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16 Top Aquariums in the US

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Visiting local aquariums has always been a fun thing for us to do as we travel. My kids, especially, love seeing the sea life. I think it’s exciting because sea life isn’t something you get to see every day. Seeing dolphins, sharks, and exotic fish is exciting to many people. As we travel the USA, we love visiting the top aquariums in the US.

16 Top Aquariums in the US

Seeing ocean life is something we should never take for granted. Aquariums are the perfect way to see these creatures up close like never before. With our travels, across the United States, we have come across some unique ones! Our kids always enjoy seeing whales, sharks, fish, stingrays, and more!

Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Gatlinburg, TN) – I know when you are visiting the smokies an aquarium isn't what you expect to find but let me tell you Ripley's does it upright!  You can get discount tickets with the Smoky Mountain Sightseeing Pass.

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North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher (Kure Beach, NC) – Located and right on the Cape Fear River. They have a rare albino alligator and loggerhead turtle. They have a hands-on tank with sea stars, crabs, and even sharks! They also have a lot of free daily dive presentations. 

National Aquarium Baltimore

National Aquarium (Baltimore) – They are known for their 3 story fish tank full of fish and sharks. They have an amazing dolphin sanctuary as well. They also have a lot of behind-the-scenes tours including sleepovers. 

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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans) – Located right on the Mississippi River you can walk through the Caribbean Reef tunnel, interact with penguins, feed stingrays, and more. 

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium (Newport, OR) – Oregon is beautiful enough as it is, add in this amazing aquarium and you are going to have the time of your life.

This aquarium is very hands-on with things like beach clean-up dates. They are known for their Passages of the Deep exhibit where you can take a walk through a reef with sharks swimming all around you. 

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Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA) – Experience all sea life from the world's largest ocean and watch feedings, gets hands-on, and more. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium - top aquariums in the us

Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA) – This is the aquarium featured in the movie Finding Dory. They are big on working with the local endangered sea otters and they have the famous wave crash tunnel.  

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Texas State Aquarium (Corpus Christi, TX) – I love seeing the shipwreck aquarium exhibit with the fish and sharks. They have a good dolphin show as well and lots of exhibits you can see both above and underwater. 

New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium (Boston) – Located right on the Boston Harbor this aquarium has a very New England feeling with things like a lobster hatchery. They have their fa mouse 95-year-old sea turtle. 

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The Florida Aquarium

Maui Ocean Center (Maui, HI) – Going to Hawaii is life-changing all on its own. Hitting up the Maui Ocean Center in Wailuku, Hawaii. You can imagine the types of sea life that live here. I mean, Hawaii is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, which makes for some interesting sea creatures! While everyone might not be able to visit here, if you can, you should!

The Florida Aquarium (Tampa, FL) – It only makes sense that Florida has one of the most popular in the country. They have a 100,000-gallon tank full of fish and sharks and you can often view divers in here too.

They have a wetlands trail that is interactive as well. They also have a splash pad and a 4D theater as well. This aquarium is part of the Tampa Bay CityPASS if you are looking for discount tickets. 

Georgia Aquarium
My son in the penguin tunnel

Georgia Aquarium (Atalanta, GA) – This one has over 10 million gallons of water to explore including their famous whale share exhibit. When we visited we were able to watch them feed the whale shark from the underwater viewing room and it was amazing.

They also have a penguin exhibit where kids can crawl through a tunnel and pop up in a glass dome IN the penguin exhibit and watch the penguins walk right by! This Aquarium is part of the Atlanta CityPASS if you want discount tickets. 

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium (Chicago, IL) – This is the famous Chicago aquarium that showcases aquatic life from the Great Lakes. They have over 32,000 creatures in total between animals and fish to check out.

They also have their famous Waters of the World exhibit. Want discount tickets? Grab them in the Chicago CityPASS.

Mystic Aquarium - top aquariums in the us

Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT) – Known for their 3,000-pound beluga whales who steal the show. They also have a great penguin exhibit with events like having pizza with the penguins. 

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Waikiki Aquarium (Honolulu, HI) – While on the smaller side this one focuses a lot more on the Hawaiian exhibits. It features corals farms, a giant clamshell, and much rare tropical fish. 

Best USA Aquariums

Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium (Litchfield Park, AZ) – Looking for an aquarium to visit while in Arizona? You’ll want to check out the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium. They even have sea lions here for you to check out.

You can spend hours studying ocean life and getting to know all of their animals better. This is definitely one of the top aquariums to visit in the USA!

If you’re looking for an amazing aquarium experience, look no further than our list of the top aquariums in the United States. Each of these locations offers a unique and exciting adventure for visitors of all ages. So put on your swim fins and get ready to explore some of the best aquatic exhibits in the country. Have you visited any of these aquariums? Are there any that we missed that should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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