We are blessed to live in Florida where we are surrounded by water, beaches, and all the amazing sea life within. Rarely do we get to glimpse that sea life first hand, lucky for us we are also home to The Florida Aquarium where we can witness the wonder of God’s creation from tiny, delicate sea horses to giant Goliath groupers. We always have an amazing time when we visit the aquarium and if you haven’t made a trip there you are missing out!
The Florida Aquarium is located in Downtown Tampa in Channelside so it is pretty convenient to a lot of central Florida. I love this massive display outdoors, it’s a pretty great photo opp if you can get your subjects looking at the same time!
The aquarium is divided up into exhibits that mainly showcase the aquatic animals and the ecosystems around them but also reaches out throughout the world to show more exotic creatures like Lemurs and Hissing Cockroaches in Madagascar. As a homeschooling mom I love the fact that it celebrates and displays what is native to us.
It is hard to believe you are indoors when you encounter native freshwater creatures like alligators, river otter, massive boa constrictors, and as well as a tangled system of tree roots and plants that make up their home.
Bays and Beaches
If you peeked beneath the surface of Florida beaches this is a an example of what you would see, and we were able to get up very close and personal as you can see.
This exhibit feels almost as if you were dropped right down into the ocean but you get stay dry. Here you can also opt for extras like a swim with the fish or diving with the sharks. We walked through a large curved tank where you are surrounded on 3 sides by sharks, coral, sea turtles, fish, and other amazing views of the depths. A massive tank creates an unbelievable “theater”
Interactive Touch Experiences- It’s hard for little ones to look but not touch, this area allows them to do just that! Pet a stingray, run your fingers over the horseshoe crabs shell, and feel the smooth but slimy texture of a sea cucumber in the No Bones Zone.
Horseshoe Crab Lagoon
No Bones Zone
Right outside the No Bone Zone kids can also climb in and around some giant shells to burn off a little energy, another great photo spot here.
This area contains a lot of motion, color, lights, and unusual creatures like glowing jellyfish, Spider Crabs, and Mantis Shrimp.
Finally before you leave make sure you stop by the gift shop for postcards, adorable plush, t shirts, and a lot more. Feeling hungry? Sit down in Cafe Ray for lunch.
After you spend half a day inside the aquarium step outside to the Water Fun Zone to let the kids run, splash, and play in the outdoor water splash pad. It is a great way to let them cool off, you can put up your feet and watch from nearby with a cold drink from the Cantina Bar and Grill.
The Florida Aquarium is a fantastic, must see field trip for Florida Homeschoolers!
Here are some more field trip destinations we have covered in the area