Top 10 Best Aquariums in the USA

Aquariums offer a great way to see all the interesting and sometimes exotic sea life that you would never be able to see normally. Aquariums let you get up close and personal with everything from dolphins and sharks to manta rays and whales. It's also very educational for children as they get a chance to learn about different species of sea life.

Many aquariums also help to preserve sea life species through breeding programs and through awareness to issues like pollution and global warming. They do this through lectures and programs that are directed to places like schools, government agencies, and other people who come to the aquarium to view the animals and fishes.

Aquariums are also great places to relax and release stress since it has been proven that watching fish swim in home or commercial aquarium is peaceful and good for lowering a person's anxieties.

So, going to aquariums is a good way to learn things, help protect animals from becoming extinct, and a healthy way to lower your stress and teach your kids about the sea world in many ways.

Here are the top 10 aquariums you can visit all over the US.

1: Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia

Opened in 2005, the Georgia Aquarium is one of the biggest of its kind in the entire world. It was made possible by monies from the same person who founded Home Depot, Mr. Bernard Marcus.

The aquarium holds more than 500 different kinds of sea life, including fascinating creatures like groupers, whale sharks, and beluga whales.

You can even schedule a stay overnight through their special tours to see how the fish and animals experience the nightlife. Plus, there are multiple programs designed to help children learn about the animals living in the aquarium.

Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313


Also Read: Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Atlanta, Georgia

2: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Kārlis Dambrāns

Founded in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is situated on the site of what used to be a sardine cannery. Nearly two million people come here every year to see more than 600 different species of animals and plants.

An interesting note is that the aquarium gets its water for its tanks through a circulation of sea water being continuously pumped into their tanks from pipes originating in the nearby Monterey Bay.

Some of its animals include jellyfish, sting rays, tuna, sea otters, and a giant kelp forest. It's also one of the only aquariums to house ocean sunfish and has the world's biggest single paned windows to view the creatures under its care.

Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940


3: Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/LABabble

Opened in 1930, the Shedd Aquarium houses more than 25,000 fish, and with its five million gallons of water, used to be the biggest indoor aquarium in the whole world. Shedd is the first inland facility to have its own permanent display of saltwater fish.

More than two million people come to view it in all its glory every year. It has also won several awards such as being the best exhibit from the Association of zoos and Aquariums in 1999, best Wild Reef in 2004 and for its display of seahorses in 2001. It's considered one of Chicago's most popular attraction.

Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605


4: National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland

National Aquarium, Baltimore, Maryland
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/lina smith

Opened in 1981, the National Aquarium in Baltimore gets more than 1.5 million visitors every year. It is a combination of two aquariums: National Aquarium in Baltimore and National Aquarium in Washington, which happened in 2003.

Their tanks hold over two million gallons of water, and over 17,000 creatures that represent more than 700 different species.

The aquarium has a vision to be able to challenge the important issues being faced by sea creatures and their habitats via emergent sciences, educational programs and conservation programs.

Some of their exhibits include a tropical rainforest, coral reef, open shark aquarium, a marine mammal pavilion, and a 4D immersion theater.

Address: 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202


5: Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/ravend

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN has more than 10,000 sea creatures representing at least 350 discrete species. Some of its exhibits include a tropical rainforest, a shark lagoon and a coral reef, as well as creatures such as giant octopus, sea anemones, growing coral, jellyfish, penguins, sharks, rays, crabs and more.

Address: 88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738


6: New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts

New England Aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/angela n.

The New England Aquarium is an aquarium has many things to attract over a million visitors a year. Some of its attractions include their IMAX Theatre, a whale watch from April through November, a giant ocean tank, a Caribbean reef with animals like sharks, rays, sea turtles, eels, huge barracuda, and lots of other reef loving creatures.

There is also a penguin display, a display of fresh water creatures like piranhas, salmon, electric eels and anaconda snakes.

You can also view a sea tide pool with crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, and snails. Or, view the world gallery with lobsters, octopus, birds that line the shores and other inhabitants. And don't miss the tropical gallery with tropical fish, corals, venomous fish species, and lots more.

There are also other displays and creatures ranging from sharks and jelly fish to fur seals and sea lions.

Address: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110


Also Read: Top 10 Must-See Attractions in New England

7: SeaWorld, San Diego, California

SeaWorld, San Diego, California
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Robert Linsdell

Opened in 1964, SeaWorld San Diego is the first of the Sea World parks. You will get amazed with the thrilling shows like Shamu the Killer Whale, or fun shows full of laughs like Sea Lions Live.

It is also a popular amusement park with rides like the Journey to Atlantis, a roller coaster like water ride. Plus, they often have fireworks displays, and more for visitors to this combination of aquarium and amusement park.

Address: 500 Sea World Dr, San Diego, CA 92109


Also Read: San Diego, California Top 10 Attractions

8: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Gary J. Wood

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is considered as one of the leading aquariums in the US. It specializes in animal life from North and South America, with more than 10,000 creatures representing 520 species.

Some of their exhibits include a Caribbean reef, an Amazon area complete with a greenhouse with macaws, anaconda snake, piranhas and more; a Mississippi River exhibit with catfish, alligator, paddlefish and owls; a Gulf of Mexico display with sharkes, turtles and sting rays. There is also an IMAX theater and other venues.

Address: 1 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130


9: Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, Mystic, Connecticut
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/aysosceles

Opened in 1973, the Mystic Aquarium is a part of the Sea Research Foundation, and is one of 3 US aquariums with Steller sea lions and a huge outdoor display of Beluga whales. There are also penguins, jellyfish, and a touch pool with sharks and rays.

Visitors can go to the Nautilus Live Theater and hear presentations of recent explorations of the E/V Nautilus and can ask the crew questions about current adventures via a live link.

The theater operates all year long. It also shows 3D movies about sea life and has a special Titanic exhibit.

Address: 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355


10: The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Florida

The Florida Aquarium, Tampa, Florida
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/John Carkeet

The Florida Aquarium has not only freshwater animals to view, but also has a two acre water adventure zone for kids with water cannons, geysers and a pirate ship they can climb and play on.

Some of its exhibits include sharks, river otters, sting rays, sea stars and more with more than 20,000 animals living at the aquarium.

There are also educational shows, a wild dolphin cruise, a penguin promenade, opportunities to go back stage to see how they take care of all the animals, and a scuba dive swim with the fish adventure (must be 15 or up and SCUBA certified).

Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602


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