The Florida Aquarium - Explore and learn about Florida's marine life through exhibits, demonstrations, and interactive displays!
Located in downtown Tampa next to where the cruise ships leave from, it's worth your while to go check it out ..... plan for the drive to take about 2 hours from Cape Coral.
We went for my granddaughter's 2nd birthday and we had so much fun!
You can buy your tickets ahead online to save some time waiting in line once you get there. After you enter the building, a gift shop and restaurant are on the first floor.
To get to the actual aquarium, you go upstairs and follow a path through The Wetlands Trail which feature tanks that look like streams filled with Florida fishes, alligators, pythons, and free-flying birds such Ibis, Spoonbills, and Heron. Many of the tanks have native Florida trees and plants to mimic these animals in a natural setting.
We also saw - my favorites - otters swimming and frolicking in the water ........ I think they're so cute and playful!
Next is the Journey to Madagascar ......... with lemurs, Spider Tortoises, and an Indian Ocean Reef with reef fish, clams, and coral.
At the Bays and Beaches display, look for the Goliath Grouper, Stingrays, and Sea Turtles.
After that is the Coral Reef Display, modeled after the reefs of the Dry Tortugas, near the Florida Keys.
This is a one-of-a-kind display with over 2000 reef residents and 100 different species.
Ocean Commotion features fog, lights, and sound to create an interactive display with stories and the availability to call on your cell phone for more information about each animal presented.
Then come the open tanks at Stingray Beach, Horseshoe Lagoon, and No Bones Zone. See sharks, sea urchins, and whelks up close; pet sting rays and sea stars. You can also see demonstrations ...... we got to meet Rocky the Penguin when we were there!
At the Dive with the Sharks tank, you can actually make reservations to dive the aquarium's shark tank as long as you are a certified SCUBA diver and are 15 years and older. The rest of us can enjoy watching you! Or, you can make reservations to Swim With the Fishes ..... available to people 6 years and older without SCUBA certification.
Some of my favorites are the really colorful fish, sea horses ..... some of them look like plants, and jelly fish ....... and this Tampa aquarium has it all!
Go to The Florida Aquarium website to find out about events such as Tide Talks, Day of Discovery programs for families with disabled children, Members Only Fun Nights, and Food Festivals. Contact them to have your own event there.
The aquarium hosts summer camps, field trips, sleepovers, and birthday parties.
We were all starving after going through and decided to eat at a restaurant in the shopping strip over by the cruise ships.
If you decide to eat at the aquarium, there's splash pad on the other side of the gift shop where your kids can play and cool off. It was closed when we went so we didn't get to see it ..... it does sound like a lot of fun though!
The Florida Aquarium is open everyday from 9:30AM-5PM, closed Christmas and Thanksgiving. Parking is $6/day.
The Florida Aquarium
701 Channelside Drive, Tampa
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