One of the most popular attractions on Long Island, New York (less than 90 minutes from Manhattan), the Long Island Aquarium is home to 565 species and over 5,000 individual animals. The aquarium opened in 2000 and has expanded across three acres with over 100 indoor and outdoor exhibits and 48 aquatic habitats. Some of the most popular attractions include one of the largest all living coral reef displays in the Western Hemisphere, the Penguin Encounter, a 120,000 gallon shark tank, and shows featuring sea lions, African penguins, and Marmosets. The entire aquarium is designed to recreate the Lost City of Atlantis, and little children will LOVE all of the hidden spots and tunnels to crawl through and explore throughout the exhibit spaces.
10 Ways to Have Fun at the Long Island Aquarium:
- Touch three different species of stingrays (and white spotted bamboo sharksin the 8,000 gallon Ray Bay tank.
- (Attempt to) Count the species of fish in the 20,000 galloon coral reef tank. Make sure to read the placards that showcase the various species and background information on the fishes. Hint: the total is close to 800!
- Try to get a butterfly to land on you while searching for the Atlas moth, one of the largest in the world, in the Butterfly, Bugs, and Birds Exhibit. There are over 40 species, and over 800 butterflies, in the exhibit each week. Note: The exhibit space opens at 11am.
- Look down into the 120,000 gallon shark tank that is home to several varieties of sharks. Guests 12+ years or older can also sign up for a Shark Dive and spend a weekend morning IN the shark tank!
- Walk through the Interactive Salt Marsh, located alongside the Peconic River, that represents marine habitats usually found in estuaries. Guided walks through the marsh allow guests to get up close to horseshoe crabs and whelks! Note: the Marsh is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and guests must be 42.5 inches or taller
- Watch the koi fish, Japan’s national fish that can live over 50 years, feed in the pond.
- Get up close to two North American River otters (Jelly and her son, Stark), who LOVE to swim along the glass walls of their pools and dive down the nine foot waterfall.
- Search for the Japanese Snow Monkeys (who love to hide up top) and various pythons, green Aracari, and tegus in the Reptile Ruins exhibit.
- Attend a California sea lion show in the Sea Lion Coliseum. Learn how the sea lions are trained to learn many cues. Shows typically run 20 minutes.
- Learn about how the aquarium rescues sea life in the NY Marine Rescue Center.
Bonus: Climb to the top of the 40 foot, 5 level Eye Opener gym. Note: An additional fee applies.
Disclosure: My family was given a media pass to explore the Long Island Aquarium; all opinions expressed are my own.