Aquariums and aquatic life around Times Square, NYC

Vibrant Times Square. This energetic and dynamic part of New York City with its shops, shows, and lights might seem like the farthest you could get from nature and the water, but this is not the case. Thankfully, with all that New York City has to offer, whether visitor or local resident, you don’t need to go too far to get away from it all and see aquatic life. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums, parks, and places to watch aquatic life around Times Square. 

Central Park Zoo

For over a century, Central Park Zoo has been one of the premier attractions for generations of New Yorkers to see and learn about the wonders of animals, land, and sea. Here, famous faces like the chinstrap penguin, king penguin, macaroni penguin, gentoo penguin, California sea lion, grizzly bear, and snow monkey reside in a series of habitats, some of New York’s most interesting and eccentric residents. The California sea lions here have regular feeding shows, and love to show off their smarts to the crowds. The four species of penguin and the tufted puffins also have regular feeding shows, with their lovable antics above water and below for all to see. 

Aside from these close-up looks, there is also a 4-D theater, where groups can experience nature programming and family films. For a family-friendly experience with some of the most iconic and important species in a fun set of activities, the Central Park Zoo is a great option. 

https://centralparkzoo.com

The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary

One of New York City’s most charming green spaces isn’t far, The Pond at Central Park and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary! These two connected features are the heart of Central Park’s southeastern edge, rich in hiking paths, enchanting streams, fields of flowers, birdwatching opportunities, and the colors of fall. Visiting aquatic fowl species enjoy The Pond, while hundreds of bird species (210 to be exact!) stop by this end of Central Park during their migrations. There are also resident populations of red-eared slider turtles, snapping turtles, rabbits, ducks, and woodchucks who can also be observed. Whether you want to see the waterfalls and streams, the leaves and flowers, or wildlife in a green corner of New York City, The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a great choice. 

https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/hallett-nature-sanctuary

The Mall and Literary Walk

The Mall and Literary Walk is the graceful highlight on this southern end of Central Park, a stroll down a path of verdant elms and the memories of famous authors. Literature enthusiasts, bird-watchers, people-watchers, and anyone looking for a slow stroll away from the action of the Big Apple will all enjoy the atmosphere at Literary Walk. Cardinals, blue jays, finches, wrens, tanagers, and countless other species of birds flit and pass through this tranquil, verdant community, a great stop for nature enthusiasts not sure where to turn to in New York. Sit for a while and pour over a favorite book, listen to an album, watch the birds (or people) passing through and just relax for a while here in The Mall and Literary Walk.

https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/the-mall-literary-walk

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Aquariums around Sacramento, CA

Whether a visiting tourist, returning home for friends and family, or a local looking for something to do, all will delight in the number of opportunities to experience aquatic life over the Sacramento area. Read on for some of our favorite aquarium experiences around the Sacramento area. 

Sacramento Zoo

While not specifically an aquarium, the Sacramento Zoo’s work towards providing the Sacramento community with education and introduction to a notable roster of animals land and sea names it the premier center for aquatic life in the area. Aquatic caecilians, American alligators, African spur-thighed tortoise, and the iconic North American river otter are just some of the famous faces visitors will see here. 

In addition, the exhibits that house them are just as impressive in detail and in their diversity, taking visitors through habitats the world over to learn more about the daily lives and backgrounds of these animals. Africa’s many biomes, the island of Madagascar, the jungles of Sumatra, and the local forests of Northern California and other locations are stops on the tour through these exhibits. Visitors can also book an appointment for a more immersive and personal experience to interact and learn about some of the species at the Sacramento Zoo. A one-on-one with a (baby) American alligator and a tour with the alligator keepers into the daily activities needed to care for them, a personal feeding and tour of the African spur-thighed tortoises day, helping care for a number of ‘Animal Ambassadors’, full-day and half-day classes for younger visitors and overnight stays are all opportunities regularly available for those visitors looking for a more unique memory. 

The Sacramento Zoo also has a number of dining and shopping options to cover those portions of any travel itinerary, as well as rides for more festive or slow-paced trips around the grounds. Of course, being a zoo we also couldn’t ignore the land animals of the Sacramento Zoo, including the chimpanzee, African cheetah, snow leopard, African lion, jaguar, red kangaroo, red panda, ball python, and grevy’s zebra. For groups of all interests and ages who want an experience exploring species of all backgrounds in various ways, the Sacramento Zoo is an addition more than worthy to any plans. 

SeaQuest Folsom

At SeaQuest Folsom, the variety of memorable hands-on experiences is an accessible and truly unique way for visitors of all ages to learn about the wonders and intricacies of aquatic life. Here, a number of coastal sharks, stingrays species, Asian small-clawed otters, and doctor fish are in a series of interactive exhibits, along with other tropical sea species. Visitors can feed friendly cownose stingrays, ‘feed’ (play) Asian small-clawed otters, receive a relaxing doctor fish pedicure, or for the more adventurous, snorkel with the stingrays! In addition to these, visitors can also keep an eye out for the regular events, Q&A sessions, and a chance to see the staff of the aquarium at work caring for the many eccentric residents of SeaQuest Folsom. 

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Aquariums around Salt Lake City

Off of the shore of Great Salt Lake, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and some 730 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Salt Lake City might not be the first place one would look for a stunning diversity of aquatic life, yet this is indeed the case. Blessed in dazzling natural beauty, rich tradition, and a number of outdoor activities, a number of institutions are dedicated to the education and conservation of aquatic life also call Salt Lake City home. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums around this Crossroads of the West. 

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium has inspired countless visitors since its birth at the turn of the millennium, with 550 species represented by over 4500 animals in more than 2.2 million liters of water. Some of the more iconic species that reside here at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium include the giant isopod, Japanese spider crab, North American river otter, Asian small-clawed otter, electric eel, dwarf caiman, loggerhead sea turtle, nurse shark, upside-down jelly, giant Pacific octopus and gentoo penguin. These and so many more reside in a series of immersive exhibits and habitats that transport visitors through the otherworldly aquatic environments of the world, from Utah’s waters to the Southeast Asian Jungle, Amazonian Rainforest, Deep Pacific, and the alien Subantarctic islands. In addition to these exhibits and animals, there are also a number of regular events throughout the year and available by appointments such as in-depth classes and after-hour visits, for those visitors who are looking for more variety in their aquarium plans.

Utah’s Hogle Zoo

While not specifically an aquarium, Utah’s Hogle Zoo has served the curiosities, imaginations, and hearts of Utahns for generations, nearing a century of operation. Today it has grown to an organization of over 800 animals among 249 species, land and aquatic. Some of the famous faces here at Utah’s Hogle Zoo include the California sea lion, harbor seal, river otter, and the mighty polar bear. 

Tour a number of exhibits that take visitors into the lives and habitats of these animals, from the cold extremes of the arctic, the vast African Savannah, and the Asian Highlands. A number of regular events and opportunities to get a more hands-on encounter caring for and learning about the animals of Utah’s Hogle Zoo are also available, including helping care for the Sea Lions/Harbour Seals, Watching an edutaining show of some of the smaller species, or the brilliant feats of the elephant. 

SeaQuest Utah

SeaQuest Utah is a great option for travelers who want an experience with aquatic animals centered around interaction and personal connections. Here, visitors can meet (or play with) Asian small-clawed otters, receive a refreshing doctor fish pedicure, or most notably, swim in a colorful tropical community of stingrays, coastal sharks, and numerous tropical fish! For a memorable collection of hands-on, individual experiences, come to SeaQuest Utah.

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Aquariums around San Francisco, CA

San Francisco. Between its unique, varied neighborhoods, never-ending events, and unique proximity to a number of inspiring landscapes, this city seems to have a bit of everything. Thankfully, this is also true for a stunning number of aquatic life, native to the Bay Area and from around the world, resident in a number of aquariums. Whether you’re a tourist drafting a travel itinerary, visiting family and friends, or just looking for something to do around home, read on for some of our favorite aquariums around San Francisco.

Aquarium of the Bay

Located at vibrant and historic Pier 39, the Aquarium of the Bay is a great attraction to see the wonders and intricacies of aquatic life, local and exotic. Over 20,000 animals live in some 2.9 million liters of water, including famous faces such as the garibaldi, green moray eel, rockfish, giant Pacific octopus, leopard shark, bat ray, seven-gill shark, and the river otter. These species and more reside in an immersive series of exhibits, including the ‘Discover The Bay’ gallery, showcasing the native diversity of San Francisco Bay’s aquatic wildlife, the enchanting ‘Go With The Flow’ gallery with over 1400 gallons of dazzling jellyfish and the series of tunnels in the ‘Under the Bay’ gallery giving visitors a literal walk through the waters of the bay. Aside from these great exhibits, there are also a number of touch-oops where visitors can feel tidal aquatic life, observe the conservation efforts of the Aquarium of the Bay at the Bay Lab, and watch the adorable river otters and their lovable antics at the ‘River Otters’ gallery. 

Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences

Located in lush Golden Gate Park, the Steinhart Aquarium is a corner of the California Academy of Sciences that transports visitors in an educational journey across the aquatic biomes of the world, feeding curiosities and imaginations of generations. Tour the Coast of the Golden State, the Amazonian Rainforest, a Philippine Coral Reef, the Swamps of the Southeast, a mysterious Mesophotic reef among other settings in a series of tunnels, imposing tanks, and open gardens. Some of the aquatic icons you might see here include the weedy seadragon, paddlefish, African penguin, cowfish, blue-spotted ribbontail ray, and the American alligator. 

https://www.calacademy.org/exhibits/steinhart-aquarium

San Francisco Zoo and Gardens

While not specifically an aquarium, the attention the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens has devoted towards the conservation and education surrounding aquatic species earns it a spot on our list (It’s also gorgeous). Magellanic penguins, North American river otters, Nile hippopotamus, and the giant water bug are just some of those that you’ll meet here, among a larger cast of land and sea animals. Aside from the animals, the gardens and displays of flora from California to the notably rare provide visitors with a tranquil space to step away from the action (or the perfect place to spend an afternoon, if you’re a botany enthusiast). Groups of all interests and ages will enjoy the exhibits of land and sea at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens. 

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Aquariums around Seattle, WA

Seattle. A hub of technology, commerce, the arts, and nature in this emerald corner of the nation numbering over four million. Visitors, those making the trip to see family and friends and locals alike will delight in the diversity of aquatic life around Puget Sound and in the institutions of the Seattle area. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums around Seattle.

Seattle Aquarium

Among icons such as Pike Place Market, The Seattle Great Wheel, and Waterfront Park along scenic Elliott Bay is a building with more than its own weight in famous faces, the Seattle Aquarium! Since 1977, the Seattle Aquarium has inspired generations with a series of immersive exhibits showcasing the flora and fauna of Washington’s waters and the Pacific. Some of these more famous residents at the Seattle Aquarium include the giant Pacific octopus, moon jellyfish, cowfish, harbor seals, sea and river otters, wolf eel and the revered salmon. The highlight of the Seattle Aquarium’s exhibits, however, is the Underwater Dome, a step into a 360-degree view of a 400,000-gallon tank, a chance to enter another side of Seattle.

https://www.seattleaquarium.org

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

In neighboring Tacoma is a one-of-a-kind spectacle, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the only combined zoo and aquarium of its kind in the region. Over 9,000 animals from 367 species reside here in a series of exhibits that takes visitors over the Pacific; from the Northwest, up through the Arctic down to the green heart of Southeast Asia, and into the warm waters of the South Seas. Some of the aquatic iconic species here include hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, Asian small-clawed otters, sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks, California sea lions, and the mighty polar bears. Also of note are the efforts of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium gardens, an enchanting display of verdant life native to the Pacific Northwest and of exotic biomes from the world over. 

MaST Center Aquarium

South of Highland College in the quiet area of Federal Way and Des Moines is MaST Center Aquarium, a great way for visitors with a more intense interest in conservation to get involved in a memorable and impactful way. Here at MaST Center Aquarium, there is as much of an emphasis on the education and protection of the surrounding environment as there is on its beauty. Visitors can see local species such as the Chinook salmon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and blood star, and participate directly in a variety of conservation efforts such as helping maintain the aquarium, operate underwater cameras, researching the local sea slugs, and helping stranded Marine mammals.

Woodland Park Zoo

While not specifically an aquarium, the award-winning Woodland Park Zoo and its attention to aquatic species earn it a solid spot on our list. Chilean flamingos, hippopotami, red-footed tortoises, greater one-horned rhinoceros and the eccentric Humboldt penguins are all here for the public to meet. We recommend a look into the daily activities of the resident penguins and the ingenious engineering that went into the sustainable technologies that sustain their habitat.

https://www.zoo.org

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Aquariums around Raleigh, NC

Visitors to Raleigh, those returning home to visit friends and family, and local residents alike will delight in the wealth of aquatic life inside Raleigh’s institutions and throughout the surrounding waters, here in the heart of North Carolina. Read on for some of our favorite aquarium and aquatic life experiences around The City of Oaks.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and its intriguing exhibits have fed the curiosities and imaginations of North Carolinians for over 140 years, covering a wide variety of topics and sciences. The world of aquatic life is one of these topics, with a collection of exhibits showcasing North Carolina’s natural beauty, from the Appalachians down to the Outer Banks. This includes preserved specimens and live animals, such as seahorses, common snapping turtles, eastern box turtles, Cape Fear shiners, and grey tree frogs. 

Visitors can tour the state from the Barrier Islands to the Coastal Reefs, up through the lowlands, and to the mountain streams of North Carolina, in an educative journey through the biomes of North Carolina. In addition, there are also displays of North Carolina’s native insect life, a charming garden, and a resident two-toed sloth! Visitors who are more interested in veterinary sciences and the behind-the-scenes of the museum can also watch scientists at work, and locals can even volunteer to help! For an educational and relaxed visit to North Carolina’s native flora and fauna, come to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. 

https://naturalsciences.org

William B. Umstead State Park

The tranquil and verdant world of North Carolina’s wilderness is just a fifteen-minute drive from downtown, here at the William B. Umstead State Park. Here, North Carolinians have returned these grounds to nature, and the end result is an enchanting mix of rising trees and vegetation reclaiming a once inhabited area, a unique historical touch. The more outdoorsy inhabitants of North Carolina have since moved in, including populations of belted kingfishers, great blue herons, beavers, raccoons, and deer. With the introduction of non-native plant and reptile species, there is so much to see at William B. Umstead State Park, and what better way to get to see North Carolina’s native wildlife than in their natural habitat? 

https://www.ncparks.gov/william-b-umstead-state-park/home

Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve

A twenty-minute drive from downtown Raleigh is Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve, a famously fickle portion of North Carolina’s wilderness with notable events occurring year-round for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts alike. In the early year, vernal pools give a rare glance into the inland stays of a variety of native frogs and amphibians such as spring peepers and upland chorus frogs, in full display (and song!) during this precarious season. Muskrat, beavers, and a number of aquatic species also thrive here in this dense habitat, and during migrations, scores of bird species pass through. Combined with the relatively small size and proximity to neighboring Cary, Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve is as accessible and calming as it is convenient. For a glimpse of North Carolina’s dynamic flora and fauna without having to go far, come to Swift Creek Bluffs Nature Preserve.

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Aquariums around Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix. One of the nation’s largest cities, infamously the sunny (and toasty) Valley of the Sun, this Southwestern metropolis might not be the first place to one would look to find a world of aquatic life, but thankfully that is the case. Blessed in rich topography and an exploding population, it would seem humans are far from the only ones to come to Phoenix in large numbers, as a resident population of aquatic animals from all over the world has also settled here in a number of institutions. Whether you are a visiting tourist, returning home for friends and family, or a local looking for something to do, read on for some of our favorite aquariums in the Phoenix area. 

OdySea Aquarium

Our first entry to the list must be the premier attraction, OdySea Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Southwest! Over 6,000 animals represent more than 370 species in a dazzling number of exhibits, diverse in their populations as they are in the environments they represent and most notably, in their layouts. Visitors travel the world’s oceans in a series of immersive and interactive exhibits, including the Deep Ocean Escalator, Rotating OdySea Voyager, (the only revolving aquarium in the world), and the notable SEA TREK experience.

SEA LIFE Arizona

The colorful SEA LIFE Arizona exhibit is a great option for families and visitors wanting to make the most of a single visit, with a variety of exhibits that inspire and entertain the imaginations of visitors of all ages. Here, icons such as the zebra shark, southern ray, green sea turtle and the bamboo shark reside among other species. The highlight exhibit, however, is the 360-degree Ocean Tunnel, putting you in the center of the action, a walk through a colorful tropical sea community of exotic flora and fauna. 

https://www.visitsealife.com/arizona/

Wildlife World Zoo

On the western side of Phoenix’s metro is another unique attraction- the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park. Indeed, while this may not specifically be an aquarium, the Wildlife World Zoo’s attention to aquatic animals cannot go ignored, for its scope and depth of coverage. Visitors looking for a true variety of experiences with aquatic animals and more will enjoy the Wildlife World Zoo. Here, Nile crocodile, alligator snapper turtles, arapaima, giant Pacific octopus, and Asian small-clawed otter are only some of the famous faces resident. However, the stars of the show here are undoubtedly the sea lions, with their eccentric antics for all to see.

Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo’s roster also is worth a spot on our list, combining a mission of education and conservation with animals from land and sea. Families of stingrays, the Aldabra tortoise, and the majestic Asian elephant have their presence with visitors and have graced the Phoenix community for generations. Also of note here are the number of hands-on experiences, feedings, and Q&A sessions, as well as the number of tours at different speeds, with safari experiences and calm strolls all available. 

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Aquariums around Philadelphia, PA

Whether you’re a tourist drawing up travel plans, visiting friends and family and looking for an event, or just a local who is always up for an adventure, look no further than the diversity of aquatic life around Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a city blessed in nature and a number of aquatic animals and habitats inside its institutions and around its borders. Read on for some of our favorite aquarium experiences around Philadelphia.

Adventure Aquarium

Just over the Delaware River in Philadelphia’s premier center for aquatic life, the aptly-named Adventure Aquarium! Over 15,000 animals reside in more than 7.6 million liters of water, in a series of exhibits and experiences that transport visitors over some of our planet’s most enchanting environments. Some of the notable species visitors can see here include the African penguin, Atlantic blacktip shark, axolotl, giant grouper, hammerhead shark, giant Pacific octopus, Nile hippopotamus, and cownose stingray. These aquatic celebrities and more live in their own dedicated exhibits, from the Hippo Haven, Penguin Park, Piranha Falls, Sea Turtle Cove, Shark Realm, and the famous views of the Shark Tunnel. In addition, there is also a number of exhibits encompassing larger biomes for a variety of age groups, Ocean Realm and Little Blue Beach being two of these. 

The Adventure Aquarium also affords visitors opportunities for hands-on, individual learning experiences as part of its vision to serve the Philadelphia community as it serves aquatic species across the world. A series of touch tanks are a great way to get a personal introduction to species of stingrays, tidal animals, and smaller shark species. Those who want a more daring experience can also brave the shark bridge, an exhilarating walk over the shark tank!

True to its name, the Adventure Aquarium also offers a range of even more personal and in-depth experiences by appointment, representing a variety of options for visitors of all interests. Those who quite literally want to be immersed in the action have the chance to don a wetsuit and swim through a vibrant community of sandbar sharks, sand tiger sharks, and stingrays. Fans of specific species can also reserve their chance with the mighty hippo, eccentric African penguins, loggerhead sea turtle, or a number of ambassador species. These visits also include a hands-on part in learning about the care and daily lives of these animals, and a tour with aquarium staff to answer any questions. Visitors more interested in the workings of the aquarium itself can also book a behind-the-scenes tour, to learn more about the everyday feats needed to provide for the many inhabitants of the Adventure Aquarium. 

Besides these experiences and exhibits, the Adventure Aquarium also offers a number of fun dining and shopping options and welcomes groups of all sizes. Also of note is the rotating list of events, regular and limited time that bring visitors and locals alike back to the Adventure Aquarium. 


https://www.adventureaquarium.com

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Aquariums and Aquatic Life Around Penn Station, NYC

Penn Station. At this dynamic hub of New York City and all of its action, there seems to be nothing you can’t find nearby. Thankfully, this is also the case for nature, the green spaces and animals reserved their own tranquil spots here in the Big Apple. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums, parks, and places to watch aquatic life around Penn Station. 

Central Park Zoo

For over a century, Central Park Zoo has been one of the premier attractions for generations of New Yorkers to see and learn about the wonders of animals, land, and sea. Here, famous faces like the chinstrap penguin, king penguin, macaroni penguin, gentoo penguin, California sea lion, grizzly bear, and snow monkey reside in a series of habitats, some of New York’s most interesting and eccentric residents. The California sea lions here have regular feeding shows, and love to show off their smarts to the crowds. The four species of penguin and the tufted puffins also have regular feeding shows, with their lovable antics above water and below for all to see. 

Aside from these close-up looks, there is also a 4-D theater, where groups can experience nature programming and family films. For a family-friendly experience with some of the most iconic and important species in a fun set of activities, the Central Park Zoo is a great option. 

https://centralparkzoo.com

The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary

One of New York City’s most charming green spaces isn’t far, The Pond at Central Park and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary! These two connected features are the heart of Central Park’s southeastern edge, rich in hiking paths, enchanting streams, fields of flowers, birdwatching opportunities, and the colors of fall. Visiting aquatic fowl species enjoy The Pond, while hundreds of bird species (210 to be exact!) stop by this end of Central Park during their migrations. There are also resident populations of red-eared slider turtles, snapping turtles, rabbits, ducks, and woodchucks who can also be observed. Whether you want to see the waterfalls and streams, the leaves and flowers, or wildlife in a green corner of New York City, The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a great choice. 

https://www.centralparknyc.org/locations/hallett-nature-sanctuary

Madison Square Park

Famously urban and vibrant Madison Square Park seems like an unlikely addition to our list, but we have a good reason. Its combination of public events, proximity to the creative arts and shopping options, and the noteworthy diversity of bird species make it a truly varied location. In fact, in the trees above the open spaces of Madison Square Park, over 112 species have been spotted passing through, including the Canada goose, rock dove, cedar waxwing, American goldfinch, grey catbird, and the chipping sparrow. For over a century, New York City’s birdwatchers have diligently logged and watched birds of all origin make their urban stop during migratory journeys right here at Madison Square Park. Aside from the abundance of birds to watch, Madison Square Park also lends itself well to the alternate hobby of people-watching, drawing people from every walk of life to share the space of Madison Square Park. 

https://madisonsquarepark.org

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Aquariums around Portland, OR

Portland. A quietly proud and burgeoning group of over 2.5 million, this northwestern hub continues to lead in its famously bold counterculture, local arts scene, rose cultivation, and aquatic life. Indeed, visitors, those returning to friends and family, and resident Portlanders alike will delight in the wealth of aquatic life in Portland’s waters and in its premier institutions. Read on for our favorite aquarium and aquatic wildlife experiences here in the City of Roses. 

Oregon Zoo

Portland, and by extension Oregon’s premier attraction for the appreciation and education of wildlife is the Oregon Zoo, inspiring generations for 133 years and counting. Over 1,800 animals represent 232 species, from the Northwest and from the world over. Some of the famous aquatic animals that reside here at the Oregon Zoo include the African lungfish, African slender-snouted crocodile, Asian elephant (well, the ones here love the water), African spurred tortoise, American beaver, harbor seal, Humboldt penguin, lesser flamingo, Pacific lamprey, polar bear, river otter, southern sea otter, and the venerated coho salmon. These icons and more reside in a series of exhibits that take visitors through the myriad habitats of the Northwest, African Northwest, African Savannah, and the Arctic. 

In addition to the exhibits and animals, there are also regular events throughout the year to add a bit of variety to any travel plans, and the charming Washington Park & Zoo Railway, which provides transportation to nearby Hoyt Arboretum, the World Forestry Center, and the International Rose Test Garden. 

https://www.oregonzoo.org

Killin Wetlands Nature Park

Step into a more ancient Oregon, into the peat, marshes, and gentle hills of Killin Wetlands Nature Park. Just a thirty-minute drive from the world of downtown Portland, visitors can see all that wild Oregon has to offer. Roosevelt elk parties and their processions, bald eagles and their nests, beavers, beaver dams, and river otters can all be observed in their natural habitat. In addition, birdwatchers will relish in the abundance of species, as Killin Wetlands Nature Park is designated by the Audubon Society of Portland as an Important Bird Area, and is an integral part of the larger Willamette Valley Birding Trail. 

https://www.oregonmetro.gov/parks/killin-wetlands-nature-park

Fernhill Wetlands

A slightly longer drive out of Downtown Portland at under 40 minutes, the Fernhill Wetlands is more than worth the trip, with a notable cast of the common yellowthroat, osprey, great blue heron, American white pelican, bald eagles, and the introduction of nutria. Beavers, river otters, and a number of fishes, reptiles, and amphibians also thrive here, and the wetlands also provide a great opportunity to enjoy the local flora of Oregon’s interior. The treatment facility is also worth a visit for those interested in conservation and civil engineering, a formidable project that treats five million gallons of water from the surrounding communities. For a detailed look into a side of conservation and the marvels of modern technology combined with the serenity of Oregon’s wild side, come to the Fernhill Wetlands.

https://fernhillnts.org

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