The Denver Aquarium offers a great opportunity for a family day out. It offers a wide range of activities that cater to different interests and age groups. From the 4D theater experience to the shark exhibit, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Visitors can have a great time here as they can share the excitement of exploring and watching animal shows. Besides, a trip to this destination is the perfect way to enjoy each other’s company in a fun environment.
Let’s explore everything about Denver Aquarium, Colorado, to help you plan your trip.
|Best Time to Visit||March-May, September-November|
|Suggested Visit Duration||2-3 hours|
|Visiting Hours||Monday to Thursday – 10 am to 8:30 pm Friday to Saturday – 10 am to 10 pm Sunday – 10 am to 8 pm|
|Ticket Prices||Adults (12-64)- $26.50 Seniors (65+)- $24.99 Children (3-11) – $19.99 Children (2 and under) – Free|
|Specialty||Underwater exhibits, coral lagoons, mermaid shows|
|Address||700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211, USA (View on Maps)|
|Contact Number(s)||+1 844-474-3474|
|Links||Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
The Denver Aquarium opened in 1999 as the Colorado Ocean Journey, showcasing various marine life worldwide. The facility was located in an old warehouse building in downtown Denver.
In 2003, it was acquired by Landry’s Restaurants and underwent a major renovation, which included the addition of new exhibits and attractions. The facility was renamed the Downtown Aquarium and reopened in July 2005.
Today, it is home to over 500 species of marine life, including fish, sharks, rays, sea turtles, and more.
It features several exhibits, such as the Shipwreck exhibit, which showcases marine life in sunken ships, and the Rainforest exhibit, which displays animals and plants in tropical rainforests.
- It has over 1 million gallons of water and is home to over 500 species of marine life.
- It is home to a rescued green sea turtle named Snorkel. Snorkel was found off the coast of Florida with a damaged flipper and was rehabilitated here.
- It is committed to sustainability and conservation and uses a state-of-the-art water filtration system that recycles 90% of its water.
- Visitors can witness an interactive exhibit called Mystic Mermaids. This exhibit also allows people to create their virtual mermaids.
- Visitors can touch and interact with animals like sea stars and crabs in its touch tank.
Visitors might often be eligible for free entry to witness the best marine life species. Here are some ways to get free admission.
- Children under 2: Children under two can get free entry.
- Annual pass: If you plan to visit here multiple times throughout the year, you may want to consider purchasing an annual pass. It will allow you to enter for free for a year after you buy the pass.
- Check their calendar for upcoming free days.
It allows you to get your tickets online. You can even purchase the tickets from the ticket counter. It has different ticket prices for different age groups.
- Adults (12-64): $26.50
- Seniors (65+): $24.99
- Children (3-11): $19.99
- Children (2 and under): Free
There are plenty of ways to save a few bucks on your tickets. Many kinds of discounts allow you to get your tickets at a discounted price. You can avail of these discounts online or at the ticket counter.
Some of the top discounts include:
- Online Discounts: The website offers discounts when you purchase your tickets in advance. These discounts can be up to 10% off the regular ticket price.
- Military Discounts: It offers a Military Mondays program that provides free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families on the first Monday of every month. Military personnel and their families can also receive a discount on regular admission tickets by presenting their military ID at the ticket window. Usually, this discount is 10%.
- Group Discounts: You can receive discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more people. To receive this discount, purchase the tickets in advance and make one transaction.
- Combination Tickets: Visitors can get several combination tickets, including admission to other Denver attractions. These include the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. These combination tickets may offer a discount compared to purchasing individual tickets to each attraction.
- Denver City Pass: If you get a Denver City Pass, you can save up to 40% on your admission fees.
Visitors can use gift cards to purchase tickets and to pay in gift shops and restaurants. You can purchase gift cards directly from the website, or you can purchase them in person at the ticket booth or gift shop.
Visitors can experience several immersive animal encounters at the Denver Aquarium. These encounters can be fun and thrilling.
If you book a private encounter for your group, you will have to pay an additional charge of $150 per person. The duration of these encounters can vary, but they usually last up to 15 minutes.
The top animal encounters include the following.
Stingray Cove is an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to touch and feed southern stingrays in a shallow pool. Visitors can wade in the pool and interact with the stingrays, known for their friendly and gentle nature.
The exhibit provides an educational experience about stingrays and their habitat. Visitors can learn about the unique features of stingrays, such as their flat bodies and ability to camouflage in the sand.
During the Penguin Encounter at the Denver Aquarium, visitors can meet and interact with one of the penguins. The encounter takes place under the guidance of an experienced educator.
It includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin exhibit. Visitors can learn about the care and feeding of the penguins and their unique adaptations for life in the cold.
This encounter lasts up to 45 minutes.
Mermaid and Pirate Encounters
The Mermaid and Pirate Encounters give you an interactive experience with mythical creatures in an underwater environment. Visitors can watch a mermaid swim gracefully in a large tank.
The encounter typically lasts 15-20 minutes and suits visitors of all ages.
Visitors can interact with a pirate character in a pirate-themed setting during the Pirate Encounter. They can hear stories and participate in activities like treasure hunts and games.
These encounters have limited availability and very high popularity. So, you might need to make bookings for these encounters.
Sleep with the Sharks
The Sleep with the Sharks program at the Denver Aquarium offers visitors a unique and unforgettable overnight experience. They can spend the night and sleep beside the shark exhibit.
Visitors can participate in a variety of activities. These include a behind-the-scenes aquarium tour and hands-on animal encounters.
Participants can also sleep in a designated area beside the shark exhibit, with a panoramic view of marine life.
The Denver Aquarium features a variety of exhibits showcasing a diverse range of aquatic life from around the world.
The additional charge for these exhibits varies according to the visitor’s age group. The ticket price for these exhibits is as under.
- Adults (12-64): $35.50
- Seniors (65+): $33.99
- Children (3-11): $28.99
- Children (2 and under): Free
Some of the major exhibits at the Denver Aquarium include the following.
The North American exhibit features a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, channel catfish, paddlefish, and sturgeon. Visitors can observe these fish in their natural habitats, such as rocky streams, shallow ponds, and deep lakes.
It also has a pool where visitors can touch and learn about freshwater species, including crayfish, frogs, and turtles.
Under the Sea
This exhibit features a variety of colorful and exotic fish species. These include clownfish, pufferfish, tangs, and many others.
It also includes several tanks that simulate different ocean environments, such as coral reefs, kelp forests, and open oceans. Visitors can observe them and learn about their unique adaptations and behaviors.
It also features other marine creatures, including seahorses, crabs, and jellyfish.
The Coral Lagoon exhibit showcases the beautiful coral formations and the creatures that call them home. At this exhibit, visitors can witness brain coral, staghorn coral, and elkhorn coral at the Denver Aquarium.
It also features diverse marine creatures that live among the coral reefs, including colorful reef fish, eels, and octopuses.
Visitors can also witness interactive displays and educational information about the importance of coral reefs. It allows visitors to learn about the conservation efforts aimed at protecting them.
It is an interactive exhibit where visitors can get up close and personal with several species of stingrays.
It features several shallow pools filled with saltwater and various stingray species. These include southern stingrays, cow nose rays, and spotted eagle rays.
Visitors can purchase food to feed the stingrays and learn about their unique characteristics and behaviors from the knowledgeable staff. The exhibit is suitable for all ages and is a popular attraction for families and animal lovers.
This exhibit at Denver Aquarium gives visitors a unique and immersive experience. It transports visitors to a sunken ship on the ocean floor.
The exhibit features several tanks filled with marine creatures that live in and around shipwrecks, including colorful fish, eels, and sea turtles. It allows visitors from different angles, including an underwater tunnel and a walk-through exhibit.
Visitors can get a memorable and educational experience highlighting the fascinating world beneath the ocean’s surface.
It offers an Ocean Journey exhibit that takes visitors through different marine environments, from tropical reefs to deep ocean trenches.
It has an enormous shark tank, home to several species of sharks, including sand tiger, zebra, and blacktip reef sharks.
Visitors can watch these fascinating creatures swim around the tank from different angles, including a glass tunnel that runs through the middle of the tank.
The Rainforest exhibit is a lush and vibrant environment that immerses visitors in the sights and sounds of the rainforest. It features a variety of tropical plants and trees and a diverse array of animals that live in rainforest environments.
Some of the animals that visitors can see in the Rainforest exhibit include sloths, monkeys, parrots, frogs, and snakes. Visitors can learn about the different rainforest layers and how we can help protect these important environments.
Explorer’s Cove is a special exhibit for younger visitors. It has several activities that encourage children to learn about marine life and the ocean in a fun and engaging way.
Children can participate in activities at Explorer’s Cove, including touching and feeding various sea creatures, playing with interactive displays and games, and exploring a replica of a pirate ship.
Animal Encounters Program
The Animal Encounters Program allows visitors to get close to various animals. It helps them learn about their behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts.
Visitors can interact with animals such as turtles, snakes, lizards, and more during the Animal Encounters program. The experience also includes a behind-the-scenes tour, where visitors can learn about the care and feeding of the animals.
The timing and availability of the program may vary depending on the specific animal encounter.
The Denver Aquarium offers several learning opportunities for visitors of all ages. Students and other visitors can learn more about marine life and the ocean. It can help them become more informed and engaged in conservation efforts.
Exhibits and Displays
It has a variety of exhibits and displays that provide information about marine life and ocean ecosystems. Visitors can learn about different fish species, sharks, and other animals and their habitats and behaviors.
Visitors can join guided tours led by experienced educators who can provide in-depth information about the exhibits and animals. These tours are a great way to learn more about specific topics or areas.
There are many educational programs for visitors. These include classes, workshops, and camps. These programs cover various topics related to marine life and ocean conservation and are designed to be engaging and interactive.
The Denver Aquarium is committed to promoting ocean conservation and sustainability. Visitors can learn about its conservation efforts to reduce waste, conserve water, and protect marine ecosystems.
As with all public aquariums, visitors can host several events here. There are a variety of event spaces and packages for private events. Here are some examples of the types of events you can host.
It offers several wedding options, including indoor and outdoor event spaces.
- Ocean Journey Exhibit: It features a 50-foot tunnel where guests can watch sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life swim overhead.
- Nautilus Ballroom: It is a versatile space that can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated dinner and features a built-in dance floor.
- Outdoor Spaces: These include the Riverside Patio and the Waterfront Plaza. These spaces offer scenic views of the South Platte River and downtown Denver.
Wedding packages include catering, bar service, linens, and decor.
The Denver Aquarium is ideal for corporate events for its unique setting.
- Conference Rooms: Ranging from small meeting spaces to larger rooms that accommodate up to 200 people.
- Nautilus Ballroom: Perfect for corporate events, including dinners, receptions, and product launches.
- Team-building Activities: These activities include scavenger hunts, behind-the-scenes tours, and animal encounters.
- Catering: The catering team can provide a wide range of food and beverage options for your event, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
Here are some options available for birthday parties:
- Aquarium Explorer’s Party: This package includes admission, a private party room, a guided tour, and a special animal encounter.
- Mermaid or Pirate Party: It includes all the features of the Aquarium Explorer’s Party, a visit from a mermaid or pirate, a special mermaid or pirate craft, and a treasure hunt.
- Sleepover Party: This package includes all the features of the Aquarium Explorer’s Party, plus a behind-the-scenes tour, a movie screening, and a sleepover in the Ocean Journey exhibit.
Dining at the Aquarium
The Denver Aquarium offers several dining options for visitors to enjoy. Finding something to satisfy your hunger while exploring exhibits and attractions is easy.
Here are some of the dining options available.
This restaurant offers a variety of seafood dishes and non-seafood options. The restaurant has a large saltwater aquarium as its centerpiece, offering a unique dining experience.
The Dive Lounge is a casual bar and lounge serving various drinks and snacks. The lounge also features a large saltwater, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the ambiance,
Several snack carts offer quick bites like pretzels, popcorn, and ice cream throughout the area.
The Denver Aquarium also offers catering services for events and private parties.
The dine-in is available for the following hours.
- Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm
- Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm
It has a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and gifts to remember their visit. Some items at the gift shop include apparel, toys and plushies, jewelry, and accessories.
Visitors interested in learning more about marine life can browse the gift shop’s selection of books and DVDs. These cover topics like ocean conservation, marine biology, and underwater photography.
Rescue and Conservation
It is committed to conservation efforts and participates in several initiatives to protect marine life and its habitats. Some of the top rescue and conservation efforts that Denver Aquarium implements are as follows.
- It contributes to coral restoration by donating fragments of healthy coral to help rebuild damaged reefs.
- There is active participation in rescuing and rehabilitating injured or sick marine animals.
- It also focuses on reducing its carbon footprint and implementing sustainable practices. They use a specialized system that filters and recirculates water to reduce waste and conserve water.
- It also undertakes several community outreach initiatives to raise awareness about marine life.
Exploring the big aquarium can be a hassle sometimes. However, visitors can always have the map handy to make exploring easy. You can get a physical map from the premises.
There is also an option to explore the map online. This map will make touring all exhibits easy.
How to Reach & Parking
The aquarium is located at 700 Water Street, Denver, CO 80211. It is easily accessible by car, public transportation, or foot.
- By Car: You can use GPS to navigate the address if you’re driving. It offers a parking lot for visitors. There are also several public parking lots in the surrounding area.
- By Public Transportation: You can take the RTD (Regional Transportation District) light rail to the aquarium’s location. Take the C, E, or W line to the Union Station stop, then transfer to the 16th Street Free MallRide to the 16th Street and Chestnut Place stop. It is a short walk from there.
- By Foot: If you’re already downtown, it is a walkable distance from many popular nearby locations like the South Platte River and the Confluence Park area.
Parking inside the Denver Aquarium is $8.
There are charging stations in the parking lot. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are compatible with most electric vehicle models.
The charging stations cost $1 per hour, with a two-hour maximum charging time.
If you plan to spend a night in Downtown Denver, you might find plenty of hotels near the aquarium. Here are the five best options for you.
Westin Denver Downtown (Best Modern Facilities)
Distance: 1.7 miles
This hotel offers modern rooms and suites with city or mountain views. It also has an on-site restaurant and bar and a fitness center.
Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown (Best Comfort)
Distance: 2.1 miles
The Hilton Garden Inn offers comfortable rooms and suites with free Wi-Fi. It also has an on-site restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and a rooftop terrace with city views.
Kimpton Hotel Born (Kid-Friendly)
Distance: 1 mile
It is a boutique hotel with stylish rooms and suites. Visitors can access the fitness center and a rooftop pool. It is a great hotel if you look forward to staying with your kids.
The Oxford Hotel (Best Luxury)
Distance: 1.3 miles
It is a historic hotel with luxurious rooms and suites with vintage decor, a bar, a spa, and a fitness center.
Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center (Best Food)
Distance: 2.1 miles
Hyatt Regency is another great hotel if you want to relax. It has a contemporary American restaurant, a bar with craft cocktails and local beers, and a Starbucks coffee shop.
Check out the following options to enjoy a few bites from around the place.
Maggiano’s Little Italy (Best Italian Food)
Distance: 1.4 miles
This restaurant serves classic Italian dishes like mushroom ravioli and spaghetti with marinara and eggplant parmesan in a warm cozy setup, perfect for families.
The Capital Grille (Best Steak And Wine)
Distance: 1.6 miles
It is an upscale steakhouse in Larimer Square, just a few blocks from the aquarium. They offer dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list.
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen (Best Craft Beer)
Distance: 1.3 miles
Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen is a gastropub located at the heart of Downtown Denver. It serves an eclectic menu of pub fare and craft beers. You only need to drive for 5 minutes to reach this restaurant.
Rioja (Best Mediterreanean Food)
Distance: 1.4 miles
It is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. You can find it in Larimer Square. Visitors can choose from a seasonal menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (Best Seafood)
Distance: 2.3 miles
This seafood restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Denver. It offers a fun, casual atmosphere with a menu featuring shrimp dishes, seafood platters, and other American fares.
The restaurant is inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump” and features memorabilia and themed decor.
There are several attractions nearby that you and your family can explore. You can make your vacation wholesome by exploring all the nearby places.
Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Distance: 0.3 miles
It is an interactive museum designed for kids aged 0-8. There are several exhibits related to science, art, and engineering. It can be a perfect place to explore if you want to make the trip educational for your kids.
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is a popular amusement park with thrilling rides and water attractions. Visitors can also witness live entertainment. It is a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike.
Colorado Convention Center
Distance: 2.0 miles
The Colorado Convention Center is a large event and conference venue. It is a popular destination for conferences, trade shows, and other large-scale events. The center is located nearby the Denver Aquarium and many hotels and restaurants.
Distance: 1.4 miles
Larimer Square is a historic block of downtown Denver buildings that dates back to the mid-1800s. It is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and nightlife, with many unique shops, restaurants, and bars in its charming, red-brick buildings.
Distance: 3.0 miles
Coors Field is a baseball park and serves as the home field of the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team. The stadium features a variety of concession stands and dining options. It also has a rooftop deck with views of the Rocky Mountains.
Working at the Aquarium
To apply for a job at the Denver Aquarium, visit their website and search for open positions.
Here are some jobs for which you can apply.
- There are job opportunities in animal care, guest services, education, marketing, and more.
- It also offers volunteer opportunities for individuals who want to get involved in their community and support the aquarium’s mission. Volunteers can assist with various tasks, such as animal care, exhibit maintenance, and guest services.
If you are planning a family day out, you can have a fun-filled experience here. Most visitors loved their visit and shared excellent reviews about the aquarium. It is a wonderful destination for families and anyone interested in marine life.
Visitors can spend a few hours or a whole day here. It offers something for visitors of all ages. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and the facilities are well-maintained and clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Denver Aquarium?
The Denver Aquarium is located at 700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211, United States, along the South Platte River in downtown Denver.
Is it free?
No, the entrance to Denver Aquarium is not free. Visitors must purchase the tickets online or from the ticket counter.
How much are the tickets?
The ticket price depends upon the age group of the visitor. It ranges from $19.99 to $26.50. It is free for children under the age of two.
How big is it?
The aquarium is spread over an area of approximately 107,000 square feet. It features over a million gallons of underwater exhibits and many marine species.
How long to spend at the aquarium?
The amount of time you spend depends on your interests and the activities you plan to do there. On average, visitors spend 2-3 hours here.
Where to park?
There is a parking lot available for visitors. Street parking is also available in the area but is limited and may be subject to time restrictions.
How much is parking?
The parking at Denver Aquarium is only $8.
Is the aquarium worth it?
If you enjoy marine life and interactive exhibits, the Denver Aquarium offers a variety of experiences that make it worth a visit.
Other Nearby Aquariums
A word from FIA
From exploring the North American exhibits and the Under the Sea exhibit to engaging in animal encounters, the aquarium offers a unique and educational experience. So, you must plan your visit to this remarkable aquarium with your family.
We hope we have delivered all the information to help you plan your visit. Don’t forget to share these details with your friends and family looking forward to a great trip!