The Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium


I am a big fan of zoos and aquariums and amusement parks. Whenever I get a chance when we travel I try to hit up a local one, whatever it may be. On our visit to Indian Rocks Beach, we wanted to get out and see a local site in nearby Tampa in case we ended up getting a rain day so I hit up Google trying to find one. Since The Florida Aquarium was so close we decided to make a visit to it so we could compare it to other ones we’ve visited and heal from a case of too much sun exposure the day before.

The Florida Aquarium is located near downtown Tampa, right next to the cruise ship terminals area at Port Tampa Bay. We didn’t find it difficult to find or have an issue with parking despite having to work through the cruisers carrying their luggage. Inside the aquarium most of the exhibits dealt exclusively with Florida waters, with a side exhibit on Australian seahorses and Madagascar. I really liked that they focused on nearby environments because it gave us a little education on what we were driving over, particularly fish in mangroves and life that grows along piers and bridge supports, both of which you see everywhere given that Indian Rocks Beach, where we were staying, is technically on an island.

Although the Aquarium had a lot of great exhibits, we did feel just touring the location wasn’t the best way to take it all in. Evidently the Aquarium has a full day of talks and lectures throughout the day so we’d probably next time try to hop through the scheduled series. One disappointment though was that the penguins, who my son loves, did not have a dedicated exhibit. They had two daily “penguin walks” where you could see them, but our visit fell smack dab in between the two times so we were not able to experience that feature.

We did like that they had an outdoor water park and play area, so you felt like you got some value back on your admission. Our son loved running around and dumping water on himself. We also ate lunch there, and felt like the cafeteria food was good and priced right. The gift shop had some cool items in it, and we were able to find a lapel pin for our collection.

Items to definitely catch include the seahorses, which had some very rare species in it, as well as grabbing a seat at the big tank where you’ll see an enormous eel swim out of its hole and plenty of sharks and schools of ocean fish. Below is a video I shot of the experience, enjoy!