There’s a way to see life from the world’s oceans without ever putting on a wetsuit.
In fact, you don’t even have to be near the beach. Various aquariums located throughout the US, and the world, offer you upfront and personal views of sea mammals, fish, birds, plants, and more.
In the past half-century more and more aquariums have been developed not only next to the ocean, but inland, as well. And many zoological parks have been enlarging their own aquatic habitats and experiences. In part, this is due to the important roles zoological associations play in research and conservation. Add in the roles of education and pure enjoyment, and you have more than a win, win, but an abundance of winning situations.
Aquariums can be found throughout the US
From Hawaii to Alaska, California to Florida, aquarium parks are found in many coastal cities, but they are found inland, as well. While you are likely not to find an aquarium in a small town, you can probably find one within a short trip away. For example, there’s the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. In fact, aquariums make up a good portion of accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
What to do at the Aquarium
While children may get excited about going to the aquarium, adults may just start to relax. Aquariums are pretty tranquil in nature and take us away from our bustling normal day-to-day activities. Many aquariums offer touch tanks with an opportunity to see what a sea cucumber or sea star feels like. Some also have touch tanks with young sharks, crabs and manta rays. In fact, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium has its own touch tank where team fans can also visit with manta rays.
Who doesn’t love a visit with the penguins? At the aforementioned Georgia Aquarium, a special group of African penguins takes their Waddle Walk, accompanied by their keepers, through the Aquarium’s atrium twice a day, offering visitors an even closer view of these much-admired critters.
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, you, your family, and friends can attend a sleepover at the Aquarium. Choose from four different locations for the ultimate ocean nighttime party sleeping surrounded by leopard sharks or jellyfish. And, for kids who want to sport that wetsuit, sign them up for the Underwater Explorers adventure in the Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool.
Each aquarium fills a niche in the care of threatened and endangered species while sharing the lives of various sea creatures through unique, and sometimes, interactive experiences. If you have an aquarium nearby, check it out. If you’ve been there, go again. And, when planning your next vacation consider taking in an aquarium as part of your travels.