There’s nothing quite like going to an aquarium! It’s a fun trip for the whole family and gives you a glimpse into the side of the world you rarely see. From sharks to exotic fish to other sea life, you have the ability to see some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Plus, if you’re looking to bring that experience into your own home, you can check out one of NYC’s local fish stores. From the New York Aquarium to the Bronx Zoo, NYC is known for its fantastic aquatic exhibits. Let’s dive into where to find the best aquariums in NYC!
1. New York Aquarium
The oldest continually running aquarium in America, the New York Aquarium is widely considered the best aquarium in NYC. The facility was first established at Castle Gardens in Battery Park but later moved to Coney Island. Today it is located on the Riggleman Boardwalk and run by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The 14-acre facility is home to 266 species of fish and other aquatic specimens. It’s the biggest aquarium in New York and offers six main exhibits; the Aqua Theater, the PlayQuarium, the Conservation Hall, Sea Cliffs, Spineless, and Ocean Wonders: Sharks. The New York Aquarium is a fun day trip for families, and you can always stop by the Coney Island Boardwalk afterward!
The New York Aquarium is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm. During peak season, tickets are $29.95 for adults, $26.95 for seniors (65+), and $24.95 for children (3-12). Prices drop a bit in the off-season.
Where: 602 Surf Ave, Brooklyn
2. The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest and most famous zoos in America, encompassing over 265 acres of parkland and habitats. The facility is home to more than 17,000 mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, so you can see much more than just aquatic animals. The aquarium features regular exhibits and attractions that are great for adults and young kids alike.
The Bronx Zoo is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily and stays open until 5:30 pm on the weekends.
Where: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx
3. Prospect Park Zoo
Located off Flatbush Ave in the heart of Brooklyn, the Prospect Park Zoo is a 12-acre facility with more than 125 species of animals! It doesn’t feature as wide a range of exotic animals as the Bronx Zoo, but it’s a fun, walkable park that is great for families. One of its main attractions is the sea lion exhibit which is known to put on shows for spectators at certain times of the day. The Prospect Park Zoo is run by the Wildlife Conservation Center, which also runs the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium.
The Zoo is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily (Saturday and Sunday it’s open until 5:30 pm).
Where: 450 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn
4. Staten Island Zoo
The Staten Island Zoo is one of New York’s hidden gems and features a wide range of exhibits, including aquariums. The 8-acre zoo is located in the West New Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island. It has a collection of more than 1,500 animals spanning 350 different species. The zoo is best known for its reptile exhibits but also features exotic animals like spider monkeys, red kangaroos, and a bearded dragon. Visitors can also check out the exhibits on fish and amphibians and see why the Staten Island Zoo has been called the best aquarium in NYC.
The Staten Island Zoo is open daily from 10 am – 4:45 pm.
Where: 614 Broadway, Staten Island
5. Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a 6.5-acre zoo located in the heart of Manhattan’s Central Park. It’s another one of the facilities managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and offers children’s educational programs, rotating populations of endangered species, and community and volunteer programs. The Central Park Zoo features a central garden and sea lion exhibit as well as a polar circle with aquatic birds and animals. It’s also home to a 3D theater where families can watch interactive programming about animals and sea creatures.
The Central Park Zoo is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily and stays open until 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Where: E 64th Street, New York
6. The Queens Zoo
The last NYC zoo under the management of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Queens Zoo is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Corona, Queens. The facility features a wide variety of animals ranging from fish to fowl. Some of their notable attractions include sea lion feeding and a petting zoo for kids. It’s great for families and offers the best aquarium in NYC for those looking for something different.
The Queens Zoo is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily and stays open until 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Where: 53-51 111th St, Queens
7. Manhattan Aquariums
Maybe you’re not content with just viewing fish, but you also want to bring one home as a pet? Then head down to Manhattan Aquariums, one of the top aquarium stores in NYC. Located in Hudson Yards near the Javits Center, this unimposing storefront features a showroom with exotic fish, accessories, and aquarium equipment. It’s a highly rated fish store in NYC and offers servicing, maintenance, installation, and consultations on aquariums as well.
Manhattan Aquariums is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm and closed on Sunday and Monday.
Where: 522 W 37th Street, New York
8. Pacific Aquarium and Plant
Another one of the most popular aquarium stores in NYC is Pacific Aquarium and Plant on the Lower East Side. The store is a popular destination for exotic fish and man-made habitats that range from yellow boesemani rainbow fish to black widow frontosa. The store features a knowledgeable staff who are happy to provide recommendations on which fish and equipment to choose. Plus, they offer frequent sales and discounts to loyal customers. So, if you’re in the market for exotic fish, Pacific Aquarium and Pet is the place to go.
Pacific Aquarium and Plant is open from 10 am – 6 pm daily.
Where: 46 Delancey Street, New York
9. Monster Aquarium
Monster Aquarium is another great fish store in NYC and offers a great selection of exotic species. They specialize in freshwater fish and also offer pet supplies, tanks, and maintenance services. Located in the heart of downtown Flushing, the shop has been in operation for over 10 years and the staff knows everything there is to know about exotic fish.
Monster Aquarium is open daily from 10 am – 8 pm.
Where: 131-08 40th Rd, Queens
Cosmoaquarium is a small, yet accommodating aquarium and fish store in Jackson Heights, Queens. Located within the popular Roosevelt Shopping Center, Cosmoaquarium offers a wide selection of tropical fish and turtles. The bilingual staff is knowledgeable and professional and will go above and beyond to make sure you get the best service possible. In addition to fish and turtles, they also sell accessories, tanks, medicine, food, and other pet-related products.
Cosmoaquarium is open from 11 am – 9 pm daily. Prices vary greatly depending on the species and rarity of the fish.
Where: 84-02 Roosevelt Ave G, Floor 1, Queens in the Roosevelt Shopping Center
11. Aquarius Aquariums
Located in the heart of the prestigious Upper West Side, Aquarius Aquariums is a full-service aquarium sales, service, and maintenance business. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, the employees of Aquarius Aquariums are knowledgeable, attentive, and happy to answer any questions you may have. They offer a wide range of services from aquarium installation and maintenance to movie and TV show rental services. They are one of favorite spots for purchasing at-home aquariums in NYC! Plus, they serve clients all over the tri-state area, including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Aquarius Aquariums is open 24/7 and available for emergency service.
Where: 214 Riverside Drive #511, New York