Manatees in Florida – the Sunshine State’s gentle Grazers
- 24. September 2020
- Wildlife & Zoo
Manatees are as much a part of Florida as alligators, Miami Vice and Key Lime Pie. Nowhere else in…Read More
The Miami Seaquarium is one of the oldest aquariums in the USA. A lot has happened since its humble beginnings in 1955. Today the Seaquarium is home to more than 10.000 species – from tropical fish and corals to penguins and Florida’s manatees. Dolphins, sea lions and an orca lady entertain guests every day, and if you want, you can even step into the pool with your favorite animals. More than 500.000 visitors a year do not lie: Miami Seaquarium is one of the best places for family-friendly animal encounters in Florida.
The aquarium is situated on Virgina Key in Miami-Dade County. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. You only have to drive 10 minutes from Downtown Miami to get there.
Near the entrance flamingos are strutting in manmade wetlands, while a first highlight awaits little guests nearby: The Touch Pool houses aquatic inhabitants like cleaner fish, stingrays and bamboo sharks for the children to touch. All of them are harmless, of course.
The Tropical Fish Aquarium takes you on a journey through the coastal waters of the southern hemisphere, and the adjacent Reef Aquarium amazes with its gigantic, 750.000 gallon water tank – enough to fill 20.000 bathtubs. Here you can watch divers feed a variety of colorful fish. At Rescue a Reef, a project realized together with the University of Miami, a new man-made coral reef is being built under the eyes of visitors.
Situated at the heart of the Aquarium is the Dolphinarium. At the Dolphin Show, you can watch the playful animals perform their tricks – either from the ranks or through a glass window. Next door, the sea lions make for equally skilled entertainers, balancing balls in the Sea Lion and Seel Feeder Pool.
At the Manatee Exhibit, guests learn more about Florida’s iconic ocean grazers that are being treated medically at the Miami Seaquarium. The Aquarium also contains a sanctuary for injured sea turtles. Colorful parrots and other birds populate the Tropical Wings exhibit, while cute penguins from the Antarctic have found a home on Penguin Isle.
The Miami Seaquarium houses a true legend that is already 50 years old and weighs a whopping 3.5 tons: The Orca lady Lolita has been living here since the 1970s and still entertains visitors with her tricks twice a day.
The Miami Seaquarium has many more attractions to offer, among them:
Swimming with dolphins has a long tradition at the Miami Seaquarium – not only because the famous TV show Flipper was filmed here. For 219 USD you can climb into the pool with dolphins. The playful animals will let you pet them, give handshakes (or rather fin-shakes), smother you with kisses and always appreciate a treat in the form of delicious fish. Tailored to non-swimmers and small children is the Dolphin Encounter in shallow water for 159 USD. And if you want to dive deeper into the topic (quite literally), you should book the Trainer for a Day experience for 395 USD. Under watchful guidance you can train the dolphins for a whole day. Swimming with the animals is included, of course.
If cuddling with sea lions is on your bucket list, you should book the Seal Swim for 139 USD. Alternatively, greet your friends from the South Pole at the Penguin Encounter for 99 USD. Considerable money and effort went into the newest attraction Discovery Bay, a replica of Florida’s coast. For 70 USD you can wade through the shallow water and get close to stingrays and nurse sharks.
If you always wanted to go reef diving, why not fulfill this dream at the Star Trek Reef Encounter? Put on a diving bell and go for a walk among tropical corals and schools of colorful fish. This underwater activity will cost you 99 USD.
No visitor has to go hungry at the Miami Seaquarium. Culinary choices include a hotdog stand, a fast food restaurant serving French fries, wraps and chicken fingers, a snack bar with pretzels, a pizza place and a barbecue restaurant. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are shops selling ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy and slushies. For an ice cold cocktail you should visit the Parrot – Ice Cove.
Visitors who want to keep a memory of their perfect day at the Seaquarium can choose between 3 gift shops. The main one sells cute stuffed dolphins, t-shirts, mugs, sunglasses and home deco. More dolphin-themed souvenirs are available at the Dolphin Lobby Shop, and at the aptly named Penguin Shops everything revolves around penguin-themed gifts.
The Miami Seaquarium is open 365 days a year from 10 am to 6 pm. Last entry is at 4.30 pm.
The ticket costs 40 USD for adults, and 30 USD for children between 3 and 9 years. You can save money with the Smart Day Ticket for 30 USD (27 USD for children) between Monday and Wednesday. Even bigger bargains can be struck with coupons. On websites like couponokay.net, dontpayfull.com or retailmenot.com you will find discounts of up to 50%.
On the spookiest day of the year, the Miami Seaquarium attracts visitors with the Splash Halloween Bash. The event includes special shows, trick or treating for children and ticket discounts. During the regular Mommy and Me program parents and their children interact with the animals of the Seaquarium, enjoy child-friendly infotainment and participate in arts and crafts workshops. If you want to learn more about Florida’s iconic “sea cows” and how they live, you should visit during Manatee Awareness Month in November.
Thanks to Sunset Cove, a large event space with spectacular views of Miami’s Skyline, the Seaquarium is a popular place for private parties, weddings and corporate events.