New York Aquarium: Learn More About it Before Visiting

This article will help you tour this incredible attraction that showcases the fantastic marine life. From sea lions to sharks, penguins to coral reefs, we’ll cover everything you need to know to have the best trip to this destination. So get ready, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of this place!

What does New York Aquarium Offer?

New York Aquarium, located in the iconic Coney Island, is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States. Visitors can witness over 350 species of marine life from all around the world.

Visitors can expect to see fascinating exhibits featuring sea lions, sharks, penguins, and much more when visiting this place. The interactive exhibits, educational programs, and special events make it a must-visit destination for marine life lovers.

Best Time to VisitApril to October
Suggested Visit Duration2-3 hours
Visiting HoursOpens daily from 10 am to 5 pm
Ticket PricesTickets start from $25.95
SpecialtyAquatheater, penguins, spineless sea creatures, marine and conservation efforts
Address602 Surf Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York 11224, USA (View on Maps)
Contact Number(s)+1 718-265-3474

What is the History of New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium has a long and storied history dating back to 1896, and it first opened its doors in Battery Park. Then, in 1957, it moved to its current location in Coney Island, which boasts over 14 acres of land and sea.

Over the years, the NY Aquarium has undergone renovations and expansions. It added the Sea Cliffs exhibit in 2001 and the Conservation Hall in 2019.

The place has also played a critical role in marine conservation efforts. It works incredibly to protect endangered species and habitats around the world.

Despite setbacks such as damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it remains a beloved destination for visitors of all ages.

Fun Facts

  • The NY Aquarium is home to the most extensive collection of sharks in the Northeastern United States.
  • The aquarium’s Sea Cliffs exhibit houses California sea lions and harbor seals. It also features a stunning 187,000-gallon saltwater pool.
  • The aquarium participates in several marine conservation initiatives. It includes rescuing and rehabilitating sea turtles and conducting research on coral reefs.
  • Visitors can experience the Aquatheater here. This theater features sea lion shows and educational demonstrations.
  • The shark exhibit here features an immersive tunnel. It allows visitors to walk through a 500,000-gallon tank filled with sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, and other species.

Does New York Aquarium offer Free Admission?

Visiting the NY Aquarium can be a wonderful experience. There are some ways by which visitors can enjoy free admission. The free days here can be crowded, so visitors must plan their visit accordingly.

  • Wednesdays: Free entry is allowed for all people after 3 pm on Wednesdays. People desirous of visiting this place for free must make advanced bookings.
  • Memberships: Those who hold memberships can get free admission into the aquarium.
  • Infants:There are no admission charges for infants.

What are the Ticket Prices for New York Aquarium?

Adults (13 and above)$29.95$32.95
Senior Citizens$27.95$29.95
Child (3-12 years )$25.95$27.95

The ticket prices vary according to the peak and off-peak hours but are affordable. Visitors need to pay the below-mentioned price to buy their tickets.

Visiting the New York Aquarium is an exciting experience. Purchasing tickets is quick and easy, and visitors can get their tickets online or at the ticket booths upon arrival. 

What are the Discounts for Tickets at New York Aquarium?

Varieties of discounts are available to help visit the aquarium even more budget-friendly.

Here are some of the ticket discounts available for the New York Aquarium.

  • Military Discount: People engaged actively in the military or military veterans can receive some discount on their ticket prices. They only need to present a valid military ID.
  • EBT Discount: New York City residents with a valid EBT card can receive discounted admission to this place and other WCS attractions.
  • AAA Discount: AAA members get 25% discounted admission to the aquarium by presenting their valid AAA cards.
  • Costco: Costco members can purchase discounted tickets online or in-store.
  • Groupon: Groupon often offers discounted tickets for this destination and other local attractions.
  • Senior Citizens: Visitors aged 65 and over can enjoy discounted admission to the aquarium.
  • Special Days: Visitors can enter the aquarium for free after 3 pm on Wednesdays.

Does New York Aquarium have Gift Cards?

Giving a New York Aquarium gift card allows people to give the gift of fun and education to someone they care about. Such gift cards can be a unique and thoughtful gift.

People can explore websites such as Giftly and GiftRocket to buy gift cards for their loved ones. These websites offer customizable gift cards for various attractions, including the New York Aquarium.

One can choose the amount they would like to gift. Then, the recipient can redeem their gift card for admission to the aquarium or other experiences.

What are the Animal Encounters at New York Aquarium?

Ocean Wonders
Ocean Wonders: Sharks Exhibit © New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium offers several exciting animal encounters. These encounters let visitors get close and personal with some of their favorite marine creatures.

Below is an overview of what visitors can expect from these encounters.

1. Penguin Encounter

Additional charges: $35.95

The Penguin Encounter at the NY Aquarium is a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.

All visitors over 6 years of age can opt for the penguin encounter. This encounter lasts for 30 minutes and requires reservations.

2. Sea Lion Encounter

Additional charges: $35.95

The Sea Lion Encounter is a must-see experience for all visitors and they can meet and interact with the friendly and playful sea lions and pinnipeds during this encounter.

The encounter includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the sea lion exhibit. Here, visitors can learn about the daily care of these fantastic animals and watch them perform some of their favorite tricks.

The Sea Lion Encounter is available for all visitors above 6 years. It lasts for 20 minutes and requires advanced bookings.

3. AquaTheater VIP Pass

Additional charges: $16.95

The AquaTheater VIP Pass is an exclusive experience for visitors and offers a chance to get the best seats in the house for the aquarium’s daily aquatic shows.

The VIP pass provides visitors with priority seating in the AquaTheater. They can watch the striking sea lions and other aquatic animals perform incredible feats. Pass holders will also be able to meet the sea lion trainers before the show.

4. Behind The Scenes Tour At Ocean Wonders: Sharks!

Additional charges: $39.95

The Behind The Scenes Tour at Ocean Wonders: Sharks! is a unique and educational experience for visitors. It allows people to explore the aquarium’s state-of-the-art shark exhibit.

During this encounter, visitors will go behind the scenes of the shark exhibit. They can learn about the daily care of the aquarium’s resident sharks. Participants will also be able to feed the sharks and watch them swim up close.

This encounter is available for visitors above 6 years of age.

What are the Exhibits at New York Aquarium?

Sea Lion Pup
Sea Lion Pup © New York Aquarium

The aquarium has a diverse range of exhibits. These exhibits showcase a variety of aquatic species from around the world.

Here are some of the must-see exhibits that visitors can’t miss here.

1. Spineless

The Spineless exhibit at the New York Aquarium celebrates the fantastic world of invertebrates: animals without a backbone. It showcases the incredible diversity of these often-overlooked creatures.

Visitors to the Spineless exhibit can see a wide range of invertebrates. Creatures such as jellyfish, sea stars, sea urchins, octopuses, etc., are easy to spot here.

The exhibit features interactive displays and educational exhibits. It highlights the unique characteristics and behaviors of these fascinating animals. Access to this exhibit is available with general admission.

2. Ocean Wonders: Sharks!

The Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The exhibit is a popular attraction here. It features an immersive experience showing the awe-inspiring diversity of shark species worldwide.

Visitors to the exhibit can see a range of sharks and spot sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and blacktip reef sharks. The exhibition features a 500,000-gallon tank that gives visitors a close view of these majestic animals as they swim overhead.

The exhibit also includes interactive and educational displays highlighting shark conservation’s importance.

3. PlayQuarium

The PlayQuarium exhibit is a fun and interactive area for children. It offers hands-on activities and games that help kids learn about marine life and ocean conservation.

The exhibit features several interactive stations. For example, it has a touch pool where kids can witness sea stars and other marine creatures.

This exhibit also allows kids to design their sea creatures, learn about underwater soundscapes, and explore a mock submarine. Visiting this exhibit is an excellent way for families to spend time together.

4. Aquatheater

The Aquatheater exhibit offers an exciting experience that features live performances by trained marine animals. Visitors can watch dolphins, sea lions, and other marine mammals perform their tricks and stunts in a 4D theater.

The Aquatheater exhibit also features educational displays about the animals and their behaviors. Visitors can learn about the training and care that goes into preparing the animals for the show.

This exhibit is available with general admission.

5. Sea Cliff

The Sea Cliffs exhibit offers visitors a chance to see various marine animals. This exhibit features a massive 40,000-gallon tank. The Sea Cliffs exhibit is home to diverse species, including harbor seals, sea otters, and penguins.

The exhibit mimics the rocky shoreline of the Pacific Northwest. It features naturalistic rock formations, crashing waves, and a variety of habitats for the animals.

Visitors can watch as the animals swim, play, and interact with each other in a carefully crafted environment.

6. Conservation Hall

The Conservation Hall exhibit highlights the vital importance of marine conservation efforts worldwide. It features many interactive displays and educational exhibits.

These exhibits inform visitors about the world’s oceans’ challenges and the efforts to protect them.

One of the most popular exhibits in Conservation Hall is the “Ocean Explorer” section. Visitors can virtually explore the ocean’s depths and learn about the creatures inhabiting its various zones.

These exhibits also focus on the impact of climate change on the ocean. They also focus on educating visitors about the importance of sustainable fishing practices and reducing plastic waste.

What are the Learning Opportunities at New York Aquarium?

Moon Jellyfish
Moon Jellyfish © New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium offers several exciting learning opportunities for kids. From educational programs to interactive exhibits, children can explore and learn about the wonders of marine life.

Here are some learning opportunities available for learners.

1. Summer Camps

The aquarium offers summer camps for children of different age groups. The camps allow kids to learn about marine life and conservation. These camps are available for children up to 14 and are led by experienced educators.

The topics include animal behavior, marine habitats, and conservation efforts. The camps include visits to exhibits and behind-the-scenes tours. The camp schedules and fees vary according to age groups.

2. Children and Family Programs

The aquarium hosts many family programs from time to time. These programs allow visitors to have a fun time with their families. These programs change from time to time.

3. Field Trips

This place offers an immersive learning experience through its educational field trip programs. The field trips provide an opportunity to learn about aquatic animals, their habitats, and conservation efforts.

Students can explore the Aquarium’s exhibits and engage in interactive activities. These field trips focus on animal presentations to deepen their understanding of the marine world.

The Aquarium also provides teacher resources and a pre-visit guide to help educators plan their trips.

4. Adult Experiences

The New York Aquarium offers a variety of adult experiences and volunteering opportunities.

5. Newsletters

The place offers an education newsletter for those wishing to know the latest news and events. The newsletter is an excellent resource for teachers, parents, and anyone interested in marine conservation and education. 

Subscribers receive regular updates on upcoming events, new educational resources, and conservation efforts at the aquarium. Subscription is free, and people can unsubscribe at any time.

What are the Events hosted at New York Aquarium?

The aquarium offers unique and exciting venues for private events. People can host weddings, corporate events, and other social gatherings. There is much space for a variety of events.

People can host their events at the Ocean Terrace, Aqua Theater, and the Hudson River Room. All these places offer stunning views of the water and marine life.

Hosts can fill out an online inquiry form and contact the coordinating team to book a space for the below-mentioned events.

1. Corporate Events

The aquarium is an excellent venue for corporate events. People can host meetings, conferences, team-building activities, and product launches. The place offers a unique atmosphere for businesses to connect with their clients, employees, and other stakeholders.

2. Weddings

The event spaces here provide a stunning backdrop for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Multiple event spaces can accommodate weddings of all sizes.

People can host intimate gatherings and large celebrations. The aquarium also offers a variety of catering and bar services.

3. Birthday Parties

The destination offers a unique birthday experience for children with the backdrop of marine life. The birthday party package includes a party host, admission to the aquarium for the whole day, and a private party room.

The party guests will explore the place and participate in age-appropriate activities, including touch tanks and animal feedings.

Hosts can book the party through the official website or by contacting the aquarium’s event team.

4. Social Events

The aquarium is ideal for social events such as anniversaries and other celebrations. Guests can enjoy the exhibits and entertainment while celebrating with their loved ones.

What are the Dining Options at the New York Aquarium?

There are two restaurants here that serve some mouth-watering delicacies. Both dining places have beautiful settings and offer guests a great view of marine life. Also, there are many food options that people can taste here.

Seaside Cafe

Opens at 10 am

The Seaside Cafe is a dining option offering artisan salads and sandwiches. Visitors can also grab a bite of burgers, chicken fingers, oven-fired pizzas, boardwalk fries, and homemade chips.

Snacks and beverages are also available. The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for a quick bite while exploring the aquarium.

Oceanview Bites

Opens at 10 am

Oceanview Bites is a private event rental location that offers a great dining experience on the rooftop of Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Guests can enjoy stunning views of the Coney Island beach and boardwalk while indulging in a delicious meal.

This space is only available for private event rentals. So, it is the best spot for a special occasion or corporate event.

Does New York Aquarium have a Gift Shop?

There are two gift shops, The Oceanic Shop and Shore Shop, here that offer many gifting options to visitors. These gift shops are open daily from 10 am. People can visit these shops and buy souvenirs for their loved ones.

The shops offer a variety of marine-themed merchandise. Visitors can find unique items such as plush marine animals, jewelry, and other aquatic-themed trinkets that make great gifts or keepsakes.

The Oceanic Shop is on the first floor, and the Shore Shop is at the end of the boardwalk in front of the aquarium. Both shops offer a convenient way for visitors to take home a remarkable memory of their visit to the aquarium.

What are the Rescue & Conservation Efforts at New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating marine animals that are sick, injured, or stranded. Here are some of its rescue and conservation efforts.

  • They have a dedicated Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program. This program focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating needy animals and releasing them back into the wild whenever possible.
  • The aquarium also works on several conservation initiatives to protect marine life and their habitats.
  • They focus on conserving local species such as the Atlantic sturgeon and other marine animals worldwide.
  • The team also works to reduce marine debris and ocean plastic pollution.

Is there a Map for New York Aquarium?

Aquariums can be large and overwhelming. So, they often provide visitors with maps to help navigate their way around, and the New York Aquarium is no exception.

It offers a helpful map for visitors to plan their visit and find their way around the exhibits and facilities.

The map is available on the official website of the New York Aquarium under the “Plan Your Visit” section. It provides a detailed aquarium layout and includes all exhibit locations, restrooms, dining options, gift shops, and other vital amenities.

The map also includes information on accessibility and essential safety guidelines.

How to Reach New York Aquarium?

What are the Directions to New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium is in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and is easily accessible by various modes of transportation.

  • Public Transport: Visitors can reach the destination by subway via the F, D, N, and Q trains to the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue Station. This station is located at a short walk from the destination.
  • Private Vehicles: Visitors arriving by car can take the Belt Parkway to exit 6 and follow the signs to the destination.
  • Ferry: Visitors can also take the NYC Ferry to the Coney Island ferry stop. This stop is at a short distance from the aquarium.

Is Parking Available at New York Aquarium?

Limited paid parking is available at the aquarium. Visitors can pay at the parking lot exit or use the pay stations located inside. The parking is not free.

The following parking fees are applicable for parking the vehicles.

  • Up to 3 hours: $18
  • 3-4 Hours: $25
  • Over 4 Hours: $40

Members get a discount on parking. The following rates are applicable for members.

  • Up to 3 Hours: Free
  • 3-4 Hours: $10
  • Over 4 Hours: $20

Is EV Charging available at New York Aquarium?

There are currently no EV charging stations available at the aquarium. Visitors can find public EV charging stations nearby at various locations in Coney Island.

What are the Hotels Near New York Aquarium?

There are several hotels nearby that are great for lodging. Visitors can plan their stay at these hotels according to their preferences.

The Rockaway Hotel (Best Luxury Hotel)

Distance: 7.7 miles

This hotel is close to Rockaway Beach. It offers stunning ocean views and a rooftop bar. The modern and stylish rooms include amenities like flat-screen TVs and minibars.

Hotel Le Bleu (Best Budget Hotel)

Distance: 7.4 miles

Hotel Le Bleu is a boutique hotel in the trendy Park Slope neighborhood. The rooms feature modern amenities. Visitors can access flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. There’s also a rooftop bar with skyline views.

Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park (Best Family-Friendly Hotel)

Distance: 5.6 miles

Wyndham Garden has excellent and comfortable rooms with TVs and free Wi-Fi. Visitors can sit on the rooftop terrace and enjoy access to a fitness center. It is located near Sunset Park, which has a playground and swimming pool.

EVEN Hotel Brooklyn (Best Sustainable Hotel)

Distance: 7.9 miles

This eco-friendly hotel features rooms with wellness amenities like exercise equipment and yoga mats. It also features a fitness center and a healthy restaurant.

Ace Hotel Brooklyn (Best Trendy Hotel)

Distance: 7.9 miles

A trendy hotel features rooms with unique artwork and vintage furniture. Ace Hotel has a rooftop bar and lobby lounge. The hotel also hosts live music and events.

What are the Restaurants Near New York Aquarium?

Various food joints offer visitors great dining options. Here are some food joints that people can try here.

Here are some nearby restaurants and food joints near the New York Aquarium:

Motorino Brooklyn (Best Pizza)

Distance: 0.8 miles

Motorino Brooklyn is known for their delicious brick-oven pizza made with fresh ingredients. They have a variety of pizzas on their menu, including vegan and gluten-free options.

Surf City Pizzeria (Best Fast Food)

Distance: 0.1 miles

Surf City Pizzeria serves delicious pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, and more. They offer fast delivery and have a very diverse menu.

Terraza Restaurant and Lounge (Best Latin American)

Distance: 0.1 miles

Terraza Restaurant and Lounge offer a delicious Latin American menu. This restaurant has a variety of dishes, such as empanadas, tacos, and ceviche. Visitors can enjoy a cozy atmosphere and an excellent service.

Paul’s Daughter (Best Hot Dogs)

Distance: 0.1 miles

Paul’s Daughter is a Coney Island institution. It has served classic hot dogs, fries, and other snacks for over 50 years. They have a great selection of traditional boardwalk treats and are perfect for a quick bite.

Coney’s Cones (Best Desserts)

Distance: 0.2 miles

Coney’s Cones is a great spot for dessert. It serves delicious ice cream, milkshakes, and other frozen treats. Conney’s offers many flavors and toppings. Their outdoor seating lets you enjoy a sweet treat on a warm day.

What are the Attractions Near New York Aquarium?

Visitors must not forget to explore the nearby attractions when visiting the aquarium.

Coney Island

Distance: 0.5 miles

Coney Island is known for its thrilling amusement park rides, such as the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster and the famous Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. Visitors can enjoy the beach, boardwalk, and other attractions, including the New York Aquarium.

Luna Park on Coney Island

Distance: 0.5 miles

Luna Park in Coney Island is a family-friendly amusement park with over 30 rides. It has the famous Cyclone Roller Coaster and the Thunderbolt. Visitors can also enjoy carnival games, delicious food, and annual special events.

The Cyclone Roller Coaster Coney Island

Distance: 0.5 miles

The Cyclone Roller Coaster at Coney Island is a historic wooden roller coaster that has been thrilling riders since 1927. This classic ride features steep drops, hairpin turns and speeds up to 60 mph. It provides an exciting experience for visitors of all ages.

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park (Best View)

Distance: 0.5 miles

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is an iconic Coney Island attraction. It features over 20 rides, including the famous Wonder Wheel. Visitors can also enjoy carnival games, delicious food, and spectacular Coney Island boardwalk and beach views.

Statue of Liberty (Best Landmark)

Distance: 12 miles

The Statue of Liberty is another attraction that visitors must explore. Visitors can hop on a ferry to Liberty Island and explore the statue and its surroundings.

Does New York Aquarium Accept Donations?

The aquarium gratefully accepts donations to support its mission of education, conservation, and animal care. Even small contributions that visitors make can help improve the animals’ lives.

These donations help fund significant research and conservation efforts.

Small contributions will help create a better world for marine animals and their habitats. To donate, please visit the donation page.

What are the Reviews of New York Aquarium?

Visitors of all ages love the aquarium for its fascinating exhibits, educational programs, and conservation efforts. Visitors can check out what other visitors say about this place on Google Reviews and TripAdvisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium is on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City.

Is New York Aquarium free?

No, the New York Aquarium is not free, and admission fees apply, and they vary based on age and other factors.

How much are the tickets for New York Aquarium?

Ticket prices range from $27.95 to $32.95

How big is New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium spans over 14 acres of land.

How long to spend at the New York Aquarium?

Visitors typically spend 2-3 hours exploring the New York Aquarium, although this can vary depending on individual interests and schedules.

Where to park at New York Aquarium?

Parking is available at the New York Aquarium parking lot.

How much is parking at New York Aquarium?

The parking fees are different for members and other visitors. The following parking fees are applicable for regulars. 
Up to 3 hours: $18
3-4 Hours: $25
Over 4 Hours: $40
The following parking rates are applicable for members. 
Up to 3 Hours: Free
3-4 Hours: $10
Over 4 Hours: $20

Is the New York Aquarium worth it?

Yes, the New York Aquarium is a great attraction for visitors of all ages who are interested love exploring marine life. It offers an engaging and educational experience with many exhibits and entertainment options.

Other Nearby Aquariums

A word from FishInAquarium

We hope our readers find all the information about the New York Aquarium to plan their visit with family and friends.

With its diverse marine life, exhibits, and events, the Aquarium promises an unforgettable experience.

Don’t forget to share this information with people looking forward to planning their vacation to this place!

Minnie B Miller - Professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium

About Minnie B Miller

Minnie B. Miller, a professional aquarist and owner of FishInAquarium, has over 8 years of expertise in fish breeding and care, gained through her roles at AquaticTX and Sea Lion Landing. Having honed her skills with various aquatic species, she is dedicated to empowering fellow enthusiasts by sharing her knowledge and experience.