Florida Aquarium is known by many Floridians and tourists as the Tampa Aquarium.
It is ranked in the top 10 aquariums in the United States by TripAdvisor and is ranked among the top 5 "Kid-Friendly Aquariums" by Parents Magazine.
It is located in the heart of Tampa in a modern 200,000 square foot air conditioned building.
The aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The aquarium concentrates on teaching the visitor about the ecosystems of Florida and the rest of the world. The facility is more than an aquarium; it is also a botanical garden and aviary.
The aquarium has a creative way of telling about Florida's water resources and shows what happens to a single drop of water from it's underground sources in the aquifers as it meanders its long way to the ocean.
The water story begins by showing birds and alligators and other animals in a Florida wetland. It then leads the visitor through the bays and beaches of Florida with its more than 20,000 plants and animals.
The aquarium also has interactive programs that teach about coral reefs, including "Swim With The Fishes", for non-certified divers, and "Dive With The Sharks" for certified divers.
In these programs a visitor can come eyeball to eyeball with a giant grouper or be very close to a penguin and other animals in exhibits with no barriers between the visitor and the animal, but in a safe manner.
Another exhibit is "Ocean Commotion" where visitors can get up close to some very unusual marine animals like a clown fish and an octopus.
Certified SCUBA divers over the age of 15 can also get in the tank with sharks.
The aquarium has a 2 acre outside fun zone for kids with water cannons, high squirting geysers and a pirate ship.
Behind the scenes tours are also offered where guests can see the machinery and operations that go into making the Tampa aquarium work.
There are also exhibits that show the guest how to set up and maintain an aquarium at home.
The aquarium is open 7 days a week from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Florida Aquarium is located at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602. Tel: 813-273-4030.
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