Situated on Key West’s Mallory Square, the Key West Aquarium brings visitors up close to some of the Florida Keys’ aquatic wildlife. Exhibits feature guest favorites such as sharks, stingrays, American alligators, and jellyfish. The Atlantic Shores exhibit houses a living red mangrove ecosystem, a critical habitat in the Keys.
The Key West Aquarium ranks among the island’s most popular family attractions. An admission ticket is valid for two consecutive days, allowing visitors to browse the exhibits or join 30-minute guided tours to learn more about the animals and the history of Key West. The aquarium is a stop on the Key West hop-on hop-off trolley, and the popular Conch Train ends its 90-minute island tour at Mallory Square, a short walk from the aquarium.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Key West Aquarium is a hit with families traveling with kids.
- The aquarium is wheelchair-accessible and dog-friendly.
- Give yourself 45 minutes to an hour to explore the aquarium exhibits, or more if you plan to take a guided tour.
How to Get There
The aquarium is centrally located in Key West Old Town, within easy walking distance of several nearby attractions. Because parking is limited in the area, it’s a good idea to hire a taxi or take the bus or trolley to Mallory Square.
When to Get There
The aquarium is open daily, year-round. It’s busiest during the winter high season (December to February), so come early on a weekday during this period. Because exhibits are covered, the aquarium is an excellent option for a rainy day or a particularly hot afternoon.
History of the Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium was built during the Great Depression, between 1933 and 1935, as part of the federal government’s Works Progress Administration program to help create jobs for struggling Key Westers. When the aquarium first opened, admission was just 15 cents.