15 Best Aquariums in America To Add to Your Bucket List

Don’t miss out on seeing these unique, engaging aquariums during summer break.

girl looking at colorful fish
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Summer break is on the way, and you're likely on the lookout for activities and travel plans that are a good fit for the whole family. Aquariums can be a great option.

Not only are aquariums entertaining and educational, but they're also often air-conditioned. So, step up your travel game and add one of these aquariums to your itinerary this year.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Oregon Coast Aquarium

cascoly2/Adobe field trip students watching fish

With so much native marine life to show off, coastal states are bound to have stunning aquariums — and Oregon is no exception.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport features birds, fish, marine mammals, and more that are local to the Pacific coast. Fun exhibits include a shark tunnel and an octopus cave.

Mystic Aquarium

coachwood/Adobe baby white beluga

The Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, has several special fish and aquatic creatures on display.

Featured animals include beluga whales, African penguins, seals and sea lions, a giant Pacific octopus, and sharks. The aquarium also has an Undersea Explorer virtual reality experience.

Alaska SeaLife Center

Jacob/Adobe alaska sealife center

The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, is an aquarium, research center, and rescue and rehabilitation center for marine wildlife.

Animals include seals, sea lions, and many varieties of birds and fish.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

Shark Reef Aquarium

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe serious boy looking at aquarium

If you visit aquariums for the sharks, head to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas to see the Shark Reef Aquarium.

The truly adventurous can even swim with sharks at this aquarium. There are more than 2,000 other species of animals on display.

Georgia Aquarium

JHVEPhoto/Adobe georgia public aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is dedicated to providing educationally enriching entertainment, as well as promoting conservation efforts and research.

The aquarium offers several interactive experiences, including scuba diving and swimming with manta rays and whale sharks.

Long Island Aquarium

Tan Kian Khoon/Adobe lion fish with stripes

If you want a truly unique aquarium experience, head to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, New York. There, you'll find rays, seahorses, moray eels, and moon jellies, as well as non-aquatic creatures such as butterflies, bees, marmosets, and more.

You can also participate in interactive experiences, from diving with sharks to a pirate snorkel and swimming with mermaids.

Newport Aquarium

cascoly2/Adobe leopard shark swimming

The Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky, features exhibits that include shark rays and alligators.

Touch sharks and stingrays, or meet a penguin. The Newport Aquarium also features mermaid shows during the summer.

Seattle Aquarium

Cliff/Adobe seattle skyline

The Seattle Aquarium in Seattle is dedicated to fun experiences and conservation education.

Some of the creatures you can visit at the Seattle Aquarium include tufted puffin, rockfish, sturgeon, dwarf cuttlefish, harbor seals, and more.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

An Instant of Time/Adobe monterey bay aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, has several exhibits arranged by habitat, including everything from the open sea to a stunning kelp forest.

Check out the deep sea exhibit featuring isopods and glowing jellies.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

New England Aquarium

frimufilms/Adobe new england aquarium

On the Atlantic coast, you will find the New England Aquarium in Boston. There are many marine animals to see here, including penguins, piranhas, sea lions, seals, octopi, and more.

The aquarium also has a reputation for studying right whales, sea turtles, and sharks.

Texas State Aquarium

vivoo/Adobe harbor bridge texas state aquarium

The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi has engaging exhibits focused on ocelots, coral reefs, jungle animals, sharks, swamp creatures, and more.

You can also swim with sharks and feed the fish with staff.

Audubon Aquarium

RedBridge/Adobe audubon aquarium

The Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans features both exotic fish and marine wildlife, as well as local animals.

The Down the Bayou exhibit places the spotlight on alligators, birds, frogs, turtles, and more. Consider checking out the next-door Audubon Insectarium for further summer fun.

OdySea Aquarium

Asta/Adobe dolphin performance in odessa 2019

Visit the OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a variety of engaging exhibits, including a deep-sea exhibit that you experience by riding an escalator through an underwater tunnel.

You can also interact with sloths and penguins, as well as participate in tank dives.

Shedd Aquarium

Dian Liu/Wirestock Creators/Adobe beautiful shot of shedd aquarium

Experience aquatic wildlife from around the world and local to the Midwest at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Explore exhibits with themes such as Oceanarium, Wild Reef, Polar Play Zone, and more. You can also learn all about the marine life of the Great Lakes, including touching the armored skin of a lake sturgeon.

New York Aquarium

Edi Chen/Adobe new york aquarium

The New York Aquarium in Brooklyn features exhibits focused on invertebrates and sharks. Conservation Hall lets you explore many different habitats teeming with fish.

You can enjoy touch pool and aquatheater shows, as well as wild encounters with penguins, sea lions, and sharks.

Bottom line

Wollwerth Imagery/Adobe aquarium in atlanta georgia

There is certainly no shortage of fun and engaging aquariums across the country that you can visit this summer.

Whether you want to view conservation efforts up close, interact with marine life, or be entertained at aqua shows, grab one of the top travel credit cards and book a trip to one of the fine aquariums on this list.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards


Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee



Why we like it

Author Details

Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.