This humble facility on the Key West waterfront offers a brand of family-friendly charm that pleases all visitors. Built between 1933 and 1935, the Key West Aquarium was one of the United States' first open air aquariums. For eight decades it has provided wholesome family entertainment and excellent educational opportunities for visitors to the town. Spend a few hours exploring the aquarium to discover tropical fish, hungry sharks and graceful turtles moving through a 50,000-gallon (190,000-liter) saltwater exhibit.
Join a guided tour of the aquarium to learn about the life cycles of some of the biggest fish in the sea. Watch as the highly trained staff hand-feed nurse sharks or get close to a juvenile. Observe feeding at one of the four scheduled meal times spread throughout the day. Children will love the opportunity to handle sea cucumbers and giant hermit crabs in the touch tank. Snap a photo of your loved ones as they hold the amazing creatures.
Make your way to Stingray Bay to meet more underwater friends. Watch as rays glide gracefully through the shallow water in front of you. Reach down to feed the placid creatures. Staff members are on hand at all times to walk you through the process. The cow nose rays have been de-barbed to prevent stings.
The Atlantic Shores exhibit is a great chance to learn about local marine life. See vividly colored fish darting through the tank alongside huge game fish, including tarpon and cobia. Watch the giant green sea turtles who also paddle through the living red mangrove ecosystem.
The Key West Aquarium is located at the northern end of the city center, along the waterfront adjacent to Mallory Square. Find plenty of pay-and-display off-street parking in the area. The aquarium is open daily and tours are offered four times a day. Check on the official website for times. Purchase tickets online for a small discount.