Are you visiting Florida or are you a Florida resident looking for the best aquariums? Going to Florida’s aquariums is a great way to have fun with your family and learn more about the amazing planet we live on. It’s not surprising that Florida boasts many aquariums featuring a variety of sea creatures. Florida aquariums are among the most beautiful in the world. There are plenty of options to choose from, including the St. Augustine Aquarium (in the north) and the Key West Aquarium (in the south). No matter where you live in Florida, there are many places to explore and enjoy. Here are some top Florida aquariums and the attractions that make them worthwhile.
12 Must-See Aquariums in Florida
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium, which is appropriately named, is the largest aquarium of Florida. It is located in Central Florida’s Tampa area and is well worth a visit. It is involved with many conservation projects and features a variety of habitats for wildlife from all over the state.
Moon Bay is one of these exhibits. It’s a 2,000-gallon area in which celestial-like moon jellylies thrive and live. Coral Reef is home to everything, from Stingrays and Sand Tiger Sharks all the way through Green Sea Turtles (and Moray Eels) and more. Visitors can also experience Clownfish, Octopus and Waves of Wonder at the Waves of Wonder.
The Mangrove Tunnel is another inspiring exhibit. It was planted by aquarium staff in 1995, when the aquarium opened. Now, years later, it is flourishing and offers visitors the feeling of a natural, untouched wetland. After years of being cut down, mangroves have been restored to their natural habitat and are now being used to stop Florida’s coastlines from being eroded. Mangroves are a good habitat for marine life. They provide food for fish and shelter for birds. The Florida Aquarium is one of the most popular aquariums in Florida. It is open every day. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for things to do in Tampa.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is another aquarium in Central Florida. It is one of the most well-known aquariums in Florida. They are known for their rescue missions.
Although the aquarium releases animals back into nature when possible, some animals require that they remain in the aquarium. Visitors are allowed to spend time with these animals. Two of these dolphins-Winter (and Hope)-are the most well-known and beloved of all those animals. They were featured in the films Dolphin Tale 2 and Dolphin Tale 2.
The aquarium is not only dedicated to the animals but also to environmental responsibility. It demonstrates how important it can be for all marine animals around the world to have a clean planet. To help in this effort, they hold community clean ups. A popular underwater viewing tank is available where you can view mermaids and other sea creatures. There is also a “Whales” exhibit that allows visitors to experience the wild whales through virtual reality. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, another aquarium worth visiting, is open every day, and has extended hours in the summer. Clearwater has many great restaurants and beaches.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is another aquarium in Central Florida. It’s located in Sarasota. Mote, as its name suggests, is a research center that focuses on helping the oceans heal and become sustainable habitats for marine species.
The Laboratory is currently involved in over 20 research programs. These include monitoring coral reef health, conservation of marine life, and the protection of sea turtles and dolphins. There are many more.
Mote’s research is not only about saving the planet but also serves as a source of information for their aquarium exhibits. Visitors can explore a wide range of exhibits that offer many different experiences. The Teeth Beneath exhibit explores Florida’s alligators, crocodiles, and sharks; there are many other exhibits. The “Oh Baby!” exhibit is a family-friendly one. The “Oh Baby!” adventure, which explains how marine life reproduces, and also reveals a bit about Mote’s methods of breeding and raising different species of marine animals to aid in ecosystem restoration. A fan favorite is the exhibit on seahorses. Mote, which is open every day, is a must-see aquarium in Florida. If you are staying in Sarasota for a while, there are many other fun activities.
St. Augustine Aquarium
The St. Augustine Aquarium is one of the most popular aquariums in North Florida. The St. Augustine Aquarium is an outdoor, open-air aquarium that allows people to interact directly with sea creatures while learning about their lives and care.
Visitors can feed the sharks or rays with guidance. There is also a Touch and Identify area where visitors can touch starfish and urchins. Guided tours are offered by marine biologists and take visitors on a tour of the aquarium.
A snorkeling adventure can also be offered in a natural Florida coral reef. Those who are brave enough to don a towel and a bathing suit can snorkel among hundreds of Florida Rays or Reef Fish. The facility supplies the snorkels, masks, wetsuits and vests as well as shoes. To book this experience, visitors need to call ahead. There will be more aquariums in the future. The aquarium is currently open every day and is a great place to get up close with marine life. There are many other activities to enjoy while in St. Augustine.
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
The Sea Life Orlando Aquarium is located less than two hours from St. Augustine. It’s another must-see aquarium in Florida.
The 360deg Ocean Tunnel is one of Sea Life Orlando’s highlights. The tunnel takes visitors through 350,000 gallons aquarium, where they can view sharks and a rescued turtle. There is also a variety of marine life around them. It’s almost like walking into the middle the ocean.
Visitors can also touch real sea creatures such as starfish and anemones in the interactive Coastal Rockpool Exhibit. The Jelly Wall is filled with jellyfish and visitors can also walk through a replica ecosystem from the Everglades. For those who are passionate about the cute species, there is a seahorse sanctuary and an area where visitors can learn more about Ocean Caves. The aquarium is open every day and should be included on anyone’s Florida aquariums wish list. Orlando offers many other attractions, including the aquarium.
Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters
The Florida Keys Aquarium Enterprise is located in Marathon and is well-known for its family-friendly programs and attractions.
You will be delighted by the aquarium’s many immersive, hands-on experiences. The Big Shark Bay Encounter is one of their most popular interactions. A marine biologist teaches visitors about the behavioral training of adult nurse Sharks and guides those who wish to pet these magnificent animals.
A Coral Reef Snorkel Encounter is available where guests can safely snorkel in the Mangrove ecosystem and see firsthand the marine life. All gear, including snorkels, masks and wetsuits, is provided. Visitors might have the chance to feed stingrays or other reef animals while they snorkel. You should add the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounter to your Florida aquariums list. It’s open every day so you can enjoy Florida’s marine life. If you are looking for entertainment, there is plenty more to do in Florida Keys.
Key West Aquarium
Marathon is not far from the Key West Aquarium. This aquarium is another must-see in South Florida. The aquarium features a touch tank which displays the marine life of the Florida Keys. This includes Conchs and Giant Hermit Crabs as well as Slate Pencil Sea Urchins.
The aquarium has an exhibit that teaches the public about the Nurse Shark, the most common Florida Keys shark. Visitors will also learn which myths and truths about sharks exist, as well as what they can do to preserve them. After the presentation, they choose people from the audience who will feed the sharks. Those interested should also keep an eye out to see if there is a chance to get closer to the sharks.
The aquarium also offers the Sea Turtles Conservation Tour and the Jellyfish exhibition. The Turtle Tour teaches visitors how to conserve sea turtles and introduces them to the resident sea turtles that have been saved by the aquarium. The Jellyfish exhibit allows visitors to get a close-up look at the moon jellyfish. It is the most commonly found jellyfish in Florida Keys. If you are looking for a fun and educational place to learn more about the conservation and protection of marine life in Florida Keys, this aquarium is a great choice. Then, you can explore the other attractions that the Florida Keys has to offer.
St. Lucie County Aquarium
The St. Lucie County Aquarium can be found on the east coast. It is one of Central Florida’s best aquariums that you should visit if you are interested in saving the oceans or the wildlife that lives there. Visitors can explore the facility’s over 8,000 gallons of marine life.
The Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit is the main attraction of the St. Lucie Aquarium. This exhibit aims to educate the public on six different marine ecosystems found in Florida’s waters. Visitors can see the aquarium’s six ecosystems in action so they can be compared and analyzed.
The Caribbean coral reef area is the largest model, but there are seagrass, lagoon hardbottom and deepwater Oculina coral coral reefs, mangrove habitations, and a nearshore area. These habitats are for larger marine life. However, visitors can also see microscopic creatures in smaller tanks. There is also a touch tank that allows visitors to interact with local marine life. This place is a must-see for any Florida aquariums. You can check the aquarium’s website to find out more about the hours and if they offer free admission. If you are in the area, you should also visit the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens.
IMAG History & Science Center
The IMAG History and Science Center is located in Ft. Myers, in southwest Florida. It offers many interesting experiences for those who are not only interested in Florida’s marine life but also other scientific aspects. The quality of their marine exhibits is what makes this attraction a must-see for any Florida aquarium.
The Center offers stingray feedings where you can feed stingrays right from your hands. There is also a SEA to-See Touch Tank where you can touch and pet stingrays as well as hermit and horseshoe crabs and marine snails. The fascinating exhibit Shaping SWFL watersheds: An interactive, Augmented Reality Sandbox allows visitors to experience what happens when the sands below shift. The computer projects water flow changes onto the sand as visitors move the sand around in the box. This project shows how watersheds are created and destroyed. The museum is more than an aquarium. It also has other scientific exhibits such as 3D movies that explore everything from space travel and dinosaurs to a Hands-On Hall with puzzles that help kids and adults learn more about science. There’s also a Hall of History that teaches about the history of southwest Florida and an Earth and Space Science area which teaches visitors about Earth’s weather.
There are many other things to do in the region, so make sure to check out all the activities Ft. Myers offers.
Tarpon Springs Aquarium
Tarpon Springs Aquarium is another aquarium in Central Florida. The aquarium is family-run and offers fun exhibits for all ages. The aquarium works with eco-friendly groups and promotes conservation and humane care of all animals in Florida and elsewhere.
Three shows are offered by the aquarium. The aquarium offers three shows. One will show off a Florida alligator. This allows viewers to see the fierce bite of this majestic animal while it is being fed. A second show features a diver swimming with large Florida marine animals, feeding them, and educating visitors about the food they eat. The last show features a group reptiles that are found in Florida’s ecosystem.
Visitors can also explore the aquarium and get to know the animals. There are many animals to see and learn about, including the shark, stingrays and alligators, turtles, tortoises and tortoises as well as crabs and other invertebrates. Visitors who want to get closer to the animals can use the touch pool. You can also hold the alligators or snakes, and take photos with them. You might also enjoy other activities in Tarpon Springs.
Marine Science Center
The Marine Science Center, located just south of Daytona Beach is another place that should be on any serious Florida aquariums’ list. This attraction is focused on teaching visitors about the unique ecosystems found in Volusia County, where the Center is situated.
The Marine Science Center’s main focus is on the conservation and rehabilitation of wildlife in the region. The medical facilities on site where injured or sick seabirds and turtles are treated can be seen by visitors. Visitors can find out all there is to know about how these animals are treated and released back into the wild.
The Center also has exhibits that educate the public about how to care for the natural environment and protect it for future generations. The Science Center also includes a large visitor centre that has many aquariums and displays about the local biodiversity. An artificial reef is an example of how these habitats can be created for animals and their importance to marine survival. A freshwater estuary exhibit is also featured, which are abundant in Florida and full of life. There is more. There are many exhibits. People can touch stingrays in the interactive touch pool. The Blue Room showcases the diverse animals that live nearby such as seahorses and octopus. After you have seen the aquarium, Daytona Beach offers many other attractions.
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Although it is not an aquarium, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park can be visited by anyone who wants to see one of the Central Florida aquariums.
The Homosassa Spring Wildlife State Park, like the Science Centers, works hard to preserve Florida’s wildlife. The Park has been called “the most beautiful springs and rivers in the world” and is home to an amazing variety of freshwater and saltwater fish including snapper, snook and many other species.
The Fish Bowl Underwater Observatory is a popular attraction in the park. It can be found in the main spring and visitors can go down into the bowl to view a variety fish species in their natural habitats. They also get to experience manatees underwater. The Park is just a short drive from Tampa and Orlando, both of which have a lot to offer visitors.
What else is there to do during your visit?
There are many more things to do in Florida after you have seen the top aquariums. For those who have finished their trip to the aquariums, we have a list of the top things to do in South Florida, Central Florida and North Florida.