Just a short drive from downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium houses more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals within a 200,000-square-foot (18,500-square-meter) facility in Tampa Bay. The entire family will enjoy this aquarium, which offers specialty tours, dolphin cruises, an outside water adventure zone, and on-site bar and grill.
Adults and children alike love exploring this air-conditioned aquarium and learning more about the ocean’s ecosystem, especially through observing the aquarium’s centerpiece Coral Reef. Ticket prices include admission to the aquarium; the outdoor, 2-acre (0.81-hectare) splash pad with dump buckets and water sprayers; toddler area; and 4D theater.
The Florida Aquarium offers several experience-enhancing options. There are tours allowing you to swim with sharks, fish, and eels, without needing a scuba certification. You can also go backstage with penguins or go on a dolphin cruise aboard the 72-foot (22-meter) Bay Spirit II catamaran. You can also arrange a shipwreck diving trip through the aquarium.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Florida Aquarium is ideal for marine wildlife lovers and families with children.
- Buy skip-the-line tickets in advance to save time at entry, and save money with a Tampa Bay CityPASS, which includes admission to other Tampa area attractions.
- For the kids, pack swimsuits or clothes that can get wet in the outside splash area.
- A limited number of wheelchairs, scooters, and single and double strollers are available for rent.
- The aquarium facility is wheelchair accessible. Guests wishing to take the dolphin cruise must be physically able to cross a 6-step gangplank with assistance.
How to Get There
The aquarium is located on the Ybor Channel of Tampa Bay, 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa and easily accessible from I-275. It’s a 5-minute walk from the Port of Tampa Bay cruise terminal; if you are a cruise passenger, the aquarium will hold your luggage for you for free while you are at the facility.
When to Get There
The Florida Aquarium is open from 9:30am to 5pm daily, and is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It tends to be more crowded on weekends and rainy days, so avoid the crowds by going during the week, earlier in the morning, or later in the day.
Help Save Our Oceans
Proceeds from the purchase of an admission ticket go toward the aquarium’s educational and environmental conservation programs. The Florida Aquarium is working on a Center for Conservation that will include a sea turtle hospital, coral ark and nursery, and shark and ray research center.