Aquariums provide people with an exceptional way to see sea life that you’d not see elsewhere. Some of the best US aquariums even let visitors get up close and personal” with everything from dolphins to whales. Thus, with no further ado, here are the 25 best aquariums in the USA to visit in 2021.

Best Aquariums in the USA

1.  Georgia Aquarium, Georgia

This aquarium in Atlanta is home to more than 500 underwater species. It’s highlighted by a dolphin performance, an 800,000-gallon tank that houses six beluga whales, a whale shark exhibit, and the Ocean Voyager gallery.

2.  Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

This aquarium on Cannery Row was founded in 1984. Here you’ll discover 600+ species of sea life including jellyfish, sea otters, stingrays, and tuna. It’s one of the few places you can see ocean sunfish.

3.  Shedd Aquarium, Illinois

This is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. This aquarium is home to 32,500 marine creatures in numerous aquatic habitats. You’ll see beluga whales, dolphins, jellyfish, penguins, sea lions, sea otters, and sharks.  

4.  National Aquarium, Maryland

This aquarium in Baltimore opened in 1981. It includes exhibits on coral reefs, tropical rainforests, and the popular marine mammal pavilion, and 4D immersion theater as well. Over 1.5 million travelers come here annually.

5.  Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Tennessee

Here in Gatlinburg, you can enjoy interactive exhibits, see and touch several sea creatures and get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the underwater world with the aid of an amiable animal expert.

6.  New England Aquarium, Massachusetts

This Boston-based aquarium is one of the nation’s largest. More than one million people come to enjoy such things as the IMAX Theatre, a Caribbean reef, a giant ocean tank, and a whale watch.

7.  SeaWorld, California

Spanning an area of almost 200 acres, San Diego’s SeaWorld is reportedly the “granddaddy of the best aquariums” in the US. Highlights include exhibit tours, thrill rides, live entertainment, behind-the-scenes adventures, and “up-close animal encounters.”  

8.  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Louisiana


This aquarium on Canal Street in New Orleans reportedly focuses on animal life in North and South America. It’s home to over 10,000 sea creatures representing a total of 520 species.

9.  Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, Connecticut

Located on Coogan Boulevard in Mystic, this aquarium was opened in 1973. Highlights here include jellyfish, penguins, a special touch pool with rays and sharks, and the noteworthy Nautilus Live Theater. 

10.  The Florida Aquarium, Florida

This Tampa-based aquarium not only houses over 20,000 sea creatures but also includes a two-acre water adventure area for children. It includes geysers, water cannons, and even a large pirate ship.

11.  Texas State Aquarium, Texas

Situated in Corpus Christi, this aquarium is home to both Atlantic stingrays and Southern stingrays, cownose rays, and other sea life native to the Gulf of Mexico. Check out the Blue Hole exhibit too!

12.  Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon

This aquarium on SE Ferry Slip Road in Newport takes full advantage of its coastal location and is home to a diverse group of sea creatures. It includes Rocky Shores and Sandy Shore exhibits. 

13.  Aquarium of the Pacific, California

Located in Long Beach, this aquarium has a lot to offer. See several sizes and species of sharks at the Shark Lagoon. Visit the June Keyes Penguin Habitat and Harbor Terrace too.

14.  New York Aquarium, New York

This aquarium on Surf Avenue in Brooklyn is home to over 115 marine species and 18 different types of rays and sharks in the exceptional Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Exhibit.  

15.  Waikiki Aquarium, Hawaii

This Honolulu-based aquarium on Kalakaua Avenue is home to South Pacific creatures and native Hawaiian species too. See the Ocean Drifters Gallery, the Jet Set exhibit, and the Living Reef exhibit as well.

16.  Newport Aquarium, Kentucky

This exceptional aquarium is found on Levee Way in Newport. Here you’ll find thousands of animals from all over the globe. Cross the Shark Bridge. Visit Shark Central, and the Shore Gallery too.

17.  Downtown Aquarium, Colorado

Denver’s Downtown Aquarium is both an aquarium and an entertainment complex. See over 500 species of sea creatures and even touch stingrays. Afterward, you can even go shopping and enjoy full-service dining too.

18.  Downtown Aquarium, Texas

You’ll find this aquarium on Bagby Street in Houston. It offers something for everyone. You can study over 300 species of marine life, go shopping and have a meal all in one place.

19.  Seattle Aquarium, Washington

This Seattle aquarium focuses on the marine life of the Pacific Northwest. It is on Alaskan Way over Puget Sound. See the seals, the moon jelly exhibit, and the Giant Pacific Octopus.

20.  Birch Aquarium at Scripps, California

This San Diego-based aquarium is nestled on the shoreline of well-known La Jolla. It offers visitors touch pools, 60+ habitats, and even hands-on exhibits. Be sure to see Shark Shores too.

21.  Alaska Sealife Center, Alaska

This center on Railway Avenue in Seward was constructed using money from the infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Be sure to see the Chiswell Island Exhibit, and learn about the Wildlife Response program.

22.  Tennessee Aquarium, Tennessee

Take the Chattanooga choo-choo to this aquarium. The exhibits are reportedly “constantly changing” to offer visitors “varied” experiences. Highlights include the lovely Lemur Forest, turtle hatchlings, and a cool disco jelly light show.

23.  Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Nevada

This hotel-based aquarium in Las Vegas is a sure thing. Here you will see over 2,000 creatures including giant rays, piranhas, sharks, a Komodo dragon, and a golden crocodile.

24.  SEA LIFE at Mall of America, Minnesota

If you shop at this massive mall in Bloomington, stop here as well. Highlights include the underwater tunnel, Coral Caves, Rainbow Reef, Sturgeon Lake, and the Ray Lagoon.  

25.  Adventure Aquarium, New Jersey


Head to Riverside Drive in Camden to find this award-winning aquarium. Here you can walk through the Shark Tunnel, cross the Shark Bridge, and go behind the scenes with a giant Nile hippo.


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