Though sea life might not be the first thing you think of when considering Texas, Lone Star State is home to some of the most impressive aquariums in the nation. Do you want to explore the fantastic world of marine life? If so, keep reading to check out the best aquariums in Texas.
The 11 Best Aquariums in Texas
Texas is a massive state full of a myriad of fun attractions. Depending on where you are in Texas, you likely have quite a few aquariums within an hour’s drive.
We split this list into four main areas to help you plan the perfect Texas tour. Discover these best aquariums in Texas on your next vacation!
Best Aquariums in East Texas
The shores of the Gulf of Mexico make the eastern side of the state an extraordinary place to experience marine life up close. That is why the east coast is home to some of the best aquariums in Texas.
Sea Center Texas
Lake Jackson, TX
Sea Center Texas is a free aquarium operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association.
Sea Center includes indoor aquaria and an outdoor boardwalk. You will discover the natural beauty of native Gulf Coast flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
Make a reservation for the hatchery tour. Explore marine hatcheries where red drum, spotted seatrout, and southern flounder are bred to enhance local fishing stock.
The Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve
This fully interactive best aquariums in Texas is a fantastic family adventure. Kids of all ages will enjoy learning about animals in hands-on exhibits.
The Houston Interactive Aquarium & Animal Preserve takes touch tanks to a new level. Swim with sharks, stingrays, and tropical fish in an Underwater Adventure with snorkeling or snuba experiences.
This animal preserve lets you interact with land animals too. You can encounter kangaroos, lemurs, sloths, otters, and snakes, an outdoor aviary, and a petting zoo.
Meet and greet with mermaids before relaxing (or bouncing!) in Lucky’s Hangout, complete with an arcade and snack shack. Before you leave, stop by the gift shop to pick up fluffy and cuddly souvenirs.
Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens is the ultimate vacation destination in eastern Texas. This non-profit resort is packed full of fun for the entire family!
This unique hotel lodge features three stately pyramids awaiting exploration. The Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens immerses you in the breathtaking beauty of marine life.
The 1.5 million gallon aquarium is swimming with life from all over the world. See creatures from the nearby Gulf of Mexico to the South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Caribbean Seas.
Encounter some of the cutest marine animals up close! You can go behind the scenes to feed the penguins and pet river otters for an additional fee.
After you finish at the Aquarium Pyramid, adventure through the Rainforest Pyramid and Discovery Pyramid. Plus, there is plenty of fun for adults at Moody Gardens.
Relax with 18 holes on the naturally landscaped golf course before grabbing dinner and drinks at one of the many on-site bars and restaurants. For a romantic evening, book a reservation for a dinner cruise aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. This is what makes Moody Gardens one of the best aquariums in Texas!
Best Aquariums in Dallas-Fort Worth
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is a bustling metropolis with every attraction you could dream of. Explore the best aquariums in Texas’s twin cities.
The Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium in Texas is a conservation-focused zoo located in historic Dallas. This educational attraction houses many threatened and endangered species.
The aquaria exhibits represent different ocean ecosystems around the world. Learn about our precious environment and how scientists work hard to preserve wildlife diversity.
A unique LED lighting system immerses you in a simulation of the tropical rainforest transitioning from day to night. Witness the natural behavior of diverse nocturnal and crepuscular animal species as they wake up and get moving once night falls.
Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park is the oldest public aquarium in Texas. Open since 1936, the Dallas Children’s Aquarium has long been an educational staple of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This immersive aquarium features six exhibit areas: the Freshwater Zone, Intertidal Zone, Shore Zone, Near Shore Zone, Offshore Zone, and Stingray Bay. Each exhibit highlights the fascinating marine animals that inhabit these ocean zones.
Stingray Bay is an interactive touch tank where visitors can feed and pet docile cownose rays. If your child loves ocean life, consider booking a private birthday party at the Dallas Children’s Aquarium.
SeaQuest Fort Worth
Fort Worth, TX
SeaQuest is a chain of interactive aquariums in Texas, Utah, Virginia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Jersey.
SeaQuest aquariums are attractions located in large malls across America. They are relatively small attractions, but you will love the unique animal encounters.
These locations focus on entertainment rather than conservation and education. Still, they can be a fun place to bring your kids when you visit the mall.
Best Aquarium in South Texas
Southern Texas is off the beaten path, but you can still find plenty to do here. There is only one aquarium on Texas’s southern coast, and it is well worth the visit. It might just be the best aquariums in Texas!
Texas State Aquarium
Corpus Christi, TX
Texas State Aquarium is on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite its name, this aquarium is a privately-funded, non-profit attraction unaffiliated with Texas State University.
Texas State Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Texas and the 11th largest in the United States. The 6.3-acre aquatic attraction features multiple aquaria, including two 400,000-gallon tanks.
Currently, this colossal aquarium in Texas has 16 exhibits open to the public. They focus on conservation and wildlife rehabilitation and explore the diverse wildlife native to the Gulf of Mexico.
View creatures from the Caribbean in the Caribbean Jungle and H-E-B Caribbean Sea enclosures. Other aquaria showcase life found in coral reefs, blue holes, underwater oil platforms, and swamps.
There is so much to see at one of the best aquariums in Texas! Get a close-up view of sea turtles, otters, sharks, rays, hawks, owls, eagles, and more local wildlife.
Texas State Aquarium is home to three Atlantic bottlenose dolphins: Shadow, Liko, Merlin, and Schooner. You can watch these intelligent marine mammals showcase their skills while learning more about how we can protect dolphins in the wild.
Best Aquariums in Central Texas
Central Texas is a lovely vacation destination with scenic attractions and exciting nightlife. You are sure to enjoy the best aquariums in Texas’s heartland.
Austin Aquarium is an interactive aquarium with lemurs, sloths, and reptiles alongside thousands of fish species. You and your family can feed octopus, stingray, sharks, tropical fish, turtles, alligator gar, catfish, tortoise, and more.
Austin Aquarium is owned by the same company that operates the many SeaQuest attractions nationwide. You’ll get the same hands-on experience at this aquarium in Texas!
San Antonio Aquarium
San Antonio, TX
San Antonio Aquarium is also a member of the SeaQuest family of aquariums. There are many interactive exhibits with different touch tanks and marine encounters.
You’ll have fun with the whole family holding lemurs and taking selfies with sloths. Plus, see sharks swimming and meet a mermaid in person!
Sea Life San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
Sea Life San Antonio is one of 53 global Sea Life aquariums. It features impressive varieties of fish and marine mammal species.
This aquarium in Texas has an ocean tunnel and fun touch tank exhibits. It’s directly next door to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, so consider purchasing a hopper pass to see both attractions on the same day!
SeaWorld San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
SeaWorld is a well-known oceanarium that features large exhibits housing marine mammals. Meet stunning killer whales, playful seals, and intelligent dolphins as they dazzle the stage with tricks and performances.
This is one of numerous SeaWorld theme parks across the nation. They are lovely places to have fun while educating children about our world’s crucial marine mammal species.
SeaWorld is classified as a theme park, but they have partnered with prominent conservation organizations in recent years.
SeaWorld San Antonio is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Visit the Best Aquariums in Texas!
Do you want to learn about marine life and see the incredible animals that inhabit our waters up close? If so, visit one of the best aquariums in Texas.
After you get your fill of all things watery, you will probably be hungry for more fun. Check out other great aquariums in other states!