Your Complete Guide to Florida Aquarium

August 7, 2019

by Clara Chua

lossy page1 1280px Florida Aquarium in Tampa Florida LCCN2011634588.tif - Your Complete Guide to Florida Aquarium

Whether it’s with family or friends, Florida Aquarium is the perfect place to connect with and learn more about marine life. Other than featuring many of Florida’s aquatic animals and ecosystems, they also house other species from around the globe.

 

The Florida Aquarium is more than an event space or a must-see attraction. Since 1995, the aquarium has dedicated conservational efforts to protect, restore and educate individuals on endangered marine life and creating a healthier planet. By being a visitor, you’re playing a part in saving our blue planet for future generations to explore.

 

Main Attractions

florida aquarium

Photo from Flickr

 

Diving into the Florida Aquarium’s extensive list of programs and attractions, you’ll be spoilt by endless choices. The aquarium is sectioned off into different habitats such as the following:

 

Wetlands Trail

Moon Bay

Journey to Madagascar

Bays & Beaches

No Bones Zone

Coral Reef

Dragons Down Under

Waves of Wonder

 

The different areas are meant to allow visitors to explore the diverse ecosystems under the sea. During your visit, you’ll encounter more than 20,000 animals including different types of fishes, sharks, seahorses, stingrays and many more!

 

Experience An Interactive Visit

florida aquarium

Photo from Pixabay

 

Florida Aquarium also offers an interactive experience for visitors – making your journey much more special. A visitor’s favourite would be the 75-minute Wild Dolphin Cruise which is accompanied by an entertaining yet informative tour. While onboard the Bay Spirit II, guests have an opportunity to spot wild dolphins and watch their natural behaviour from a safe distance.

 

There seems to be something to do for everybody that visits Florida Aquarium: for visitors that seek adventure can dive or snorkel with Sand Tiger sharks, or those with children older than six years old can swim among hundreds of Florida native fish. The great part is that guests will receive video footage of their in-water adventure!

 

Guests that thrive off curiosity can meet and interact with African penguins. During Penguins: Backstage Pass, an experienced penguin biologist will be there to guide visitors through the specialised care and queries some might have.

 

Even children of young ages have fun planned out for them at the Florida Aquarium. Tours like Close Up Critters give guests the opportunity to learn and touch three different animal ambassadors (animals vary depending on the day), it also gives you a behind the scenes of the aquarium.

 

Another popular choice for families is the 4D Duck Theater. Guests will be given 3-D glasses to immerse themselves in the documentary movie, where it becomes interactive and engage your senses with bubbles, snow, scent, mist, wind and seat vibration. The best part: This experience is already included in your general admission ticket!

 

Note: Wild Dolphin Cruises are currently unavailable as it is currently undergoing routine maintenance.

 

Operating Hours, Tickets and Packages

With this many experiences, tours and adventures, set aside a few hours just to explore Florida Aquarium. They have different tour packages and special prices for groups.

 

Below is the aquarium’s schedule and ticket prices:

Operating Hours

Open Daily

9:30AM – 5:00PM

Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

 

Ticket Prices

General Admission

Adult

$30.00

Child (Age: 2 and below)

Free

Child (Age: 3-11 years)

$25.00

Senior (Age: 60+ years)

$27.00

Combo Ticket

Admission +

Wild Dolphin Cruise

Admission +

Behind the Scenes Tour

Admission +

Close-Up Critters Tour

Adult

$47.00

Adult

$42.00

Adult

$42.00

Child

(Age: 3-11 years)

$40.00

Child

(Age: 3-11 years)

$37.00

Child

(Age: 3-11 years)

$37.00

Senior

(Age: 60+ years)

$43.00

Senior

(Age: 60+ years)

$39.00

Senior

(Age: 60+ years)

$39.00

In-water Experiences

Heart of the Sea Swim

Shark Swim

Dive with the Sharks

Aquarium Members

$75

Aquarium Members

$100

Aquarium Members

$150

Non-Members

$85

Non-Members

$110

Non-Members

$160

 

Check this out for more details.

 

In the end, if you are planning to visit the Florida Aquarium in advance, we strongly recommend purchasing your tickets online. Their website uses Plan-Ahead Pricing which offers the lowest possible price for the date you pick.

 

Directions to Florida Aquarium

The closest stations to Florida Aquarium are Cumberland Avenue Station (7) and Amalie Arena Station (8). After alighting, it would take around 4-5 minutes to walk to the aquarium. An alternative route would be taking bus 1, 8, 19 or 400 as they have routes that pass by Florida Aquarium.

 

If you’re driving around in Tampa Bay, the aquarium parking lot is adjacent to Florida Aquarium and is located at the corner of Channelside Drive and York Street. Do take note that the parking fee is fixed at $6.

 

Food And Drink Outlets In/Near Florida Aquarium

pizza florida

Photo from Pixabay

 

Cafe Ray

Located right on the first-floor lobby of the aquarium, this cafe opens daily from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm. The menu ranges from breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. You won’t run out of options – they have healthy salads and other hearty choices as well such as burgers and paninis. The cafe offers huge sitting areas and is a great place to recharge your energy.

 

If you want to explore the area around Florida Aquarium for food, we have a few places we can recommend you.

 

Fabrica Pizza

If you enjoy wood-fired pizzas, wine, and tapped beer, this place is perfect for you. Kick it back and relax out on their patio while feasting on their dishes. Better yet, Fabrica Pizza is just located 6-minutes away from Florida Aquarium. You can build your own pizza – choose everything from the crust to the toppings. If pasta is what you’re looking for, they have that, too!

 

Opening Hours:
Mon – Closed
Tues to Sat – 11:30AM to 10:00PM
Sun – 1:00PM to 9:00PM

 

Sparkman Wharf

After learning and enjoying your time at an aquarium, what better way to end the day off by feasting on fresh hand-raised oysters and other seafood. Sold from a shipping container along the waters, you can enjoy your meal with a view. Seafood lovers rejoice as they offer the best oysters and seafood Tampa Area has to offer. Feast on chargrilled oysters, shrimp rolls, oyster tacos, and the like.

 

Opening Hours:
Mon – Closed
Tues – Closed

Wed to Sun – 11:00AM to 11:00PM

 

Popular Tourist Destinations Near Florida Aquarium

tampa bay florida

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

 

Why not continue learning while you’re in the area, located just a few minutes away is Tampa Bay History Centre. The permanent and temporary exhibits offer stories and personalities from Florida’s past. Since it is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm, make sure you set some time aside to explore the museum.

 

Or if you’re feeling restless, head down to Amalie Arena. Known for hosting ice hockey, basketball, and concerts, you never know what upcoming events there will be when you visit. Remember to check their website for ticket information and future NHL Tampa Bay Lightning home games.

 

In the end, just by planning a trip to Florida Aquarium would take you to many places and experience many adventures. Instead of rushing through it all, remember to enjoy the company and learn something along the way!

 

Want to explore more of Tampa? Here are some of the best things you can do in Tampa, Florida!