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 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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