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New York Aquarium: Learn More About it Before Visiting

The New York Aquarium in Coney Island offers an incredible view of the underwater world with its inspiring displays and exhibits.

The stars of the shows here are the African Penguins, the Sea Lions, the Sharks, the Rays, the Skates, the Giant Octopus of the Pacific, and many invertebrates.

The aquarium strives to educate and encourage its visitors to advocate the conservation of oceans and the marine animals that inhabit these oceans.

The New York Aquarium features several different kinds of exhibits. You can enjoy shows by sea lions at the Aqua Theatre; watch 18 different types of sharks swim about at the Ocean Wonders: Sharks!; get a snorkeler’s view of life underwater at the Glover’s Reef; stroll along Sea Cliff as the African Penguins play about, seals and otters rest on its rocky shores.

The New York Aquarium at Coney Island also reaches out to educate the young by taking in volunteers from 14 years and up for all the various departments within the facility.

They have an outreach program to educate children as well as educators about marine animals and their habitats.

The New York Aquarium events calendar is a full and colorful one with different kinds of celebrations and happenings. Parades, Galas, Fireworks, Wine Tasting and lots more. All are dedicated to educating the public about the oceans around the world.

With the current restrictions still on, efforts are being made to bring the aquarium to your home with virtual tours, live cams, social media and online activities. You can watch what your favorite animal is doing and how they are cared for during this time.

The New York Aquarium Brooklyn is an aquarium and provides ideal space for personal celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties, sweet sixteens, barbecues, corporate meets, and lots more.

Interesting Facts

  • The New York Aquarium is the oldest and continually operating aquarium in the United States.
  • The aquarium was founded at Castle Garden in Manhattan in 1896 and then moved to its current location in Coney Island in 1957
  • The New York Aquarium is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
  • On Wednesday afternoons, general admission is by donation. It is the New York Aquarium’s  ‘pay what you wish’ day, and visitors spend accordingly. The regular New York Aquarium ticket prices do not apply on Friday afternoons.
  • New York Aquarium admission is free on Wednesday afternoons after 3 pm. However, you need an Advanced Timed Ticket, and the ticket store for Wednesday’s reservations will open on Monday evenings at 5:00 pm.
  • According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are allowed with visitors to the aquarium. However, therapy dogs are not allowed.
  • Commercial photography or filming is not allowed in the New York Aquarium without prior permission from the public relations department of WCS.
  • When the New York Aquarium was opened, Annie, a black-footed penguin who bit into a wrapped smelt to do the honors, was done during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Shows and Special Behind-the-Scene Encounters

The New York Aquarium features several shows and experiences such as the sea lion show, dolphins show, meet the dolphins, sea otter feedings, and so much more. Get up close with these beautiful marine creatures behind the scenes for an unforgettable experience.

Aqua Theatre

Enjoy an interactive show with the sea lions in the Aqua Theatre and watch these magnificent animals gambol and frolic all over the place. Watch the bond between the trainer and sea lions as they perform for the exuberant audience.

Sea Cliff

Several marine creatures like to spend some leisure time on rocky cliffs on the shores of the oceans. Penguins mostly use these cliffs for nesting, while the seals and sea otters like to rest out of the water for a while.

The aquarium has the Sea Cliff Exhibit for the penguins, sea otters and sea lions to lounge around and claims this area as their habitat. With the New York Aquarium live cam, you can stay updated on the well-being and activities of these animals.

Spineless Exhibit

The Spineless Exhibit is one of the most intriguing and unique among all the New York Aquarium exhibits, showcasing Japanese Spider Crabs, Giant Pacific Octopus, Pacific Sea Nettles, Common Cuttlefish and Lagoon Jellies.

This exhibit shows the importance of these invertebrates to the water bodies’ ecological balance around the world.

Ocean Wonder: Sharks

Ocean Wonders
Ocean Wonders: Sharks Exhibit © New York Aquarium

This exhibit in the New York Aquarium houses over 115 species of marine animals, including over 18 different sharks. The other animals that co-inhabit the Shark tank are different types of rays, sea turtles and a wide range of schooling fish.

This exhibit is dedicated to teaching visitors about the role sharks play in maintaining the ecological balance of the oceans and the multiple threats to their existence.

The colorful displays give visitors a snorkeler’s beauty of the underwater world. The exhibit has a beautiful collection of angelfish, piranhas, black pacus, stingrays and several others.

Conservation Hall

The Conservation Hall features marine lives native to the freshwater lakes of Africa, the Indo-Pacific region and the Amazon’s amazon. It is divided into three habitats: The Pacific Ocean’s Coral Triangle, Africa’s Great Lakes, and Brazil’s Flooded Forest.Spineless Wonders

It is one of the most fascinating New York Aquarium exhibits featuring the invertebrates of the marine world. This exhibit stresses the importance of these marine animals in maintaining the ocean world’s ecological balance.

Animal Encounters

New York Aquarium professionals continuously strive to make a positive connection between the guests who visit the facility and the animals within. These close animal encounters create awareness and encourage people to participate in the conservation programs that the aquarium practices and promotes.

Meet the African Penguins

These encounters with the African Penguins at the New York Aquarium last for half an hour each session, and the guests learn about how these birds are taken care of. Learn about their feeding habits and watch them waddle and swim.

Enjoy interactive sessions with these amazing birds at the Penguin Playschool. These interactions inspire children and grown-ups alike to be part of the conservation of these animals and their natural habitat.

Touch Pools

The touch pool on the roof has bamboo and epaulette sharks, and visitors can touch and learn more about these unique and misunderstood creatures of the sea. Visitors should be six years and above to visit this touch pool.

There is another touch pool by the outdoor plaza where younger kids can touch the various water animals there.

A Close Encounter with the Sea Lion

The sea lion encounter is a small group activity when you come close to the aquarium sea lion star. The meeting also teaches about this dynamic marine creature’s nature and the threats posed to its conservation.

Also, get a photo of your special encounter for you to take home.

Sea Lion Pup
Sea Lion Pup © New York Aquarium

Shows and Events

The New York Aquarium in Coney Islands puts together several shows and events that entertain and educate visitors. These also act as fundraisers for the various conservation projects that the aquarium is working on.

Sharks After Dark

This unforgettable overnight sleepover experience at the New York Aquarium is an event specially organized for schools, Scout, and Youth groups. Participants spend the night at the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Exhibit where they discover the different types of marine animals that inhabit the Hudson Canyon.

Activities during these sleepovers include unique encounters and educational activities.

Summer Nights

It is another exciting event the New York Aquarium Brooklyn organizes an after-hours cocktail party with the premises staying open till 10 pm. There are fireworks on the roof, explore all the nine galleries and enjoy shows at the Aquatheatre.

World Oceans Week

It is an awareness program where a parade is organized to highlight the threat of plastic waste on the water bodies worldwide and the marine animals that inhabit these waters.

Advocates of this cause actively participate in these parades and join the celebrations afterward.

Navy Divers at the Aquarium

It is a fantastic event held at the New York Aquarium during Fleet Week when Navy Divers showcase their diving skills. The divers played tic tac toe with children across the glass and posed for pictures with the visitors.

NYA At Night: Boardwalk Brews

It is an adults-only event held at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. The Glover Reef and the Conservation Hall stay open all night during the Boardwalk Brews.

A variety of brewery tables, food carts, and zoo snacks will be available for the guests.

Sip for the Sea

It is an annual wine tasting event organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society. It is a benefit that showcases the conservation of marine animals and their natural habitat.

The pairing of wines with sustainable seafood and other delectable cuisines from several high-end restaurants in New York is the celebration.

Moon Jellyfish
Moon Jellyfish © New York Aquarium

Learning Programs

New York Aquarium Brooklyn, through the WCS, offers a wide range of learning programs to inspire budding talents in the field of marine science. Options are available for all age groups, education levels as well as interests.

Wildlife School Online

Virtual lessons are provided for PreK to 8th-grade students at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. Backed by WCS, the students have access to some of the most prominent zoos and aquariums in New York. Students get special access to animals and exhibits.

Special Programs for Educators

The WCS offers various programs directed at educators that they can learn from the comfort of their homes. There are professional as well as introductory learning courses. Programs range from STEM courses to various branches of marine science.

Special Programs for Parents

With the dramatic change in the schooling format due to the current situation, the New York aquarium has put together digital resources to help parents engage children in learning activities from home.

These include virtual field trips, virtual birthday parties, virtual scouts program, digital resources and lots more.

General Admission Tickets

New York Aquarium admission tickets can be purchased directly from the aquarium’s official website or directly from the ticket counter.

For adults 13 years and over, the ticket cost is $26.95, for senior citizens 65 and above the tickets cost $24.95, and for children between 3 to 12 years, the tickets cost $22.95. Children below three years of age can enter for free.

Visitors with New York Aquarium membership can visit the aquarium for free, but they must make a reservation to visit.

Coupons for New York Aquariums are available at prices as low as $11.95 on some online sites. But before booking these tickets, ensure what it includes in the ticket.

Schools, campers and groups of 10 people and above are required to make reservations in advance. New York Aquarium student discounts between 10% to 20% can be applied, but this would vary from visit to visit and is expected to change according to season.

Apply New York Aquarium promo code and get a flat $2 off your General Admission ticket to the aquarium.

New York Aquarium tickets Groupon deals are some of the best deals online, and visitors can enjoy 10% to 15% off children’s or adults” tickets.

Active military personnel and veterans are eligible for the New York aquarium military discount. The benefits include a complimentary entry for the military personnel or veteran and 50% off on tickets for up to 3 guests.

Know more about the New York Aquarium from its official website:

Special Discounts

There are several discounts attached to the New York Aquarium tickets available on several websites and at the facility. Coupons for New York Aquarium are available on the official site of the aquarium and other ticket booking websites.

New York Aquarium Jobs

If you are interested in a career in marine science or being an advocate of the oceans, check out the job openings at the official website of the New York Aquarium. Career opportunities in this field are diverse, and you can choose from several available offerings.

Volunteering Opportunities

Internships and volunteer opportunities are also available for those who are looking to learn while still studying. New York aquarium volunteers can choose from various departments right from education, dive programs, animal exhibits and health volunteer.

Dive Program Volunteers

The Dive Program Volunteers at the New York Aquarium help take care of the animals in their various habitats, interact with visitors and educate them about the various aspects of marine science, and assist the staff with several other tasks both in and out of the water.

For this program, volunteers should be 21 years and above and commit one full day from 8 am to 5 pm every other week for an entire year.

Animal Exhibits Volunteers

Volunteering for the separate New York Aquarium exhibits you will get the opportunity to learn about the different species in each exhibit and their habits.

They will be taught the basic biology of these animals, how to care for them, how they are trained during feeding time, the aquarium’s filtration process, and lots more.

Each exhibit has different animals, which means various learning opportunities. New York Aquarium volunteers are required to be in good health condition, good in public speaking, know about biology or psychology is preferred and apply basic math skills.

Education Volunteers

This department has opportunities for both young people as well as adults. Discovery Guide Volunteer Program is open to high school and college students between 14 to 21 years.

They help educate visitors about the importance of the conservation of our water bodies and how human activities threaten the very existence of the animals that live in these water bodies.

They also get an opportunity to learn about science, wildlife, and conservation.

Adult volunteers can assist as Ambassadors, Expedition Leaders, WCS Now Interpreters, Education Assistants and Play Partners.

Host an Event at the New York Aquarium

Unique Experiences for Family and Children

The New York Aquarium offers a wide range of activities for families and children, including hands-on activities, unique encounters, and opportunities to be with the animals in the aquarium. These experiences are beyond regular visits.

Plan a Celebration

You can plan a special event at the premises of the NYA, such as children’s birthday parties, a unique aquatic-themed wedding, corporate events, sit-out dinners, and so much more. The New York

Aquarium events space includes the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The area can accommodate about 450 guests for a cocktail party. The Glover’s Reef offers a deck and room great for sit-down dinners or watching the fireworks.

Birthday Parties

Themed birthday parties at the New York Aquarium are a fantastic gift you can give your child. The aquarium is geared to hold birthday parties for children between 3 to 11 years of age. An animal related to the theme will be the surprise guest at the party.

The party is held in a beautifully decorated room. However, guests can bring their decorations. Balloons, confetti and inflatables are not allowed as these are harmful to the animals at the aquarium.


The aquarium offers several indoor and outdoor events spaces both for the wedding ceremony and the reception. Wine, dine and dance the night away surrounded by beautiful corals, a fantastic variety of water animals gracing your special day and let the whole facility turn into your oasis.

Personal Events

The New York Aquarium at Coney Islands is an ideal location for various personal events, right from birthday parties, anniversaries, summer barbecues, quinceaneras, mitzvahs, or anything unique for that matter.

Corporate Gatherings

The New York Aquarium also offers corporate memberships and provides an excellent space for corporate meets, team-building exercises, rooftop happy hours and lots more.

Important Information


The New York Aquarium address is 602 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224.

The aquarium is located at Surf Avenue & West 8th Street along the Boardwalk near Coney Island Brooklyn.


If you are new to the area, look for directions to the New York Aquarium on the official website or call the given number. You can also find a New York Aquarium map on the website if you drive and want to be sure of the route you need to follow.

Parking at the New York Aquarium

Parking rates at the aquarium vary depending on the number of hours it is used.

  • Between 0 to 3 hours, the rates are $18
  • 3 to 4 hours $25
  • Over 4 hours $40

For members, parking is free up to 2 hours.

  • 2 to 4 hours $10
  • Over 4 hours $20

Conservation Fellow and above have free parking all day.

Operating Hours

The New York Aquarium hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm. The last entry is at 4 pm.

Hurricane Sandy’s Effects on New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium Hurricane Sandy damages were estimated at around $65 million. The destruction due by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 led to the deaths of some of the invertebrates and freshwater fish in the aquarium.

The marine mammals and other sea creatures were spared even though the whole facility was flooded with the Atlantic’s surging water. However, took the New York Aquarium walrus to Texas during the renovation of the aquarium.

The Hurricane damaged and destroyed much of the infrastructure, including the life support system in the aquarium.

The rebuilding took over eight months, and the aquarium reopened at the end of Spring the following year.

The new and improved Shark tank at the New York Aquarium is a sight to behold, and the tunnel shape creates the illusion that the visitor is also another creature of the sea as sharks and rays swim overhead.

Dining at the Aquarium

There are three dining options at the New York Aquarium:

Food Truck

It serves fast food and snacks such as burgers, fries, chicken tenders, salads, and hot and cold beverages. It is located in the Aquarium Plaza section and stays open between 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Oceanview Bites

It is a rooftop bar and restaurant located on the roof deck of the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! To maintain social distancing at the facility, this restaurant is closed at the moment.

Oceanside Grill

It is another New York Aquarium restaurant along the Boardwalk right by the beach. This restaurant was started by WCS and served sustainable seafood served on environmentally friendly packaging. It is a no single-use plastic zone.

As the New York Aquarium under construction work is going on, the main dining area is closed. However, vendors selling ice cream, popcorn and other snacks are available at the aquarium.

Bottled beverages and packaged snacks are also available at the New York Aquarium gift shop.

Hotels Nearby

Best Western Plus Brooklyn Bay Hotel

It is one of the most conveniently located hotels near the New York Aquarium. It is only 2 miles away from the aquarium and the Coney Island Boardwalk. Rooms are comfortable and relaxed with free wifi, satellite TV, mini-fridges and coffee makers.

Comfort Inn Brooklyn

This basic budget hotel is located on the edge of Brooklyn Bay and 3.3 miles from New York Aquarium Coney Island. The John F. Kennedy Airport is just 11 miles away. The rooms are elegant and well furnished with all modern amenities. Upgraded rooms also have whirlpool tubs.

The Avenue Plaza

The hotel is located in the Borough Park neighborhood and just four blocks away from the nearest subway. The hotel has traditional rooms, and suites have kitchenettes and balconies. This hotel is located 5.4 miles from the New York Aquarium.

Best Western Brooklyn – Coney Island Inn

This comfortable and relaxed hotel is just a mile away from the New York Aquarium. Rooms have free wifi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, etc. There is also a gym and a business center for the guests.

Sleep Inn Coney Island

This hotel is just a mile away from the New York Aquarium and features casual rooms with muted décor. Comfortably furnished rooms have complimentary wifi, mini-fridges, tea and coffee maker. The breakfast buffet and parking are favorable for the guests.

Top 10 Attractions Nearby

  1. Luna Park at Coney Island
  2. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
  3. The Cyclone
  4. The Coney Island Museum
  5. Slideshows by the Sea Shore
  6. Brighton Beach
  7. Parachute Jump
  8. The Amphitheatre at Coney Island
  9. Manhattan Beach Park
  10. Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance

Other Nearby Aquariums You Might Like to Visit

Final Thoughts

The New York Aquarium gives an in-depth and interactive view into the lives of marine animals and the impact of human activities on these lives. It strives to bring about awareness to conserve the world’s oceans with its ongoing learning programs, research, and documentaries.

The New York Aquarium strives to bring the ocean to our homes to understand the importance of these water bodies surrounding us and the lives that depend on its healthy existence.