The Florida Aquarium
701 Channel side Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
The Florida AquariumLocated right on the Tampa Bay, the Florida Aquarium brings marine life so close you can almost touch it. With tropical displays of fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals native to Florida, children have the opportunity to learn about the exciting ecosystems that exists both locally and throughout the world’s oceans.
The building housing this amazing collection is itself a work of art. Built in 2008 and opened to the public in January of 2011, this giant geodesic dome of glass panels, adjacent to the ocean, and surrounded by gardens and marinas, is both beautiful and functional.
Although the aquarium features exhibits and walking tours, there are many interactive activities which are sure to entertain the entire family. The 2-acre Water Adventure Zone, an outdoor waterpark for kids, features pools and slides which are sure to please in the summer heat. An outdoor cantina bar and grill means that you can take a lunch break in the outdoor sunshine or shade while watching the kids play nearby. Ray’s café, inside the building, allows dining in an air conditioned setting and features more healthy options such as Paninis and salads.
Because of the Aquarium’s access to the bay, you can partake in a daily Dolphin Cruise which allows you to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Children’s’ AquaCamps are also available for any future marine biologists or any child who is fascinated by our planet’s oceans and their inhabitants.
SCUBA diving tours within the tank enclosures are available for those six and older and bring you face-to-face with sharks and other fascinating sea creatures. If you don’t like getting wet, you can still get close to some of the aquarium inhabitants including several friendly penguins who are allowed to mingle with the public every morning.
Exhibits at the Aquarium are awe inspiring. Experience the feeling of being in an underwater cave with rocky walls as you look up through an overhead glass tank at a huge octopus. An indoor coral reef is housed in a 500,000 gallon tank and contains over 100 species of marine organisms including fish, sea turtles and eels. Float through this underwater wonderland on your own or as part of a tour group.
The Florida Aquarium is open to events and can host children’s’ birthday parties, school groups, weddings, charter boat tours, and more. Annual passes are available as are group rate. Unlike many of Florida’s attractions, the Florida Aquarium is also a major center for marine research and conservation.