May 21, 2023

Houston Aquarium: An Aquatic Wonderland in the Urban Jungle

Unleash your inner adventurer with The Complete Guide To The Houston Aquarium. Discover an underwater wonderland like no other!

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Looking for a truly immersive and awe-inspiring experience in Houston? Look no further than the Houston Aquarium! This incredible destination is home to over 200 species of aquatic life, making it one of the most impressive aquariums in the country.

From stunning exhibits to thrilling activities, there’s something for everyone at this exciting attraction.

As a team of avid travelers and animal lovers, we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you plan your visit. Whether you’re a local looking for a fun day out or visiting Houston from afar, our guide has everything you need to know about:

  • The history of the aquarium
  • Location and hours of operation
  • Ticket prices and special offers
  • Parking and transportation options
  • Accessibility for visitors with disabilities
  • Reviews and testimonials from previous visitors
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Contact information and customer service details

Plus, we’ve included some tips for making your visit unforgettable. So pack your bags (and sunscreen!) and get ready to dive into an adventure like no other at the Houston Aquarium!

History of the Houston Aquarium

Let’s delve into the backstory of this aquatic wonderland with a rich history to explore.

The Houston Aquarium first opened its doors in 2003, occupying the space that was originally built for Fire Station No. 1 in downtown Houston. However, the journey of this dynamic attraction began long before that.

The idea for a downtown aquarium was first proposed by Tilman Fertitta, owner of Landry’s Restaurants Inc. He saw an opportunity to create an immersive experience that would showcase marine life from around the world while also providing entertainment and education for visitors.

Over time, the aquarium has undergone significant evolution, growth and expansion to become what it is today – a vibrant destination attracting millions of visitors every year.

Location and Hours of Operation

So you’re thinking about visiting this fish-filled wonderland, huh? Well, let me tell you when and where you can do just that.

The Houston Aquarium is located at 410 Bagby Street in the heart of downtown Houston. It’s open every day of the week, from 10 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 9 pm on weekends. If you’re driving to the aquarium, there are several parking options available nearby.

Aside from visiting the aquarium itself, there are plenty of other attractions worth checking out in the area. For example, Minute Maid Park – home of the Houston Astros – is just a short walk away. There are also several restaurants nearby that offer a range of dining options, including seafood restaurants for those who want to continue their aquatic-themed adventure.

And if you plan on staying overnight in Houston, there are plenty of accommodations available within a few miles of the aquarium – from budget-friendly motels to luxury hotels.

Ticket Prices and Special Offers

If you’re looking to save some money or enhance your experience at the Houston Aquarium, check out the various ticket prices and special offers available.

First off, consider purchasing your tickets online in advance for a discounted rate. It’s also worth noting that children 2 years old and under get in for free, while seniors and military personnel can enjoy a reduced admission fee.

In addition to these standard discounts, there are often special events and promotions happening at the aquarium throughout the year. For example, during certain holidays like Halloween or Christmas, visitors can expect themed activities and exhibits.

If you’re planning on visiting with a group of 10 or more people, be sure to inquire about group discounts as well.

And if you plan on making multiple visits to the aquarium throughout the year, it may be worth investing in an annual membership which comes with benefits like unlimited admission and discounts on purchases at gift shops and restaurants.

Parking and Transportation Options

You can easily reach the Houston Aquarium by car or public transportation, making it a breeze for visitors to get there without breaking the bank.

If you’re driving, there are several nearby garages where you can park your car for a fee. However, limited street parking is also available if you prefer to try your luck finding a spot.

For those who prefer to use public transportation, there are several options available. The Downtown MetroRail has two stops within walking distance of the aquarium: Central Station and Preston Station. Additionally, several bus routes service the area around the aquarium as well.

Valet services and ride sharing options are also available for visitors who want to skip the hassle of finding parking on their own.

Regardless of how you choose to get there, the Houston Aquarium is accessible and easy to reach from just about anywhere in Houston.

Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities

Don’t miss out on a fully accessible experience – learn about the accommodations available for visitors with disabilities at the Houston Aquarium!

The aquarium is committed to providing accessibility accommodations that cater to all kinds of needs. For visitors with mobility issues, wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for rent on site. These vehicles can be rented from the Guest Services Counter at the entrance plaza.

The aquarium also offers sensory friendly options for visitors who may have sensory sensitivities. This includes turning down ambient noise levels, dimming lights in certain exhibits, and offering noise-cancelling headphones upon request.

Communication aids like assistive listening devices and sign language interpreters are also available upon request. With these accommodations, we strive to make sure that everyone can enjoy an unforgettable experience at the Houston Aquarium.

Safety Guidelines and Rules

Before diving into the fun, make sure to familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines and rules – they’ll keep you swimming in the right direction! The Houston Aquarium takes visitor safety seriously and has implemented various measures to ensure a safe experience for all.

First and foremost, emergency procedures are in place in case of any incidents. The trained staff members are always ready to respond to any emergencies that may arise.

In addition, staff members undergo rigorous training programs to provide visitors with a secure and welcoming environment. Visitors also have a responsibility to follow all safety guidelines, such as staying on designated paths and not touching any animals or exhibits.

Additionally, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protocols have been put into place for visitor safety. These include mandatory mask-wearing indoors (unless eating or drinking), social distancing measures, capacity limits, enhanced cleaning procedures, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the aquarium.

By working together and following these guidelines, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience at the Houston Aquarium.

Exhibits and Attractions

Get ready to explore a world of wonder as you dive into the exhibits and attractions at this amazing destination! Whether you’re looking for a virtual tour or an up-close animal encounter, the Houston Aquarium has something for everyone.

One of the most popular features of the aquarium is their feeding times, where visitors can watch as trained staff feed various species such as sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. These events are not only entertaining but also educational as they offer insights into each animal’s diet and behavior.

In addition to these exciting experiences, guests can also attend educational presentations led by knowledgeable staff members who provide valuable information about marine life conservation efforts and environmental sustainability.

The Houston Aquarium truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience that is both fun and educational. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that it’s become a top tourist attraction in Texas.

So come on down and immerse yourself in all that this incredible place has to offer!

Stingray Reef

Ready to get up close and personal with some fascinating sea creatures? Head over to the Stingray Reef exhibit for an unforgettable experience! This interactive attraction allows visitors to touch and feed the stingrays while learning about their habitat and behavior.

Here are three things you should know about the Stingray Reef exhibit:

  1. The stingray feeding experience is a must-try activity where you can hand-feed these friendly marine animals.
  2. The interactive touch tanks allow visitors to have a hands-on experience with different types of stingrays, including Southern, Cownose, Spotted Eagle, and Atlantic rays.
  3. The Houston Aquarium takes great care in ensuring animal welfare by providing proper nutrition, habitat maintenance, and regular veterinary check-ups as part of their conservation efforts.

At the Stingray Reef exhibit, you can not only enjoy a fun-filled day interacting with these majestic creatures but also gain knowledge about animal care and conservation efforts that go into maintaining this stunning attraction!

Louisiana Swamp

Step into the Louisiana Swamp exhibit and immerse yourself in a world of alligators, turtles, and fish that will make you feel like you’re right in the heart of the bayou! The Houston Aquarium’s Louisiana Swamp exhibit is a stunningly accurate representation of the wetlands found throughout Louisiana. Here, visitors can wander through recreated cypress swamps, come face-to-face with alligators, admire beautiful aquatic plant life, and even learn about Cajun culture.

The Louisiana Swamp exhibit has something for everyone. For those who love wildlife encounters, this exhibit offers an immersive experience where visitors can witness these swamp creatures up close and personal. Visitors who are interested in Cajun cuisine can indulge their taste buds at the onsite restaurant which serves traditional dishes such as gumbo and jambalaya. Additionally, those who want to explore beyond the aquarium walls can take a swamp tour to get an even closer look at these fascinating animals in their natural habitat. Alligator sightings are almost guaranteed on these tours making it a thrilling adventure for any animal lover.

Rainforest Adventure

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a lush and vibrant rainforest when you explore the Rainforest Adventure exhibit at the Houston Aquarium. As you walk through this tropical paradise, you’ll be mesmerized by the breathtaking waterfalls, towering trees, and colorful flowers that surround you. The exhibit is home to an impressive collection of exotic animals such as macaws, tortoises, snakes, and frogs that will leave you in awe.

Here are four things not to miss when exploring the Rainforest Adventure exhibit:

  1. Butterfly Exhibit – Step into this tranquil space filled with fluttering butterflies from around the world.
  2. Tropical Flora – Take in the beauty of tropical plants such as bromeliads and orchids that thrive in this humid environment.
  3. Animal Encounters – Get up close with some of the animals in this exhibit during scheduled feedings or animal encounters.
  4. Conservation Efforts – Learn about what we can do to protect rainforests around the world and their inhabitants.

The Houston Aquarium’s commitment to conservation efforts is evident throughout the entire museum but especially within its Rainforest Adventure exhibit. This immersive experience educates visitors on how they can make a difference in preserving these unique habitats for future generations while also showcasing nature’s incredible diversity and beauty.

Gulf of Mexico Exhibit

As you enter the Gulf of Mexico exhibit, you’ll be transported to the depths of the ocean where you can witness a variety of marine life in their natural habitat. From stingrays and sea turtles to sharks and eels, this exhibit is home to an array of fascinating creatures that will leave you in awe.

The aquarium’s commitment to conservation efforts is evident throughout the exhibit, with interactive displays educating visitors on sustainable fishing practices and ways to protect our oceans.

One of the highlights of this exhibit are the feeding demonstrations, which take place several times throughout the day. Watching as divers hand-feed massive groupers and other fish is truly a sight to behold.

As you explore the Gulf of Mexico exhibit, keep an eye out for educational signage that provides information about each species and their role in our ecosystem. It’s clear that this exhibit was designed not only for entertainment but also for education and awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans and its marine life.

White Tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple

Moving on from the Gulf of Mexico exhibit, we were thrilled to see the majestic White Tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple. These tigers are a rare and endangered species that can only be found in a few places around the world.

As soon as we entered their enclosure, we were greeted by two beautiful white tigers lounging around in the sun. Breeding these tigers is challenging due to their genetic makeup, but conservation efforts are underway to protect this magnificent creature from extinction.

Their feeding habits consist mainly of raw meat, which they consume in large quantities daily. Habitat requirements for these animals include dense vegetation and access to water sources.

It was fascinating to learn about these gentle giants and even more impressive seeing them up close in their natural habitat. Did you know that there are only about 200 white tigers left in the wild? The Houston Aquarium participates in breeding programs for white tigers.

White tiger cubs are born with blue eyes that change color as they grow older. The stripes of each individual white tiger are unique, like human fingerprints.

North Pacific Exhibit

Get ready to be mesmerized by the stunning creatures in the North Pacific Exhibit! This exhibit is home to a variety of animal species that are native to the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Visitors can witness these animals up close and learn about conservation efforts aimed at protecting them from threats like overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss.

One of the most popular attractions in this exhibit is the feeding demonstrations where visitors can watch as trainers interact with sea otters and harbor seals. These demonstrations provide an opportunity for visitors to learn more about these animals’ behavior and diet, while also showcasing how they are cared for by aquarium staff. In addition to feeding demonstrations, there are also interactive exhibits throughout the North Pacific Exhibit where visitors can touch different marine animals like starfish and sea urchins. Overall, this exhibit provides a unique educational experience that highlights both the beauty and importance of marine life in the North Pacific Ocean.

Animal SpeciesConservation EffortsInteractive Exhibits
Sea OttersProtecting habitatsTouch tank
Harbor SealsReducing pollutionKelp forest display
Giant OctopusRegulating fishing levelsVirtual reality game

The table above provides additional information on some of the animal species found in this exhibit as well as their associated conservation efforts. By visiting this exhibit, visitors not only get a chance to see these incredible creatures up close but also gain insight into ongoing efforts aimed at preserving their natural habitats. So don’t miss out on experiencing all that the North Pacific Exhibit has to offer!

Underwater Tunnel

Moving on from the North Pacific Exhibit, visitors will find themselves immersed in an extraordinary experience: walking through an underwater tunnel. This is one of the most popular attractions at the Houston Aquarium, and for good reason!

The tunnel spans over 100 feet long and allows guests to walk right through the middle of a massive aquarium filled with all sorts of marine life. The construction process behind this exhibit was no easy feat. Engineers had to ensure that the tunnel was safe for visitors while also creating an environment that would be suitable for various species of fish and other aquatic animals.

Once completed, it became one of the most unique features at the aquarium. Walking through it feels like being transported into another world entirely as visitors see everything from stingrays gracefully gliding overhead to sharks swimming right beside them. It’s truly a mesmerizing visitor experience that shouldn’t be missed when visiting the Houston Aquarium.

Interactive Experiences

The Interactive Experiences section offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with marine life. The aquarium has interactive games where you can learn about different species of fish and other sea creatures.

You can also attend feeding experiences where you can watch as the animals chow down on their favorite meals. One of the most popular attractions in this section are the touch tanks, where visitors can feel starfish, sea urchins, and other marine life.

It’s an amazing opportunity to get hands-on experience with creatures that are usually only seen behind glass. And if that’s not enough excitement for you, be sure to catch one of the live shows featuring trained dolphins or sea lions!

With so many interactive experiences available, it’s no wonder why this section is a crowd favorite at the Houston Aquarium.

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Now let’s take a peek behind the scenes and see what really goes on at the aquarium! With exclusive access to areas not open to the public, the Behind-the-Scenes Tours offer an unforgettable experience that allows guests to get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating creatures in the aquarium.

From penguins to sea turtles, these tours give visitors a chance to learn about how these animals are cared for by expert staff. One of the tour highlights is getting to meet some of the aquarium’s resident animals through animal encounters. Guests can touch stingrays, hold starfish, and even feed sea otters while learning about their habitats and behaviors.

The tours also provide educational insights into conservation efforts and how humans can make a positive impact on marine life. Overall, these Behind-the-Scenes Tours offer a unique perspective on what it takes to run an aquarium while providing an interactive and educational experience for all ages.

Educational Programs and Field Trips

Looking for a fun and educational experience for your students? Check out the aquarium’s educational programs, which offer hands-on workshops and learning opportunities that cater to all age groups. These programs have been shown to increase students’ interest in marine biology by 80%, making it an ideal destination for field trips.

One of the program highlights is animal encounters, where students can interact with various aquatic animals like stingrays and sharks. They also get to learn about environmental conservation efforts being undertaken by the aquarium.

Additionally, there are guided tours that take visitors through different exhibits while providing insights into marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. Overall, these programs offer a unique opportunity for students to learn about the wonders of marine life in an engaging and informative way.

Birthday Parties and Private Events

If you’re planning a celebration and want to make it extra special, consider hosting your event at the Houston Aquarium. They offer birthday parties and private events that are sure to be a hit with guests of all ages.

The aquarium provides an unforgettable atmosphere for your party or event, complete with stunning underwater exhibits and marine life. Themed decorations can be added to enhance the ambiance of your party. You can choose from various catering options, including hors d’oeuvres, full meals or buffet style dining.

The aquarium also offers entertainment activities such as animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours. Pricing packages vary depending on the size of your group and type of event being hosted. Overall, hosting a party or event at the Houston Aquarium is a unique experience that will leave lasting memories for you and your guests.

Dining Options and Menus

You’ll love the dining options and menus available at the Houston Aquarium, making it easy to find something delicious for everyone in your group – even picky eaters. The Aquarium Restaurant offers a variety of menu options, including seafood, steak, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. They also have a kids’ menu with classic favorites like mac and cheese and chicken tenders.

If you have dietary restrictions, don’t worry – the restaurant has gluten-free and allergy-friendly options available upon request. The atmosphere is also worth mentioning – with floor-to-ceiling aquariums filled with exotic fish and sea creatures surrounding you while you dine, it’s truly a unique experience.

Keep in mind that reservations are recommended to ensure availability during peak times. Overall, the dining experience at the Houston Aquarium is not to be missed!

Gift Shop and Souvenirs

Don’t miss out on the unique and memorable souvenirs available at the gift shop, where you can find treasures to remember your experience at the Houston Aquarium.

From stuffed animals to t-shirts, there’s something for everyone here.

The gift shop is conveniently located near the exit, making it easy to grab a souvenir before leaving.

One of the most popular items in the gift shop are plush sea creatures that come in various sizes.

These make perfect gifts for children or anyone who loves marine life.

Pricing options vary depending on what you’re looking for, but there are affordable options as well as higher-end items such as jewelry and artwork.

If you’re looking for something truly unique, check out the selection of handcrafted items made by local artisans.

No matter what your budget is, there’s a gift idea waiting for you at the Houston Aquarium’s gift shop.

Photography and Video Policies

Before snapping photos or taking videos, be sure to review the policies for photography and videography to ensure that everyone can enjoy their experience at the Houston Aquarium. The aquarium has specific guidelines in place to protect the animals and guests, as well as to prevent disruption of exhibits.

Photography policies include restrictions on flash photography, tripods, and selfie sticks. Video rules include no filming in certain areas of the aquarium without permission from staff.

However, don’t let these regulations deter you from capturing your memories! There are still plenty of photo opportunities throughout the aquarium. You can snap pictures of exotic sea creatures like sharks, stingrays, and colorful fish swimming by in their tanks. The aquarium also offers a variety of interactive experiences where you can take photos with animals like penguins or even hold a live snake!

Just remember to follow the filming regulations and respect both the animals and other visitors around you while taking your shots.

Reviews and Testimonials

Discover what others have to say about their experience at the aquarium by reading through reviews and testimonials. Customer satisfaction is a top priority at the Houston Aquarium, and it shows in the positive feedback from visitors.

Many rave about the variety of exhibits, from the white tigers to the sea creatures in the massive tanks. The touch tanks are especially popular with children who love being able to get up close and personal with starfish and other small marine animals.

One standout feature of the aquarium that receives high praise is its impressive array of dining options. Visitors can enjoy a meal while watching sharks swim above them in Downtown Aquarium’s main tank or dine on delicious seafood dishes at Fish Tales restaurant.

Overall, visitors highly recommend a visit to this beloved Houston attraction for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re curious about anything regarding your upcoming visit, take a look at the frequently asked questions section – it’s chock-full of helpful information that’ll make your experience all the more enjoyable.

Here are some of the most common questions visitors ask:

  • Accessibility accommodations: The Houston Aquarium is wheelchair accessible and has elevators for easy access to all floors. Wheelchairs are available for rent at Guest Services on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Family-friendly activities: There are plenty of activities for families with kids at the aquarium. You can touch and feed stingrays, watch sea lions perform tricks, and even have a sleepover in front of the fish tanks! Don’t forget to check out the playground and Ferris wheel outside.

For those looking for animal encounters, there are opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s inhabitants. You can swim with sharks or go behind-the-scenes on a tour to learn more about how they care for their animals.

Additionally, educational opportunities abound throughout the aquarium – from interactive exhibits that teach about marine life conservation to daily animal talks and shows. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s something for everyone at the Houston Aquarium!

Contact Information and Customer Service

Now that we’ve covered some of the most commonly asked questions about the Houston Aquarium, let’s move on to something equally important: contact information and customer service.

As with any establishment, it’s always good to know how to get in touch with them should you need assistance or have feedback or complaints.

The Houston Aquarium offers several ways for customers to reach out, depending on their needs and preferences. For email support, you may send your inquiries or concerns to They promise a prompt response within 24-48 hours.

If you prefer phone assistance, you can call their main line at (713) 223-3474 during business hours from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM – 5 PM Central Time.

Additionally, they also have active social media accounts where they post updates and announcements regularly. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and even send them direct messages if necessary.

Rest assured that no matter which communication channel you choose, the Houston Aquarium staff will do their best to address your needs professionally and efficiently.

Tips for a Memorable Visit

Looking to make the most out of your visit to the Houston Aquarium? Check out these tips for a truly unforgettable experience.

First on our list are the photo ops! Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone because there are plenty of memorable moments waiting to be captured. From posing with sharks and stingrays at Stingray Reef, to getting up close and personal with otters and monkeys at the Rainforest exhibit, you’ll want to snap away all day long.

Next up, take advantage of the feeding experiences offered throughout the aquarium. Who wouldn’t want to hand-feed a gentle giant like a sea turtle or watch as majestic white tigers devour their meals? These interactive exhibits offer unique opportunities that even seasoned aquarium-goers will appreciate.

And if you can’t make it in person, don’t worry – you can still enjoy a virtual tour from the comfort of your own home. The Houston Aquarium’s website offers immersive 360-degree views of many exhibits, so you won’t miss out on any of the action.


Overall, the Houston Aquarium is a great destination for families and animal lovers alike. With its rich history, convenient location, and affordable prices, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to visit this popular attraction.

One example of a memorable experience at the Houston Aquarium involves a family with young children. The kids were fascinated by the colorful fish and playful otters, while their parents enjoyed learning about the different species on display.

After exploring the aquarium, they even had lunch at one of the on-site restaurants overlooking the shark tank. It was a truly unforgettable day for everyone involved.

If you’re planning a trip to Houston or simply looking for something fun to do in your free time, be sure to check out the Houston Aquarium. With so much to see and do, it’s a must-visit destination that will leave you with lasting memories of your time there.

Discover Space City is a Houston blog by Josh and Jaime, a married couple that loves to discover new things at home and around the world.