitors the opportunity to get up close to animals from all over the world, including African penguins, harbor seals, local sea life, turtles, parrots, and sharks. For an extra fee, visitors can also participate in animal encounters to meet penguins and sloths.
This NYC-themed aquarium, dubbed the City Under the Sea, features exhibits with a nod to NYC’s most memorable moments—like Times Square, Fifth Avenue, rush hour, and Studio 54. Visitors will see sharks, sting rays, jellyfish, clownfish, sea horses, starfish, and more.
Access ten live cams displaying different Monterey Bay exhibits including sea otters, jellyfish, the open ocean, and more. Streaming from 10am-10pm ET.
The Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo are sharing animal content like videos, virtual learning, and Instagram stories visiting animals to bring the zoo to you. Visit this page to stay updated.
The Georgia Aquarium offers nine live, underwater live streams, including the Ocean Voyager cam where you’ll get to see the magestic Whale Shark in action.
Main Image courtesy Maritime Aquarium