1.) Miami Seaquarium
Highlights: How about hugging a dolphin instead of just looking at it through glass? The Miami Seaquarium organizes Dolphin Interactive Programs to allow guests to get up-close and hug, rub and dance with these friendly mammals. The 38-acre aquarium also shows off the talents of their sea creatures with eight different marine animal shows throughout the day, including one with a killer whale that appears to walk on water. Manatees, sea lions, sea turtles and sharks also swim in the aquariums waters for visitors to marvel at.
2.) Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration
Highlights: The calm faces of beluga whales look guests in the eye all the time in the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration. Other marine species hail from across the globe with fish from the Amazon River, coral reefs, the deep oceans and the water’s edge. Other underwater stars that get their own exhibit include African Penguins, Jellyfish, Sealions and fearsome-looking sharks.
3.) National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
Highlights: See the surprising diversity of life that can be found under the surface of America’s rivers at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Rivers are full of their own creepy underwater monsters, as the museum proves by displaying massive alligator gar, giant catfish, sturgeons and other fish in its six aquariums. The Carver Wet Lab shows river life safe enough to touch, including freshwater mussels, snails and crawfish. Other exhibits of interest include the Backwater Marsh Aquarium, the Rivers to Sea display and the hands-on RiverWorks for children.
4.) Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay, Calif.
Highlights: Look outside and see the top of the Pacific Ocean, but look inside and see what lives in the ocean at the Monteray Bay Aquarium. Artificial waves crash over a walk-through tunnel to give live to tide pool creatures, sea otters play and wolf-eels creep through a kelp forest. From the outdoor deck, viewers can occasionally see wild whales swimming in the ocean.
5.) National Aquarium
Highlights: The Aquarium houses more than 16,000 specimens and 660 animal species, including dolphins and a Giant Pacific octopus.. Exhibits include the Australian Animals, Jellies Invasion, the New Dolphin Show and the new 4-D Theater. A variety of wildlife reside in multispecies tanks in the spacious aquarium.
More U.S. Aquariums: