The ocean is the living, breathing heart of planet Earth. It hosts an enormous range of creatures and has served as a means of transportation, sustenance and adventure for all of man kind since the beginning of time. It covers a whopping 70% of the planet, and man kind has only been able to explore a mere 5% of its depths. What little we do already know about the ocean can best be learned by visiting aquariums! Aquariums also tend to dedicate their revenue and resources to ocean and wildlife conservation efforts, which makes them pretty amazing places to visit. AquaMobile has compiled a list of 5 of the best aquariums for you to visit!
1) Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, IL, USA
Shedd Aquarium doesn’t just offer an exhilarating and educational experience for people of all ages, it is also well known for its extensive animal rehabilitation programs. Shedd is part of a powerful organization with many other zoos and aquariums called SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction).
Shedd often goes above and beyond for all types of sea life. All animals large and small are taken under their wing and nursed back to health until it is time for them to be returned to the wild. Shedd has helped relocate endangered Illinois Muscles, given 24 hour care to a baby sea otter, and teamed up with other members of SAFE to rescue sea turtles caught in a deadly oil spill. All tickets and memberships purchased by Shedd Visitors directly contributes to SAFE, allowing even more animals to be rescued.
2) Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN, USA
Tennessee Aquarium doesn’t only walk their guests through the story of the ocean, they also have an extensive river aquarium exhibit. One of their newest exhibits titled ‘River Giants’ features ‘Volkswagen’ sized catfish and river rays with bodies that stretch up to 12 ft in diameter!
Another one of Tennessee Aquarium’s most popular exhibits is their River Otter experience.
Tennessee Aquarium’s ‘River Otter Falls’ is home to six extremely charismatic North American River Otters named Delmar, Benny, Louie, Maya, Hunter and Digger. They each have unique characteristics and personalities. They were brought to the Aquarium as a part of Tennessee’s River Otter Recovery program. This program was responsible for helping restore the River Otter population in Tennessee and removing the North American River Otter from the endangered species list! You can check in and see what the otters of River Otter Falls are up to on the Tennessee aquarium’s 24 hour otter cam, here! Tennessee Aquarium is also a proud member of SAFE.
3) Georgia Aquarium – Atlanta, GA, USA
The Georgia Aquarium holds the title of the largest aquarium in the world. Their ‘Ocean Voyager’ is home to countless sea giants, such as manta rays, sea-turtles, grouper and even whale sharks!
The Georgia Aquarium is the proud founder of the Caring Together Club, which inspires scientific based animal advocacy. This program allows them to rescue all sorts of animals and rehabilitate them into the wild. The animals that are deemed unable to be rehabilitated are cared for permanently by the Aquarium. During their time in Georgia Aquarium’s care, the animals are studied with the hopes of helping to maintain healthy populations of different species in the wild. The Georgia Aquariam has dedicated its efforts to importing endangered Beluga Whales, Sea Turtles, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Whale Sharks and African Penguins. Anyone can join and support the Caring Together club. To sign up to receive Georgia Aquarium’s Newsletter click here.
4) Monterey Bay Aquarium – Monterey, CA, USA
Monterey Bay Aquarium in California is first and foremost a marine life sanctuary for all types of aquatic animals. What makes Monterey Bay unique from the rest of the aquariums on this list is the fact that it was actually the inspiration for the Marine Life Institute featured in ‘Finding Dory.’
Just like in ‘Finding Dory,’ Monterey Bay Aquarium has a kelp forest exhibit, as well as a Giant Pacific Octopus exhibit. Though the Bay does not currently house any Belugas or Whale Sharks due to lack of space, they are home to a great white shark! This amazing Aquarium also raises awareness for protecting the diminishing Albatross population. Concern for the Albatross population has been on the rise due to plastics pollution. Their largest exhibit features creatures from the open sea. Schools of sardines zoom by onlookers among sharks, and sea turtles.
5) Ripley’s Aquarium – Toronto, ON, Canada
Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada, has a full functioning cafe where couples can come dine with the sharks. They also offer a series of amazing water-based programs, such as a stingray experience in Ray Bay, and a Discovery Dive in Dangerous Lagoon. You can even have a sleepover party with your friends! It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘sleep with the fishes!’
Ripley’s is also a huge supporter of the The Shark Research Institute. They often donate 100% of proceeds from their Souvenir Guide Book Sales to this science based organization. The money goes towards efforts to educate people about sharks and alter any preconceived misconceptions. Due to a lack of understanding, over 100 million sharks are poached and killed annually. As Ripley’s is home to several different species of sharks, this is definitely a cause they can get behind!
If you have an amazing aquarium you would like to mention, join the discussion in the comments section below!