Early on in the tour, I found this Roadtrippers article on 5 of the best US Aquariums. Since I love to take photos at aquariums, I had to check them all out. Here’s my ranking of the 5 aquariums.
John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL
This aquarium was a big miss for me. It’s on the small side and I found the exhibits to be lacking. The penguins WERE very friendly and the Beluga whales were playing with a trainer which was adorable. BUT it was not great for photo taking (glare from other exhibits, few jellyfish, sorry! I’m obsessed)
$39.95 adult admission
New England Aquarium in Boston, MA
The best part about this aquarium is the large penguin exhibit at the beginning of the aquarium and then it ends there. Sure, there are many levels of fish and other things to look up but as I was going up the spiral walkway, all I could think about was how great the penguins were and how boring the rest of the aquarium was. The New England Aquarium DOES have an amazing program that rescues sea turtles as well as their resident turtle, Myrtle.
$26.95 adult admission
Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA
Not only is the aquarium located in a cool city, it’s also in an old cannery building with gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. The aquarium has many areas including an adorable sea otter exhibit. You can also head outside to the decks to view humpback whales in the ocean.
$49.95 adult admission
National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD
I grew up in Maryland so I will admit that I’m biased about this one since I went many times growing up. But it is a fantastic aquarium and the National Aquarium just recently announced that it’s going to build the first dolphin sanctuary in North America: http://www.aqua.org/press/news/2016/16-06-14-dolphin-sanctuary.
The aquarium also has so many fantastic exhibits that just seem to go on and on. My favorite exhibit is their new-ish Australian immersive environment where you’re around tons of animals you’d only find there. The Tropical Rainforest is also a favorite where you get to experience the humidity, birds and frogs.
$39.95 adult admission
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA
This is hands down THE best aquarium I have ever been to. It was originally the largest aquarium in the world but has been surpassed by Singapore. Their largest tank holds 10 million gallons of water with fish, stingrays and even WHALE SHARKS. Standing in front of that huge pane of glass that’s barely separating you from what appears to be the ocean is incredible. Other notable features include the Ocean Voyager exhibit tunnel and all the jellyfish (and props to all the other great photo taking opportunities).
After taking in the aquarium, head just outside and you are at Centennial Park, World of Coca-Cola and a great part of downtown Atlanta.
$36.95 + tax for adult admission