Mystic Aquarium, situated in Mystic, Connecticut, is the only one of two marine aquariums in the United States holding Stellar sea lions.
It was founded in 1973 by industrialist and philanthropist Kevin Smith as a privately owned corporation. It is presently an ancillary of the Sea Research Foundation Inc.
The location chosen in Mystic provided an opportunity to take advantage of the scenic shorelines and the sea teeming with marine life.
The Mystic Aquarium in CT is home to almost 10,000 marine lives, including stingrays, Beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea lions, and many more aquatic life types. It also has a ‘Jurassic Giants Dinosaur exhibit’ and a shark touch pool.
The aquarium is also involved in marine conservation and educating people to understand the importance of our oceans. The aquarium also does its research by collecting and evaluating data gathered through its investigations and collaborations.
They also serve as an interpreter of marine science discoveries and conservation issues. To watch and learn more about their work, animals, and exhibits, check out their Youtube page here.
It is also a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In the late 1990s, the aquarium and the Ballard’s Institute for Exploration joined together to expand the aquarium. This new addition included an outdoor Beluga whale display.
Suppose you want to immerse yourself in the curious world of aquatic life and experience these encounters with the rich marine life by visiting the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. In that case, there are details, plans, and facts that need to be considered.
On-site fees are $35 for adults, $29 for 13 to 17-year-olds, and $25 for children aged between 3 to 12 years of age.
‘Mystic Aquarium free admission’ is available to EBT cardholders and their three guests. Four or more tickets are available for $5 each.
The aquarium has also introduced the concept of Plan-Ahead Pricing. Buying your tickets in advance allows you to avail yourself of discounts for Mystic Aquarium tickets and offers you the chance to procure them at the lowest price available.
It can also combine with other retail discounts. If you are unable to visit on the day you planned, you have the option to change your dates as well.
Tickets to Mystic Aquarium also can be sought through their membership program, which has a host of benefits, including free general admission all year long and enticing Mystic Aquarium discounts. It also provides a range of membership categories.
Mystic aquarium prices cater to those arriving in groups of more than ten members but smaller than 25 people. School organizations, tour groups, and youth groups can also take advantage of the Mystic Aquariums’ group tickets and Mystic Aquariums’ membership programs.
Mystic Aquarium military discount provides retired active-duty and serving personnel entry free of cost. Dependents of military personnel can receive a discount of $10. Must present valid ID cards to utilize this promotional offer. The same applies to police, fire, and EMT workers in CT, RI, and MA.
Mystic Aquarium coupons are available on various sites, and a mystic aquarium AAA discount is also available where $3 is waived off for up to four members in your group provided proof of membership is shown.
You can buy Groupon coupons here.
However, please note that coupons for Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium discount codes come with terms and conditions that need to be understood before visiting the aquarium.
Mystic Aquarium Rhode Island and Connecticut EBT benefit cardholders can continue to receive complimentary admission. Tickets must be reserved using the timed ticket online using a Mystic Aquarium promo code. Complimentary general admission is available under this scheme for up to three guests. Children who are aged two and under can enter for free.
Mystic Aquarium parking is free, and special needs access is provided in all buildings and grounds, keeping in mind their requirements.
Address & Directions
Mystic Aquarium Directions: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Connecticut, is located on its south-eastern shore off Exit 90 on Interstate 95, about 10 miles east of New London. It is 1.8 miles from Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic.
The charming town of Mystic is located just over the border from Rhode Island. Can find Directions to Mystic Aquarium on google maps as well, Waze, etc.
Address: Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, CT’ address: 55 Coogan Blvd, Mystic, CT 06355, United States
Maps are available at the entrance and inside the aquarium to help guide you better around the glassed walls of the labyrinth as well as through the outdoor exhibits.
The aquarium tour can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours, depending on how much you indulge and explore throughout your stay.
Weather in Mystic can be unpredictable at times, so it is always better to call or check with the aquarium staff online regarding the availability of various exhibits and events.
The summers are warm and humid, whereas the winters are cold, windy, and wet.
It is also partly cloudy throughout the year. Temperatures vary from 8F to 87F.
Mystic Aquarium’s hours of operation are every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The last ticket is sold at 3 pm, and admission is permitted through the 5 pm closure.
Alternatively, you can also choose ‘Timed Tickets,’ which give you two-hour slots, allowing more extended visits if they have the space to cater to it. The timings for these are 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.
For any doubts and queries, Mystic aquariums’ phone number is +1 860-572-5955.
Encounters at Mystic Aquarium
The aquarium provides two types of encounters; on-site and virtual.
The on-site encounter programs include:
It entails seeing an African penguin up close under experienced penguin care professionals’ supervision.
Will introduce you to these quirky creatures as they relax in the Discovery Cart and learn about the penguins’ history, highlighting their highly endangered status.
The package also includes a commemorative photo of your time with the mystic aquarium penguins. The cost for a group comprising 5 is $250, and the member discount of 10% can also apply.
The same is for 30 minutes and is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2:30 pm. If you would like to watch these penguins via the mystic aquarium’s live cam while sitting at home and planning your trip, you can do so here.
Sea Lion Show
Also known as the Sea Lion Spotlight, this show will give you a glimpse into the entertaining California Sea Lion’s behavior.
It may also provide a chance to highlight the importance of conservation and step on stage with one of Mystic Aquariums’ residents, Sea Lion, and have the spotlight on you as well. The key features of this show include:
- VIP seats and the chance to be the star of the show
- California Sea Lion Show
- Make the Sea Lion perform tricks
- Share critical information about marine conservation
- Capture the moment with a picture on your phone
The cost for this fun-filled event is $25 and $20 for members of the Mystic Aquarium. It is also important to note that children should be eight years and above to enter here, and guests must wear a floatation device at all times while in the pool. The timings for this delightful show are 1:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm every day.
Mystic aquarium encounters also host program packages to get close to their reptile residents and the elusive stingray.
If you want to propose to your partner, the aquarium also caters to Dive proposals among these beautiful creatures. Can find more information on their website.
Beluga Encounter Program
The program was started in 2000 and is offered daily from May through to October. It begins with a 20-minute orientation, after which participants can wade into the water while wearing the appropriate safety gear.
During your time with the friendly Mystic Aquarium Belugas, you may be allowed to pat their tongue, high-five them, and give them hugs. This experience can be booked on-site if there are empty slots, and groups must be in numbers of 5. The cost for a non-member is $179, whereas, for a mystic member, it is $169.
The team can also provide you with a photo of your interaction with these endangered whales. If you are not keen on wading into the pool, the aquarium also provides access to observe these gentle creatures in their exhibit tanks. The three mystic aquarium’s beluga whales’ names are Juno, Kela, and Natasha.
If you would like to view these three majestic beasts roaming the waters through the mystic aquarium webcam, you can do so here.
The main gallery plays house to several shark species where you can gently touch them as they swim past you in their low bottoms tanks. It provides hands-on exposure to these non-threatening sharks, which helps you gain a safe, interactive experience with these misunderstood creatures.
There are four main sharks present here: Smooth Dogfish, White-spotted bamboo fish, Epaulette shark, Yellow stingray, and Blue-spotted ribbon tail ray.
Dolphins have been present since the aquarium first opened in 1973 and are one of the main attractions. There is also a dolphin show where you can watch them perform various interesting tasks as they are one of the most intelligent mammal species.
The aquarium has five exciting exhibits that help you delve into and understand these serene aquatic creatures’ lives and provide us with so much information about the earth’s past.
The Roger Tory Peterson Penguin pavilion gives you over and under views of the 35 African penguins.
The Arctic Coast is another delightful experience that houses the Beluga whales native to this part of the world.
Pacific Northwest is an intriguing exhibit that provides a glimpse into the Arctic coast terrain. You will have to navigate through the winding paths from the Arctic coast to the Pribilof Islands’ rocky shores.
Here you have a unique chance to watch the Northern fur seals, harbor seals, and Stellar sea lions swim effortlessly in the cold waters.
It is an exhibit that you would not usually associate with an aquarium but attracts many visitors. Twelve animatronic prehistoric beasts breathe, claw and even roar as you traverse the dino trail.
It is the epicenter of most of the tanks’ activity, from where you can view the different marine life, including the Mystic Aquariums’ jellyfish and thousands of other vibrant fish.
Ray Touch Pool
A chance to touch the smooth skin of the cownose stingray as they make their way beneath the surface and try to hide in the sand.
Discover Long Island South
This indulging exhibit calls attention to the area’s local estuary through digital interactive media, a hands-on watershed model of a 12-foot-long water table, and a touch experience with various invertebrates.
Scales and Tails
Touch reptiles such as snakes, alligators, and lizards and dispel your fears of them. These cold-blooded creatures can help you understand more about them as you participate in an interactive session on their various characteristics.
Another interactive exhibit features the “claw” game, where the prize is a valuable lesson on marine life. It shows how can turn marine debris into clean energy.
The Foxwoods Marine Theatre located in the aquarium usually hosts the Sea Lion show.
Apart from this, there is also the Blue Theatre, an immersive 4-D theatre that plays various movies throughout the year. It is open to guests of all ages and will even tickle your olfactory senses.
To find out about their latest feature presentation, you can visit here.
Learning Opportunities at Mystic Aquarium
The aquarium concentrates many of its efforts on helping people understand our oceans’ value and the impact we have on them. They offer various programs to teach this. They help develop skills such as observing, hypothesizing, experimenting and drawing conclusions.
Full-day K-7 Program
It is offered to students in grades K to 7. It entails full-day academic enrichment programs that are headed by educators who are experienced, and it helps provide academic support and nourishment in a fun and safe environment.
The sessions also include outdoor activities such as guided aquarium tours, animal interactions, and a wealth of unique programming which can test students’ physical strengths and monitor their social-emotional learning.
High School Internships
A sought-after opportunity. This 8-week program is open to students from grades 8 to 12. It helps students utilize the unique benefits at Mystic Aquarium and guides them towards their career paths. Students get a chance to shadow animal care and conservation specialists and engage in research projects.
Coastal Field Studies
It is an exciting opportunity for teachers and students of grades 3 to 12 to study the coastline parks. Can find further details for the same here.
The conservation education program features Conservation Programs where one can explore local ecosystems and animals and help clean up the beaches while getting a better view of the need for conservation.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
The Mystic Aquarium REU program collaborates between the aquarium and the leading institute of higher education, the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, located on Long Island Sound. It is the only aquarium in the United States to have an REU. Can find details for the same here on their website.
Most libraries in the Mystic area issue passes for the aquarium; however, due to Covid-19 rules and regulations, the library program has been suspended indefinitely. If you are a member of the program, you will receive updates regarding the same revival.
You can also keep an eye out for any information regarding it here.
Mystic Aquarium Camps
Aqua Camp – Grade 7 to 10
This instructional camp involves a week of learning about the ocean’s most fearsome predator-sharks and understanding how the species is endangered and the conservation method involved.
Together with the aquarium staff, students can work in the behind-the-scenes areas, interact with the staff, get to spend some time in the water, and even stay overnight at the aquarium.
Environmental Conservation Camps – Grade 7 to 10
Teaming up with Project Oceanology, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut has developed a week-long camp where participants can gather in a three-day cruise to discover life around Long Island South.
They also get to spend two days at the aquarium, understanding the work being carried out to protect African penguins and how whale snot can help with beluga whale conservation. Many other educational and interactive sessions are also included.
A Week in the Life of a Marine Biologist – Grade 7 to 10
This camp entails a whole week for teens who love marine biology to enroll in the Mystic Aquarium summer camp and understand what it takes to be a scientist.
The camp is aimed at focusing on conservation, animal behavior, and conservation genetics.
Various events are hosted for people to get a chance to see and understand more about the life that thrives in the oceans and to interact with them up close and personal. From After Dark to Family Events, at the aquarium, there are different programs each month that can help the community get together to create more awareness about saving our marine life.
To receive more information, you can follow the Mystic Aquarium’s Facebook page.
It is a compelling chance to stay over under the aquarium waters and fall asleep while watching the sea life sway above you. It is also a chance for you to explore the aquarium without crowds around. A unique experience for anyone who tries it.
Also, get a chance to watch the mystic aquarium whales being fed.
Two types of packages are available: on-site and online.
- On-site Package: It includes an hour and a half of age-appropriate educational programs, a private touch tank of live sea creatures, personalized ocean-themed cake, and tableware.
- Online Package: Catering to Covid-19 norms, online packages are a great way to spend your child’s birthday, which will include 1 hour of a private learning experience with an aquarium educator, a personal virtual tour of the aquarium, and an intimate up-close look into a touch tank of sea life.
Guests can have their fairy-tale dream wedding among the adorable belugas or the friendly sea lions and other sea life at the aquarium. Various agencies have packages that can give you the once-in-a-lifetime chance to tie the knot among the beautiful creatures residing at the aquarium.
The areas available for this are the Arctic Coast (a setting next to the belugas), the Ocean plant pavilion, the mezzanine, and the ocean conservation center. If you love marine life and the blue waters’ aura, then a mystic aquarium wedding would be the perfect romantic setting.
For Mystic aquarium wedding cost information, you can email them at [email protected]
New Year’s Eve
From frozen sculptures to local musicians playing top favorites, the Mystic Aquariums winter fest has something unique which can help you enter the new year with happiness and enrichment as you celebrate among the beautiful sea life of Mystic Aquarium.
The aquarium receives many applications from people looking to offer monetary support to the organization. But due to government rules and regulations, they are limited only to accepting some.
If you are interested in donating to the aquarium, you can visit here and fill out their request form.
The aquarium is always on the lookout for those who have an interest and expertise in marine life and its conservation. Dedicated individuals who want to apply for full-time or seasonal opportunities can visit their webpage to find out more about mystic aquariums’ jobs or visit the mystic aquarium employment page here.
Mystic Aquariums volunteer program is also a great initiative to get in touch with your aquatic side and give back to the planet. Learn about conservation, cleaning the oceans, and interacting with marine life to fully appreciate these creatures’ beauty and ecosystems.
Internships at Mystic Aquarium are coveted and competitive. Students of all ages are free to participate during fall, spring, and summer. It helps them with their personal and professional development through caring for and protecting the ocean planet.
Everything from plushies to reusable bags, jewelry, clothing, home accents, etc., is available in this shop. Buy goodies for you and your loved ones to remember your time at the aquarium and remind you of your new-found friends of the ocean. Can also purchase it via their online store.
The Mystic Aquarium gift card is a great way to show someone you care about these ocean dwellers’ exotic life. Sponsor membership for a year or admission tickets for a day and even gift them an encounter program that can provide an opportunity to interact with some marvelous sea animals. Can find gift card certificates here.
Many hotels near Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut, provide exciting deals for you to enjoy a relaxing vacation or weekend away while visiting the aquarium.
Grand Pequot Tower
It is a AAA four-diamond hotel known for its sophistication and elegance. It features a Norwich spa and the famous Paragon restaurant. The hotel’s distance to the aquarium is 9.1 miles, which can take about 20 minutes of a road journey.
Great Cedar Hotel
This hotel is bang in the middle of all the action in town. It is a AAA three-diamond hotel and is equipped with spacious rooms and suites, which give you the best amenities. It is located in the heart of the Casino and is close to all the entertainment, dining, and gaming options. The distance between the hotel and the aquarium is 9 miles.
Mystic Marriott Hotel and spa
One of the best hotels near Mystic Aquarium with an indoor pool is the Marriott Hotel and Spa. It provides all the necessities required to make your stay comfortable and is close to Mystic attractions, including the aquarium.
This newly renovated hotel is filled with the historic maritime charm of New England and is right across the street from Mystic Aquarium and other exciting attractions in the town.
The Fox Tower
Another AAA four-diamond Fox tower is a modern and eclectic hotel with beautiful rooms and courteous staff. The hotels are equipped with an outdoor pool making it a great way to enjoy your stay during the summer. The distance from Foxwoods to Mystic Aquarium is about 9.6 miles.
There are plenty of options to satiate your hunger before or after your tour of this exciting aquarium. The menus cater to various price points and are within walking distance from the aquarium. Some of the most well-known choices are:
- Go Fish Restaurant
- Mango’s Wood Fired Pizza
- The Irons
- Johnny’s Peking Tokyo Bleu Squid Breakfast and Bakery Café
- Frank’s Gourmet Grille
There are several casinos, restaurants, cafes, and gaming areas near the aquarium.
- Mystified escape rooms rank as one of the top activities.
- Charles Morgan, located at the seaport, is the only existing wooden whaleship.
- Mystic luxury cinema where you can watch a movie and relax your feet after walking around the aquarium.
- Mystic Seaport Museum is the nation’s leading maritime museum. The distance from Mystic Aquarium and Seaport is 1.2 miles.
- Argia Mystic cruises is another indulgent experience where you can sail away on a traditional sailing boat and explore the islands and lighthouses around the area.
Several beautiful beaches surround the scenic town of Mystic. If you want to spend time relaxing in the sun and playing in the waves, then there are plenty of options to do so. These include:
- Misquamicut State Beach
- Ocean Beach Park
- Williams Beach Park
- Napatree Point
If you are intrigued about the aquarium and would like to learn more about them, like the Mystic Aquarium logo, and view Mystic Aquarium’s gallery before visiting, you can do so here.
Is Mystic Aquarium worth the money? It provides you with a glimpse into the lives of oceans and their natives. The Mystic Aquarium team tirelessly works towards educating the public and conserving sea life to ensure a better future.
The aquarium might be small, but it houses some interesting exhibits. Of course, the shows and encounter packages will promise anyone trying them a fruitful experience, one they can cherish for a long time.
Their education programs are also beneficial and give students a rare insight into how critical it is to save these creatures, which call the water their home.