Cozy on up to one of Tampa’s biggest attractions, The Florida Aquarium. The aquarium is found in the heart of Tampa’s downtown area called Channelside. The location is on the waterfront and really stands out. The Florida Aquarium is a not-for-profit organization that is home to over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals. Our visit here was an extremely exciting way to spend a day in Tampa Bay.
The aquarium houses many local species of flora and fauna. We absolutely love the ocean, and aquariums are one of the best ways to cozy up to all the cool creatures under the sea while staying dry. The Florida Aquarium is broken up into several different exhibits that feature different marine life. They even run a dolphin cruise where I’ve been told the chances of seeing a dolphin is somewhere near 90%.
Being a Florida resident, one of my favorite things here was the stroll through the Wetlands Trail Exhibit. There are many local birds and fishes found here and you can get a really nice view of what the Florida Wetlands really look like. It’s a great mosquito-free way to walk through the wetlands. :-)
One of the really cool parts of this exhibit is that you get to walk through the habitat that’s native to Florida and see both above and below the water. This gives you a great opportunity to learn how these environments co-exist with each other.
Bays and Beaches
One of the Florida Aquarium’s newest exhibits is the Bays and Beaches section. It combines a mixture of exhibits showing off coastal marine life with an interactive experience at the end. After taking in all the cool sea life that lives right on the oceans edge, you can actually get your hands wet and touch a sting ray!
I was really impressed with how big the touch tank was, it gave everyone an opportunity to really spend a lot of tine getting to know these mysterious creatures.
One of the largest and coolest sections of the Florida Aquarium was the Coral Reef exhibit. Featuring a large live reef tank, you actually are able to walk through a tank tunnel and be fully immersed in an underwater experience. The tank features sharks along with all the other marine species native to a reef system.
There’s even a large panoramic theater where you can just take a seat and soak it all in.
One of my favorite things at any aquarium are the jellyfish. They are so delicate and beautiful, yet they can pack a real punch with their stinging little tentacles. They are found in every ocean from the surface to the deepest depths and some have even been known to inhabit fresh waters.
Dragons Down Under
One of Kenin’s favorite sea creatures even had their own exhibit at the aquarium. They have an entire section dedicated to the beautiful Australian Sea Dragon. Closely related to the sea horse, these magnificent creatures grow extra spines to camouflage themselves from predators.
Explore a Shore
This was the one section of the Florida Aquarium that left us disappointed! Not that it was the Florida Aquariums fault, we just aren’t kids anymore! Taking advantage of the fantastic year round weather in Florida, the Aquarium built an awesome outdoor playground so kids can add a touch of fun to their day of exploring under the sea. I’ve never wanted to be a kid more than at this very moment of our visit!
Kenin and I really found the Florida Aquarium to be a great attraction in the Tampa Bay area and were happy to get the chance to go back and visit it on our last trip to the area. It’s quite large and has a ton of interactive displays that engage both adults and children. On top of the regular exhibits the Aquarium also features interactive adventures where you can go behind the scenes and swim with the fish, dive with sharks, and even take a wild dolphin cruise! We opted for the Wild Dolphin EcoTour and enjoyed it so my we decided to dedicate a whole separate post to it! (review here) If you are in the Tampa Bay Area, you too should consider checking out the Flordia Aquarium, for more information check out their official website .