America’s Best Aquariums

underwaterThe summer is a great time for road trips and, in honor of National Aquarium Month, this article takes a look at some of America’s finest places to get up close and personal with your favorite sea creatures. Whether you like the big grin of an orca or the whimsy of a green sea turtle, America has quite a collection from the east coast to the west.

John G. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, Illinois

• Size: Over 25,000 fish and over 1,500 species
• Best Creatures: Australian lungfish, Grand Cayman blue iguanas, Mangrove whiptail rays, Frogfish, Pacific white-sided dolphin, sea otters, beluga whales, piranhas, crocodiles, anacondas, sea turtles, eels,
• Special Exhibits: Wild Reef (20 habitats), Waters of the World (90 habitats), Caribbean Reef
• Distinctions: It’s the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection; The 3-million-gallon Oceanarium is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world; It’s also one of the oldest aquariums, opened in 1929.
• Info: www.sheddaquarium.org

Monterey Bay Aquarium – Monterey, California

• Size: Over 550 species of plants & animals, More than 200 exhibits
• Best Creatures: Blackfooted penguins, Giant jellyfish, Pacific octopi, Flamingos, Sea horses, Sea otters, Wolf eels, Bluefin tuna, Hammerhead sharks, Ocean Whales, White sharks
• Special Exhibits: Secret Lives of Seahorses; Hot Pink Flamingos; Open Ocean Exhibit; Splash Zone with animal touch pool & water play area; Mysteries of the Deep
• Distinctions: Monterey is considered a leader in wildlife education; It’s the first facility to grow a giant living kelp forest;
• Info: www.montereybayaquarium.org

National Aquarium – Baltimore, Maryland

• Size: Over 16,500 animals and over 660 species
• Best Creatures: Pig-nosed turtle, Yellow-headed Amazon parrot, Electric eel, Jellyfish, Giant Pacific octopus, Snake-necked turtles, Black-headed pythons, Freshwater crocodiles, Bottle-nosed dolphins
• Special Exhibits: Jellies Invasion, Australia River Gorge, Rooftop Rainforest, Central Rays
• Distinctions: The aquarium is often listed as one of the top tourist attractions in the state.
• Info: www.aqua.org

Oregon Coast Aquarium – Newport, Oregon

• Size: 23 acres and more than 15,000 animals
• Best Creatures: Snowy Plover bird, Sharks, Bat rays, Sea lions, Turtles, Sea otters, Jellyfish, Sharks, Octopi, Rockfish, Tufted puffins, Black oystercatchers, Rhinoceros auklets
• Special Exhibits: Passages of the Deep, Animal Encounters, Sandy Shores, Rocky Shores, Coastal Waters, Seabird Aviary
• Distinctions: Held “Keiko” – the star of Free Willy;
• Info: www.aquarium.org

Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta, Georgia

• Size: The largest in the WORLD, with over 550,000 square feet, containing more than 8.1 million gallons of water, 100,000+ animals and over 60 exhibits
• Best Creatures: African penguin, Spotted wobbegong, Amazon milk frog, Whale sharks, Grouper, Stingrays
• Special Exhibits: Journey with Gentle Giants; Ocean Voyager;
• Distinctions: Georgia is the only place to see Whale sharks outside of Asia; It’s also one of two aquariums that houses Hammerhead sharks; The underwater viewing tunnel is the second largest viewing window in the world
• Info: www.georgiaaquarium.org

Jennn Fusion
Article: Jennn Fusion

Twitter: @jennnfusion

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