February 6, 2023

Downtown Aquarium Houston

Downtown Aquarium - Houston's Aquarium of Marine Life

A great place to find a wide variety of marine creatures from all over the world. Downtown Aquarium is a sprawling aquatic attraction that includes touch pools, shark tanks, and displays of aquatic ecosystems. Downtown Aquarium Houston

There are several themed areas to explore within the 500,000 gallons (1.8 million liters) complex, including Louisiana Swamp, Shipwreck, Tropical Rainforest, Silent Temple, and Gulf of Mexico. The Louisiana Swamp is an indoor exhibit that allows visitors to view the wildlife of the marsh and bayous of the Gulf Coast, which are home to spotted gar, alligators, turtles, tarpon, salamanders, and catfish.

The Shipwreck is another indoor exhibit that allows you to walk on a sunken hull of a 17th-century Spanish galleon. The ship is decorated with a coral reef and sea life, including a giant Pacific octopus, clownfish, tangs, grouper, snapper, and garibaldi.

It’s a fun, informative, and exciting experience for all ages!

I would recommend allowing at least 1 hour to explore the Aquarium Adventure Exhibit and the Stingray Reef. Then reserve a full afternoon to head outside for the Games and Rides area, which features carnival-style games and amusement rides.

One of the most successful themed areas is the Sunken Temple. It is a series of rooms that are successfully evocative of ancient cultures from Central and South America. The first room is a long tank with an upward-curving panel that forms a half-tunnel inside. The fish inhabitants are a nice selection; porkfish, eyestripe surgeonfish, emperor snapper, blue tang, unicorn tang, sailfin tang, clown trigger, creole fish, naso tang, and golden puffer.

Several other non-fish exhibits are in the same room; wall terrariums for a blue poison dart frog, an Arowana, and prehensile-tailed skink, a small harpwire enclosure for a bird perch that rotates its residents between four parrot species, and a shelf tank for a polka-dot stingray.

There are several other non-aquatic exhibits in this area; a shelf tank for an electric eel and a small niche tank for lionfish and Foxface. The room also features a large reticulated python habitat that is surprisingly well-realized; this snake is over 23 feet long and 300 pounds.

A very good choice for a young visitor is the Discovery Zone, which is designed for a hands-on encounter with several types of snakes. The habitats are separated by floor-to-ceiling glass panels, and there’s a small rambling stone waterfall that serves as the centerpiece of this room.

The Sunken Temple is another successful themed area of several rooms that evokes ancient cultures from Central and South America. The largest of the habitats is a long tank with an upward curving tank that forms a half-tunnel, with a temple-like backdrop. The fish inhabitants are a fine selection; porkfish, eyestripe surgeonfish, blue tang, unicorn tang, flapper snappers, clown triggers, creole fish, naso tang, golden puffer, and Kemps Ridley sea turtle.

Other non-fish attractions are a small niche tank for an electric eel and 5 other terrariums. The temple-like surroundings are contrasted nicely with the bright fish residents, which makes this a very enjoyable and successful theme.

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