The Kid-Approved Florida Aquarium in Tampa is a non-profit aquarium located in west central Florida. The Aquarium opened in 1995 and is one of the top aquariums in the United States. The Florida Aquarium is home to more than 14,000 aquatic animals and plants representing over 500 species, including sharks, rays, turtles, otters, and alligators.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is the best aquarium in Florida and has been recognized throughout the county for its conservation education and sea turtle rescue operations.
The aquarium features many exhibits and attractions, such as the Wetlands Trail, where visitors can observe a variety of Florida’s native wildlife, including alligators, river otters, and various bird species. You walk through a natural setting while observing fish, birds, otters and alligators in their natural habitat.
The Coral Reef exhibit showcases the diversity of coral reefs and the animals that inhabit them, while the Bays and Beaches exhibit highlights the importance of Florida’s coastal ecosystems. Each is a glimpse of what you would experience if you were diving or snorkeling into this environment.
The Florida Aquarium also offers a number of interactive experiences, such as diving with sharks, swimming with fish, and touching stingrays. Children can interact with stingrays, jellyfish, and a few other creatures of the deep. In addition, there are educational programs and camps for children, as well as events and activities for adults.
The Aquarium in Tampa also seasonally offers a boat ride to observe dolphins and a ride up the Hillsborough River. One reason the Florida Aquarium in Tampa is considered the best aquarium in Florida is the access to the river and activities there.
Other Details About the Florida Aquarium in Tampa
- The aquarium is located in the Channelside district of downtown Tampa, near the Port of Tampa and the Tampa Riverwalk.
- Nearby is Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa that is popular with visitors and locals.
- In addition to its animal exhibits, the Florida Aquarium also has a 4D theater, which offers a multisensory experience that includes special effects like wind and water.
- The aquarium is committed to conservation and sustainability, and it has several programs and initiatives aimed at protecting marine life and its habitats. For example, the aquarium participates in coral reef restoration efforts in the Florida Keys and supports sea turtle conservation through its Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center.
- The Florida Aquarium is also a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which sets high standards for animal care, conservation, and education in accredited institutions.
- The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, with extended hours on certain days during the summer and holidays.
- Visitors can purchase tickets online or at the aquarium’s ticket office. Discounts are available for children, seniors, military personnel, and Florida residents.
- The Florida Aquarium also offers special events and programs throughout the year, such as Shark Week, Snorkel with Sharks, and Brews by the Bay (a beer and food festival).
- There are few aquariums that focus on catering to children (of ALL ages) with guides, low-profile exhibits, and a version of a splashpad outside. Over 900,000 people visited the Florida Aquarium in Tampa in 2022. The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is a must-see for children as an educational tool.
The Florida Aquarium is a great destination for families, animal lovers, and anyone interested in learning more about marine life and conservation efforts.
A Special note about tickets to the Florida Aquarium – tickets are sold at the door in front of the Aquarium. However, we highly recommend you buy tickets online at this location. Lines to purchase tickets at the door can be lengthy. The line for pre-purchased tickets moves quickly into the Aquarium. Skip the lines, and purchase tickets online!
Food, Drinks and Rest at the Florida Aquarium
Fortunately, the Florida Aquarium in Tampa recognizes that kids lose focus after a couple hours, older people need to sit down occasionally and all of us can use a cold refreshment.
The Aquarium has a cafe that serves typical quick service foods like big pretzels, hot dogs, chips and similar food.
Outside their cafe along the river is a splash pad that kids love, a tiki-type structure, and some playground equipment very safely designed for kids. You can watch the kids, the river and a margarita all at the same time!
Finding The Florida Aquarium in Tampa
The Florida Aquarium is just a few blocks from Downtown Tampa and the Convention Center. There is a streetcar that stops at the Aquarium and connects to the major hotels along Water Street and Channelside Drive. The actual Aquarium address is 701 Channelside Drive.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is a great place to learn about and appreciate the diverse marine life found in Florida and around the world.