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A Day at Houston's Downtown Aquarium

At Houston's downtown aquarium

Lots of thrills, both real...

Watch out for sharks!

...and imagined!


The Downtown Aquarium in Houston Texas is more than just an aquarium. Plan on getting there early, and spending at least two or three hours covering the expansive seven acres and all of the incredible exhibits and activities.

Begin by taking the Shark Voyage aboard the C.P. Huntington Train that tours the entire property. Part of the tour is a stop in the center of a 200,000 gallon shark tank where you can watch a variety of sharks swimming literally all around you. Remember Jaws? You leave with a new appreciation for 5 inch thick acrylic, to say the least.

And in case swimming with the sharks isn't's suddenly announced that one of their sharks has gotten loose and we need to be on the look out as we travel through the park. Going over one of the bridges, water splashes up into the air, and a huge mechanical shark leaps out of the water seemingly towards you!

Nothing like a little adrenaline rush ...

But that's just the beginning. The Aquarium Adventure Exhibit is also amazing. There are over 400 species to watch and learn about. Explore the Rainforest and learn about poisonous dart frogs that are no bigger than a half dollar yet pack enough punch to kill an average adult in seconds. Take a walk through a Louisiana Swamp but watch out for those gators! Step into the Discovery Rig and touch a stingray, or see what shark eggs look like in the shark nursery.

downtown aquarium restaurant
A restaurant with a view.

Coral, the white tiger
Step up and meet
Coral, the white tiger.

A special featured attraction includes the white tigers in Maharaja's Temple. Coral is one of four tigers that live in the aquarium. She was born in 2003 and is feisty as can be. Watching her interact with Josh, one of the employees, is impressive. They even play peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek together! Coral and Josh are definitely the most amazing part of the exhibit. Before leaving, have the kids' faces painted so they look just like Coral...

Meanwhile, dining at the Aquarium Restaurant is a must.

In the center of the spiral stairway is a cylindrical aquarium that - according to our waiter - goes from floor to ceiling and is the biggest in the United States. There is a variety of foods and desserts to choose from as well as a children's menu. While waiting for your food to arrive enjoy the 150,000 gallon aquarium that the tables are situated around. The restaurant staff is wonderful and very attentive. If you have any questions about the fish in the aquarium just ask them. Our waiter, Mark, told us about the Goliath Grouper, which grows to be 800 pounds!

If you and the kids still have energy to burn, there are still things to do outside the actual aquarium building. Downtown Houston is beautiful, especially from the top of the Diving Bell Ferris Wheel. This fantastic ride goes 100 feet into the air during the day and night! Make sure to bring your camera to capture the great view.

Ever wanted to ride on the back of a dolphin or an alligator? Now you can on the aquatic themed carousel. Not enough action for you? Try riding the Lighthouse Dive. This carnival ride is 20 feet high and is sure to get your heart pumping.

Looking for a souvenir? Try your hand at one of the carnival games to win a prize to take home. If that doesn't work there's always the Treasure Chest Gift Shop.

With all of the things to see and do in Houston, the Downtown Aquarium is definitely one of the top ten. It may be called an aquarium but it is a mini carnival for the whole family to enjoy!

also see -> Top Texas Beaches | Austin Tourist Attractions

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