Far inland on the Northern Mississippi in the Nation’s Upper Midwest, the Twin Cities might be an unusual place to find a stunning diversity of aquatic life……but thankfully this is the case! Visitors and locals alike will delight in the variety of aquarium options throughout the Twin Cities area. Read on for some of our favorite selections of aquariums and aquatic life experiences around Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Sea Life at Mall of America
Inside the mammoth installation that is the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere, is an accompanying aquarium that matches it in scope and scale. Sea Life at Mall of America is 1.3 million US gallons and over 10,000 animals are a breathtaking addition to any travel itinerary. See iconic species such as the sand tiger shark, green sawfish, loggerhead sea turtle, piranha, alligator gar, Caiman crocodile, scrawled boxfish, porcupinefish, and seahorses.
Exhibits take visitors through an immersive and interactive tour of the famous aquatic ecosystems of the world in a series of pools, tunnels, and enchanting tanks from the tidal zone of the Pacific Northwest, to the tropical homeland of the cownose ray, the colorful coral reef neighborhood of clownfish and the Amazon. A variety of group, family, and individual experiences are available for visitors of all ages and interests to get a closer look at the aquarium and its workings, including feeding, petting, behind-the-scenes tours, Q&A sessions, and self-guided tours.
In the quaint neighborhood of Roseville is this end of the Twin Cities’ own aquatic animal attraction, with a distinct value on putting YOU in the action! Here at SeaQuest Roseville, visitors who seek a more personal experience with a cast of lovable aquatic animals can snorkel with a stingray family, feed (or more so play) with Asian otters, receive a doctor fish pedicure, or do it all! SeaQuest is a great centrally located option for travelers who want a memorable, hands-on visit with aquatic animals.
While not specifically an aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo’s attention to the care and education of aquatic animals earns a more-than-merited spot on our list. Famous faces such as the West African dwarf crocodile, southern stingray, seahorse, sea otter, sand tiger shark, leopard shark, Hawaiian monk seal, and African penguin are just some of the water-loving celebrities visitors can see here. Exhibits travel the world to give visitors a look into the diverse habitats that belong to these species, including the tropical rainforests and tidal regions of our lower latitudes, Russia’s Far East, and the rocky southern coast of Africa.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a true triple threat, with charming architecture, beautiful gardens, and a wealth of sea animals. Puffins, African penguins, harbor seals, grey seals, Galapagos tortoises, and the mighty polar bear flourish here along with a larger list of aquatic and land animals. Aside from the animals, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has a number of rides, dining options, and quiet spaces to provide visitors with a range of experiences.
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