The Florida Aquarium is situated on Channelside Drive at the Port of Tampa. The mission of the aquarium is to entertain, educate, and inspire stewardship about the natural environment. The two-level facility is filled with opportunities to explore, dine, and shop. Visitors of all ages are sure to find something at the aquarium that interests them.
The first level of the aquarium is the location for the Horseshoe Crab Lagoon. The Cafe’ Ray and the Caribbean Cantina are just outside of the main lobby. Visitors can eat, drink, and lounge in the Cantina Pavilion or on the Explore the Shore Deck. Younger guests can splash and play around a pirate ship, water jets, and water cannons. The outdoor area also has a sandbox and toddler play area. Changing rooms are available for those that need to transition from wet to dry or vice versa. Lockers are also available. The Sea Star Pavilion picnic area can accommodate larger groups.
The second level of the aquarium is where guests can journey through seven themed animal exhibits. The Wetlands Trail features alligators, birds, invasive pythons and more. The Journey to Madagascar is home to lemurs, chameleons, and a tree full of hissing cockroaches. Bays and Beaches is where adventurous guests can touch sting rays and see a 300 pound Goliath Grouper. In the No Bone Zone invertebrates like anemones, sea cucumbers, and sea stars are on display. Stingray Beach is one of the newest exhibits were guests can touch stingrays and sharks. In the Coral Reef exhibit there are coral tunnels and caves, plus a window into the world of sharks, fish, and eels. Dragons Down Under is where Australian sea dragons and sea horses can be viewed close up. Ocean Commotion houses jelly fish, octopus, crabs and a school of fish.
Additional adventures that can be experienced at The Florida Aquarium include VIP Tours that allow guests to go behind-the-scenes. Underwater Experiences such as diving with sharks or swimming with fish are possible for guest of certain ages. Guests that pay for the Wild Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise can take a 75-minute narrated eco-tour aboard the Bay Spirit II in search of wild bottlenose dolphins. Sleepovers, birthday parties, and other private events can be arranged; member discounts and group rates are available. A ZooQuarium (combination ticket) for The Florida Aquarium and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo can be purchased through October 31, 2015 for a 25% savings on the two attractions.
The Florida Aquarium is located at 701 Channelside Drive in Tampa, Florida 33602. The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information visit flaquarium.org. The phone number for the aquarium is 813-273-4000. The aquarium is on Twitter (@floridaaquarium) and Facebook (The Florida Aquarium).