The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is a family-friendly attraction where you can touch sharks and stingrays, visit penguins, watch sea horses swim and learn how a toucan eats. The aquarium is home to nearly 2,500 animals from more than 450 different species. There are four main exhibits: Ocean Explorer, Journey to South America, Discover Utah and Antarctic Adventure.
Go straight to the touch pool at the Ocean Explorer exhibit to stroke a small leopard shark or stingray. Then make your way to the 300,000-gallon (1,136,000-liter) shark tank. It holds 28 different sharks, stingrays, a green moray eel and more. The tank also holds a 40-pound (18-kilogram) green sea turtle. The rescued turtle was bitten by a shark and hit by a boat before being brought to her new home at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium.
The Journey to South America gallery features a 14-foot (4-meter) anaconda, piranhas, caimans, electric eels and tree frogs. There is also a toucan aviary, river stingrays and the Giants tank, where you’ll find arowana, pacu, giant catfish and a 5-foot (1.5-meter) arapaima.
Have an Antarctic Adventure with the Gentoo penguins that can swim up to 17 miles (27 kilometers) per hour. Get up-close to the tuxedoed birds as part of a Penguin Encounter. This 45-minute program is run by marine biologists and held every day except Wednesdays. Book in advance and note that tickets aren’t included in the aquarium entrance price.
Learn about local aquatic environments at the Discover Utah gallery. The resident river otters often steal the show as they play, juggle pebbles and slide around in their new indoor/outdoor enclosure.
The aquarium’s café serves snacks and the gift shop sells everything from books and clothing to art supplies and science kits.
The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is located in Sandy Draper, a 20-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City. Free parking is available on-site. Interactive animal encounters at Living Planet are an extra cost on top of admission. The aquarium also runs educational programs for schools and the public. Workshops and special events are held throughout the year. Check the aquarium’s official website for details. The aquarium is open daily, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving.