According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we still haven’t explored roughly 95% of the earth’s oceans. Luckily, aquariums allow us to uncover a bit of that mystery, as they invite visitors to dive deep into the ocean’s depths and explore the secrets of the deep blue sea. There are many different types of exhibits at aquariums, and each boasts its own unique grouping of aquatic inhabitants.
Many aquariums have touch tanks, and younger visitors find them particularly interesting. Touch tanks allow visitors to get up close and personal with the exhibit, and people can interact with the animals in a more hands-on manner. This type of exhibit often features smaller animals commonly found along shorelines or in tidal pools. Sea stars, sea cucumbers, and small crabs frequently inhabitant many touch tank exhibits. Larger touch tank exhibits may feature sting rays, horseshoe crabs, or small sharks. For those worried about sticking their hand into a pool of sharks and rays, you don’t need to fear. The sting rays typically have their barbs removed before being placed into the pool, and the sharks prefer the taste of fish over your fingers.
Once you test the waters at a touch tank, wade a bit deeper into the ocean and explore a deep-sea exhibit. These exhibits feature much larger tanks with much larger inhabitants, and they provide visitors with a glimpse into life in the open ocean. It’s here that you’ll encounter larger sharks, sting rays, and even sea turtles. The exhibits typically feature very deep tanks with large windows to give you a clear look into the life of these deep-sea dwellers. Feeding time at these exhibits can be quite entertaining, as a keeper dives deep into the tank to feed and interact with the animals—sometimes they’ll even feed them right from their hands.
Of the many different types of exhibits at aquariums, coral reef exhibits are perhaps the most popular. Featuring intricate coral structures and a wide array of brightly colored fish, these exhibits are a fan favorite for visitors of all ages. Though coral reefs may seem no more than a few colorful rocks, they actually host a diverse and intricate ecosystem which play a critical role in ocean health. Many aquariums use their reef exhibits to spark conversations regarding wildlife conservation and aquatic preservation. The New England Aquarium in Boston, for example, serves as a nursery to many different fish species affected by the loss of coral reefs around the world. For more information regarding Boston aquarium prices, and how this aquarium works toward protecting coral reefs, click here.
While fish are the main feature at most aquariums, some also include exhibits dedicated to specific mammals, reptiles, or birds. Larger aquariums may feature exhibits with aquatic mammals, such as seals, dolphins, or whales. Other aquariums, particularly those that focus on lake or river habitats, may feature reptiles such as alligators, snakes, and lizards. Seafowl are also popular residents at many aquariums. Seafowl exhibits often feature puffins, terns, and pelicans. Penguins are also a common attraction at many aquariums that guests of all ages love.