Texas is a landlocked state but that doesn’t mean that you can’t see some fantastic marine and aquatic life. There are some brilliant aquariums in Texas that are definitely worth a visit if you want to learn more about different species of marine life and immerse yourself in an incredible underwater world.
We have put together a list of the best aquariums to visit in Texas and provided information on what to expect from your visit to each one. Keep reading to find out where to go on your next family day out.
Texas State Aquarium
The first aquarium to mention is the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi as it is one of the largest aquariums in the United States.
They are very passionate about conservation and focus most of their efforts to preserve marine life in the areas of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. They also do a lot of work to rescue sea turtles and birds.
You can buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid disappointment and ensure you can get in on the day of your choice. Once at the aquarium you can expect to see sharks, sting rays, dolphins, otters, turtles, Shellfish, jellyfish, alligators, birds, cephalopods, and lots of different species of fish.
You can also pre-book exclusive encounters like shark snorkeling and fish feeding. Please note that these have an additional cost on top of the entrance fee.
There is a presentation schedule so you can plan your visit and decide which animals you want to see being fed. There is also a map of the aquarium to help you plan your visit.
In the summer, there is a splash park open at the aquarium for children to play in which makes the visit even more exciting, and you can watch a film in the 4D theater. Make sure you leave plenty of time to browse the gift shop and if you get hungry you can head to the food court.
The Downtown Aquarium in Houston is a 6 acre entertainment and dining complex with a 500,000 gallon aquarium that houses over 300 species of aquatic life from all over the world. You will be amazed at how much there is to see and do and it is the perfect place to take the family for an exciting day out.
When you walk around the different exhibits at the aquarium you can expect to see alligators, turtles, bullfrogs, octopus, clownfish, eels, birds, snakes, frogs, seahorses, lizards, stingrays and even a tiger!
There are plenty of opportunities to learn, with workshops, animal meet and greets and scheduled activities.
You can also enjoy carnival style games, amusement rides, a ferris wheel, a carousel, and a train ride that takes you through a large shark tank so you can get up close and personal with nature’s fiercest predator.
Even the restaurant is an exciting experience as it is surrounded by a floor to ceiling aquarium with over 100 different species to look at while you enjoy your food. Tuck in to seafood, steak, chicken, salads, pasta dishes and a range of desserts.
The Austin Aquarium is an exciting place to visit as they are keen to give people an immersive experience of marine life. Visitors are encouraged to hand-feed the fish, to get up close and personal with the animals, and you can even pet some of the lizards.
During your visit you will see many different exhibits and encounter animals like sharks, stingrays, reptiles, tropical fish, lemurs and lorikeets. Get involved with animal encounters by feeding sharks, and seeing a sloth or a lemur face to face.
These once in a lifetime opportunities will make your day special and give you some incredible memories as a family. You can also pre-book to watch the morning rounds and see how the aquarium is set up ready for the day.
Younger visitors will also enjoy meeting the aquarium’s mermaid and getting a printed photo to take home as a reminder of their exciting day.
There is a range of food and snacks available at the aquarium like pizza, hotdogs and pretzels. You can also take your own food if you prefer.
Children’s Aquarium Dallas
This is the perfect place for family friendly fun. It has been open since 1936 but has recently undergone a large renovation to bring new and exciting experiences to visitors.
The exhibits are high-tech and there are lots of opportunities to get stuck in and get your hands wet for a true sensory experience.
You will be able to see lots of different animals like rainbow fish, piranhas, caiman lizards, sea urchins, sea stars, seahorses, iguanas, eels, clownfish, stingrays, zebra sharks and many more!
If you live close by you could consider an annual membership which gives you admission for the whole year and helps towards conservation and adoption of animals in need.
Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid
The Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens on Galveston Island is an impressive 1.5 million gallon aquarium with some fantastic exhibits.
You can see penguins, seals, sharks, jellyfish, tropical fish and much more, with plenty of opportunities to interact with marine life. You can attend close encounters with penguins and otters to learn even more about these incredible animals.
The theme of conservation and preserving wildlife underpins your visit to the aquarium, as they are passionate about helping animals and protecting them.
Their coral reef lab is involved in vital conservation work, helping to address the environmental crisis of the Florida Reef Tract which is now at a critical point. Every ticket purchased for the aquarium gives money towards this important cause.
Sea Center Texas
Sea Center Texas is an aquarium and hatchery in the Lake Jackson area. It is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and admission is free, though donations are appreciated.
You can pre-book a tour of the largest redfish hatchery in the world. You can explore the saltwater aquariums that exhibit diverse marine life- fish, shellfish, starfish and many more.
Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas world aquarium offers a variety of marine life and animals from all over the world in a range of exciting exhibits. There are three different restaurants to choose from so you will definitely find some tasty food for all of the family to enjoy.
You can expect to see ocelots, flamingos, eagles, owls, axolotls, frogs, tamarins, sloths. Stingrays, parrots, shrimp, seahorses, tortoises, lizards, penguins, tree kangaroos, and lots of different types of fish and birds.
There are different feeding events that you can attend as well as educational talks on the different kinds of wildlife showcased at the aquarium. The Dallas World Aquarium is involved in conservation efforts in different areas of the world including Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela. You can learn all about the important work they do during your visit.
Sealife Grapevine Aquarium
The Sealife aquarium in Grapevine has the only aquarium in Grapevine has the only 360 degree ocean tunnel in Texas where you can see 9 different species of shark. It also has interactive rock pools where you can get up close and personal with sea stars, anemone and other creatures.
You can also check out the stingray bay exhibit and the sea turtle rescue center. There are also opportunities to see jellyfish, caiman lizards, piranhas and a python that is 13 feet long.
There are different feeding events and educational talks throughout the day so be sure to check the schedule in advance to really get the most out of your visit.
San Antonio Aquarium
San Antonio aquarium is a great place to go if you want to see exciting animals like sharks, stingrays, lorikeets, toucans, macaws, tropical fish, cold water fish and lemurs. You can get involved with animal encounters and feed the fish, and even go snorkeling with the stingrays.
The new ‘walk the plank’ attraction enables you to jump into the tank with stingrays and sharks for a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Iguana Jump Bounce House is great fun for the children and adds an extra element of excitement to their day. Your little ones will also love having a photograph with the mermaid to take home with them. You prebook to join the staff on their morning rounds and learn about how they prepare the aquarium for the day.
You can enjoy a range of food, snacks and drinks at the aquarium or bring your own. You can even have birthday parties there with a range of packages on offer including goody bags, free t-shirts, food and drink, stingray feeding, and money to spend in the arcade.
The arcade is open to all guests and is packed with fun and exciting video games to play on. You can also hire the arcade room for special events and private functions if you want something a little different. Some people have even had wedding parties there!
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