15 Largest Aquariums in the US [Update 2021]

The ocean life is always mysterious. The extraordinary marine mammals and striking fishes – glimpse into the life under the sea. It is full of energy that still needs to explore and to know more about other species. An aquarium can give you an overview of the mystical ocean and gather knowledge about the species.

The United States is the home of some renowned aquariums known for their size, and they will show you the life of marine life and tidbits of knowledge about rescue, conservation and research, and much more.



List of Largest Aquariums in the US

Let’s explore the largest aquariums in the US and see how the ocean lives thrive through them:

1. Georgia Aquarium, Georgia

Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the US, located in downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park. It was opened in 2005. 

The total area is 555,000 square feet—water in the sum of ten million gallons in both salt and fresh water. There are 700 different types of marine animals. The numbers are staggering, but they begin to give you an impression of the country’s most giant aquarium, which is host to the world’s largest fish: whale sharks. They’re the aquarium’s main attraction, along with a supporting cast of 60,000 or so other animals that live in the 6.3-meter-long Ocean Voyager.



The giant tank in this facility holds 6.3 million gallons of water In the Ocean Voyager exhibit. Along with various sharks and whales, there is a permanent enclosed pool for dolphins’ water shows, consisting of dolphins tricks and synchronized swimming. 

2. The Seas with Nemo and Friends (Walt Disney World), Florida

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Aquarium was formerly known as the Living Seas. It was opened in 1986 by Walt Disney.

The giant tank can hold 5.7 million gallons of water. Disney reconstructed the interior and exterior to synchronize it with their animation hit Finding Nemo. There are nearly 8,500 fish, and marine mammals live there. It is now known as the largest indoor aquarium. 



3. Shedd Aquarium, Illinois

The Shedd is the third largest aquarium in the US which is very well known for the buildings’ architectural beauty. The building itself is established in 1927 with a 45,00 sqft skylight in the dome, topped by a Neptune’s trident. The aquarium opened in 1930. 

The aquarium holds several permanent exhibits. There are 1500 species of fishes and marine mammals; 32000 creatures live in the tanks. The main tank holds about 5 million gallons of water which highlight a variety of sharks. The second-largest tanks have marine mammals around a two million gallon tank, known as Abbot Oceanarium. 

4. National Aquarium, Maryland

With the largest tanks capacity of 1.3 million gallons, the National Aquarium is the fourth-largest aquarium in the US. It is formerly known as Baltimore Aquarium. It was opened in 1981 in Baltimore near the ocean. 



In the Pier 4 Pavillion, the largest tanks mainly exhibit Bottlenose dolphins. The exhibition also included the region’s coral life and sharks. There are more than 17,00 fishes, and marine mammals resided in the aquarium. 

5. Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

Opened in 1994, Monetary Bay Aquarium has a mystical vibe to it. It is the fifth-largest aquarium, constructed on the site of an old sardine cannery. The surrounded rocky coastline was integrated as an aquarium site that blurs the exhibit and natural habitat line. 

The giant tanks hold 1.3 million gallons of water, with three other tanks and 200 exhibits. The exhibition is mainly focused on the local coastal ecosystem, and the largest tank resides in the Open Sea Wing. More than 35000 species are living in the aquarium for exhibits. 

6. Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut

The sixth-largest aquarium in the US is also an oceanographic institute. Mystic Aquarium was opened in 1973 as a privately owned exhibition that later changes into an institution for exploration in 1999. With their combined resources, they manage to install the giant tank of 760000-gallons, mainly for the Arctic Coast exhibit. The star of this exhibition is Beluga whales and rescued harbour seals.

The other exhibition includes animal feeding observations, penguin habitat and, of course, dinosaur study. The critical factor is that it has a 4-D theater that holds Titanic at deep-sea in submarine exploration up close. 

7. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Tennessee

The Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg opened as one of the three aquariums in 2000. It is the seventh-largest aquariums in the US which had more than 15 million visitors, and the most popular attraction in Gatlinburg. 

More than 100000 exotic sea creatures are exhibited with numerous exhibition like Tropical Rain Forest, Shark Lagoon, Touch a Ray Bay, the Coral Lagoon, Stingray Bay, Penguin Playhouse, and much more. The exhibition varies from freshwater to seawater. 

In the Tropical Rain Forest, you can see freshwater fishes and other species like piranhas, Poison Dart frogs, Green Iguana, and so on.

On the other hand, the Ocean realm will feature amazing and exotic creatures around the world, such as sea horses, scorpionfish, jellyfish, spotted garden eels, flounder and much more.The Shark Lagoon is another wonder in the exhibition hall. The 340-foot underwater tunnel helps you experience a variety of sharks and other species.  

8. Tennessee Aquarium, Tennessee

Opened in 1992, The eighth-largest aquarium in the US is Tennessee Aquarium, a non-profit facility holding a total of 1.1 million gallons of water. It has two sets of the exhibition – Ocean Journey and River Journey with 12000 marine life.

OCEAN JOURNEY mainly features the largest tank holding 680000 gallons of water. This exhibition has sharks and whales explicitly in a 10-story building where views can go through the spiral staircases to experience sea life at many different depths. 

On the other hand RIVER JOURNEY, mainly focuses on the freshwater animal life in a 400000 gallons tank. 

This aquarium also focuses on repopulating the turtle population and rescue them from hunters. 

9. Florida Aquarium, Florida

The ninth-largest aquarium is a kid-friendly aquarium situated in Tempa. It was established in 1995 as a privately run facility later transfer ownership to the government of Tempa due to bankruptcy. The facility exhibits coral reef community recreated in their largest tank of 500000 gallons. It also has a play area for kids and shark, which attracted patrons more than ever. Every day there are nearly 7000 marine lives exhibited. It also partnered with local fisheries and businesses to preserve seafood as a food source.

10. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Louisiana

New Orleans-based aquatic exhibition is run by a preservationist organization, the Audubon Institute. It is the tenth-largest aquarium in the US since its establishment in 1990. 

The Gulf of Mexico Exhibit is the largest exhibition with a mission to educate people on the ecosystem. The tank is 400000 gallons and features stingrays, sharks and other large sea animals found in the Gulf of Mexico. There are 10000 marine mammals, and fishes resided in the aquarium.The Caribbean reef exhibition featured in another large tank to show the coastal life of many islands. The aquarium was shut down temporarily because of Hurricane Catrina, which damaged the life support system and killed a lot of animals. 

11. Texas State Aquarium, Texas

As a non-profit aquarium, Texas State Aquarium is the eleventh largest aquarium in the US. The giant tank is 400000-gallons and works as a rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1995 it has been recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

It has 15 exhibitions, including Coral Reef, Blue Hole, Dolphin Bay, Eagle Pass, etc. 

The most prominent tanks of 400000-gallons hold the Caribbean Sea exhibit sandbar sharks in the replica shipwreck. It has many species of both the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

12. Newport Aquarium, Kentucky

Located at the Kentucky, Newport Aquarium is the twelfth largest aquarium which has 70 exhibits, 14 galleries that include five seamless acrylic tunnels over 61 m in length. The enormous tank holds 385,000 gallons of water. 

The aquarium manages to breed shark rays. It also features a collection of alligators, including albino alligators. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums acknowledges the aquarium. The Aquariums shows many outreach programs. Mobile Shark Cart, Wave Program is notable among them. The exhibitions include Gator Alley, Amazon, Shark Central, Kroger Penguin Palooza, and much more, as well as a unique Shark Ray breeding Program – the first of its kind. It also has some seasonal events like Mermaid’s Cove and Scuba Santa. 

13. New York Aquarium, New York

One of the oldest operating aquariums is New York Aquarium, the thirteenth largest aquarium in the US. It was first opened in 1896 and moved from Manhattan to Coney Island in 1957. Wildlife Conservation Society operates this aquarium because of its Bronx zoo. The main motto of this zoo is to save the vast world wildlife with conservation action, education, inspiring people and above all, through science. 

It has 266 aquatic wildlife species. From 2018 the aquarium features five exhibits – Aquatheater; Rays & Turtles; Sea Cliffs; Conservation Hall; Sharks, and Ocean Wonders: Sharks. The largest tank holds 379000 gallons of water.

14. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, North Carolina

Located in Kure Beach, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, the fourteenth-largest aquarium. It has another two sister aquariums that combine and name North Carolina Aquariums. The giant tank holds 235000-gallons of water, in which hard-bottomed coral reefs are mainly exhibited. 

The aquariums primarily work to educate people about the Cape Fear region. Cape Fear Observatory consists of many floors; among them, the first floor is for freshwater life, which includes American alligators, frogs, snakes, bass, catfish, and much more. It is also remarkable for its exhibitions on venomous snakes – rattlesnakes, copper hands, and cottonmouths. 

The Coastal Waters Gallery may take you to the mystical life of sea animals like sea urchin, horseshoe crabs, whelks. Cape Fear is the largest saltwater exhibition among the aquariums. It mainly features Indo-Pacific native marine species. 

15. Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon

 In 1992, Oregon Coast Aquarium was built after Newport businessmen proposed it. Flora and fauna indigenous to the Oregon Coast are included in the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s set. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has granted the aquarium certification. There are four permanent displays in the main building – Sandy Shores, Rocky Shores, Coastal Waters, and changing exhibit area.

Sandy Shore features invertebrates and fish that lives close to the shore. Moving Next, Rocky Shore exhibit animals further offshore, ending in a kelp forest and sea jelly. Some temporary exhibitions include “Swampland”, “Turtles”, Claws, Oddwater, and so on.

Passage of the Deep, Seabird Aviary is the most famous exhibition in the aquariums. The giant tank holds up to 235,000- gallons of water. The Seabird Aviary Exhibition is the largest in North America, which is home to many rare birds. 

Jacques Cousteau once said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”. A glimpse of that mystery of the sea can be seen through the aquarium. People like to conquer this mystery by gather knowledge of the ocean. Aquarium can give us some knowledge of the sea if you have time to visit the aquariums to know the wonder of the sea.

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