Houston’s Downtown Aquarium is a fun and educational attraction, especially for families. Children can get up close and personal with more than 200 types of underwater creatures, including myriad fish, eels, rays in a touch tank, sharks, and white tigers. Kids also love the amusement rides and dining in the underwater aquarium restaurant.
This 500,000-gallon (1.89-million-liter) complex takes you through a network of tanks all organized with a different theme. You might enjoy seeing a replica of a 17th-century shipwreck reef teeming with fish or riding through the Shark Voyage tunnel. Another add-on ticket option includes petting stingrays in the aquarium’s touch tanks. End your visit with a peek at the two resident white tigers housed in a replica Maharaja’s temple and a spin on some of the amusement rides. If you’ve worked up an appetite, consider a meal in the aquarium restaurant—and dine next to colorful fish swimming in floor-to-ceiling tanks.
You can get single tickets for individual attractions in the complex, or make a day of it with an All-Day Adventure Pass, which includes admission to the Aquarium Adventure Exhibit and Stingray Reef plus unlimited amusement rides. Combination tickets are available that provide entry to the Downtown Aquarium along with other Houston area attractions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Houston aquarium is a great activity for families with young kids.
- If you plan to enjoy the outdoor attractions, remember to bring sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Skip the line with a Houston CityPASS—cardholders enter through a dedicated line.
- The Downtown Aquarium is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The Downtown Aquarium is located on Bagby Street between Preston Street and Memorial Drive, just east of US 45 (Gulf Freeway) in downtown Houston. The city’s bus service stops at Preston and Bagby. If driving, paid parking is available in the downtown lot next to the aquarium complex.
When to Get There
Houston’s aquarium is open every day of the year from 10am; it closes at 8:30pm Sunday through Thursday and 10pm on Friday and Saturday. To beat the crowds, visit early or late in the day, even an hour or two before closing—you can get through the main aquarium fairly quickly. Expect throngs on weekends, holidays, and school breaks.
Ride the Train Under the Sharks
For added fun, spring for a train ticket that takes you through the Downtown Aquarium’s Shark Voyage, a tunnel through a 200,000-gallon (757,000-liter) tank filled with sharks swimming overhead. There are several outdoor attractions worth exploring, too, plus amusement rides including a 100-foot (30.5-meter) Ferris wheel and an aquatic carousel.