Texas Travel

Dive Into 6 of the Best Aquariums in Texas

By Peter Simek 12.5.19

The third coast is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, and even though much of Texas is landlocked, the state’s many great aquariums bring home the magic of the open ocean across the state. These are some of the best aquariums in Texas, each dedicated to housing, studying, and sharing the aquatic life of Texas and beyond.

Courtesy of Texas State Aquarium

Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi

Considered Texas’s premier aquarium, Corpus Christi’s Texas State Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the U.S. Although its exhibits present oceanic life from around the globe, the aquarium places special emphasis on understanding and preserving the marine wildlife found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Plus, visitor revenue to the nonprofit institution goes toward helping fund sea turtle and bird rescue and conservation.

Downtown Aquarium, Houston

Two notable downtown Houston landmarks — Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks Building — were transformed into a 6-acre complex that contains more than 300 species of aquatic animals. Kid-friendly exhibits recreate a Texas bayou, a shipwreck, a rain forest, and an underwater rig, where you can see and experience the kinds of critters that make these settings home.

Courtesy of Austin Aquarium

Austin Aquarium, Austin

The Austin Aquarium is one of the state’s newest and most interactive marine zoos. Exhibits house thousands of species from around the planet; popular attractions include a tropical rainforest stocked with reptiles, a shark-feeding tank, and a stingray touch tank.  

Courtesy of Sea Center Texas

Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department runs one of the best aquariums in Texas, in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association, the Dow Chemical Company, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sportfish Restoration Funds. Sea Center Texas is an aquarium and fish hatchery whose primary mission is preserving coastal habitats. A series of exhibits recreate the aquatic habitats found in different areas of the Texas coast, including salt marshes, coastal bays, coral reefs, jetties, and artificial reefs.

Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, Dallas

Although this aquarium, located within Dallas’s historic Fair Park, is on the smaller side, it is designed with the smaller set in mind. Educational and kid-friendly interactive exhibits offer glimpses into diverse aquatic ecosystems and allow for intimate encounters with a variety of sea creatures, from brilliantly colored tropical fish to magnificent stingrays.

Courtesy of Moody Gardens

Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid, Galveston

Situated within the evocative setting of Moody Gardens, Galveston’s Aquarium Pyramid is a 1.5 million-gallon aquarium containing species of fish and marine life from the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. Tunnels underneath the aquarium allow visitors to get close to marine life by literally walking “under the sea.”

After you’ve seen some of the best aquariums in Texas, explore more wildlife at these Texas zoos.

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