Okay, so I totally have mixed feelings about aquariums and zoos. On one hand, they pull animals out of their natural surroundings and cage them in small, sometimes miserable quarters. On the other hand, they serve to educate and hopefully inspire people to take an active role in protecting animals from becoming endangered. Further, they provide a place to preserve species who have become extinct in the wild and many, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, are leading the way with their conservation programs.
For better or worse, there are few places that make me as happy. Here are 3 aquariums located in the U.S. that I’ve read about which seem pretty amazing and I’d like to see. Any other recommendations?
1. Georgia Aquarium Atlanta, Georgia
The Georgia Aquarium claims to be the world’s largest aquarium with over 100,000 animals housed in 8.1 million gallons of fresh and saltwater. It is the only aquarium outside of Asia to exhibit whales sharks (of which it has two males). Other notable specimens include great hammerhead sharks, beluga whales and manta rays. The aquarium also has a 100ft underwater tunnel as well as the world’s second largest viewing window.
2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Monterey, California
The Monterey Bay Aquarium contains a 33 foot high, 350,000 gallon tank which holds the world’s first man-grown kelp garden as well as housing California coastal marine life such as leopard sharks and wolf-eels. The aquarium also boasts a 1.2 million gallon tank which is large enough to allow tuna to reach speeds of 18 miles per hour. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly nerdy, I like to check out the otters on their webcam.
3. Oregon Coast Aquarium Newport, Oregon
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a hop, skip and a jump from my brother and his cute little family, so now I have two excuses to make the trip! The main attraction here is the acrylic tunnel which allows you to be surrounded by sharks, bat rays and rockfish without ever getting wet.