AMER­ICA’S BEST AQUAR­I­UMS AND MA­RINE AT­TRAC­TIONS

Take an aquatic jour­ney to view the won­ders of the world’s oceans.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY JOSEPHINE MATYAS

Across Amer­ica, there are ways to ex­plore the won­ders of the un­der­wa­ter world at aquar­i­ums and ma­rine sites.

Come face-to-face with sharks, st­ingrays, tur­tles and vi­brant trop­i­cal fish at Maui Ocean Cen­ter in Hawaii. In­door-out­door ex­hibits, be­hind-the-scenes tours and in­ter­ac­tive pre­sen­ta­tions in­clude one of the world’s largest dis­plays of live Pa­cific corals, a 2,839,059-litre Open Ocean Ex­hibit fea­tur­ing a walk-through tun­nel, Ma­rine Mam­mal Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter, Tur­tle La­goon and Liv­ing Reef ex­hibits. Mauio­cean­cen­ter.com

At the Ore­gon Coast Aquar­ium on the dra­matic Pa­cific coast­line, a series of tun­nels im­merse vis­i­tors in the re­gion’s ma­rine life. Sub­merged and above-wa­ter view­ing win­dows pro­vide a glimpse into the world of seals and sea lions. Guests can sched­ule an encounter with a gi­ant Pa­cific oc­to­pus and the new moon jelly pro­gram of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to get hands-on with an­cient sea jel­lies. Aquar­ium.org

Cal­i­for­nia’s world-class Mon­terey Bay Aquar­ium is a must-stop with enor­mous tanks filled with rays, sharks, jel­ly­fish, trop­i­cal fish and crea­tures of ev­ery shape and size. Catch the daily sea ot­ter, shark and pen­guin feed­ings. Mon­terey­bayaquar­ium.org

Idaho’s Aquar­ium of Boise houses 132,489 litres of salt­wa­ter and more than 250 species of an­i­mals and ma­rine life. High­lights in­clude the shark and ray pool, an Ama­zon ex­hibit, shark nurs­ery, tide pools and a newly ex­panded rep­tile ex­hibit. Aquar­i­um­boise.net

Unique ex­pe­ri­ences at Den­ver’s Down­town Aquar­ium bring hu­mans closer to the wa­tery world of fish and ma­rine mam­mals. The aquar­ium houses more than 500 species of fish and ma­rine an­i­mals, along with an in­ter­ac­tive st­ingray reef touch tank, an un­der­wa­ter mer­maid show and a shark div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that’s as easy as snorkelling (for kids eight and over). Down­town Aquar­ium is part of the Den­ver CITYPASS pro­gram. Down­tow­naquar­ium.com

At the Texas State Aquar­ium, travel on an aquatic jour­ney from the Gulf of Mex­ico shores out into the open sea to encounter thou­sands of an­i­mals rep­re­sent­ing more than 360 species. The aquar­ium has dive shows, an­i­mal feed­ings, a 1,514,165-litre shark ex­hibit, starfish and urchin touch tanks and hands-on pro­grams with sharks and st­ingrays. Tex­as­stateaquar­ium.org

With the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay on ei­ther side, the Na­tional Aquar­ium in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land, fea­tures three pavil­ions and more than 700 species of fish, birds, am­phib­ians, rep­tiles and mam­mals. Meet a mas­sive green sea tur­tle, search the rain­for­est canopy for elu­sive sloths and touch the slip­pery smooth belly of a moon jelly. Aqua.org

Us­ing house-size tanks filled with skates, rays, sharks and fish, the North Carolina Aquar­ium tells the wa­tery story of the Outer Banks en­vi­ron­ment. Ncaquar­i­ums.com

Vis­i­tors to Ri­p­ley’s Aquar­ium in Myr­tle Beach, South Carolina, can en­joy a st­ingray ex­pe­ri­ence, ray bay and a glass-bot­tom boat ad­ven­ture. Ri­p­leyaquar­i­ums.com/myrtle­beach

The Ge­or­gia Sea Tur­tle Cen­ter on Jekyll Is­land is pri­mar­ily a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and wildlife hos­pi­tal open to the pub­lic. About 2,200 sea tur­tles nest along a 160-kilo­me­tre stretch of Ge­or­gia coast­line. The cen­tre’s stressed “pa­tients” un­dergo treat­ment and most will be re­leased back into the wild. Ge­or­giasea­turtle­cen­ter.org

The Bai­ley-matthews Na­tional Shell Mu­seum on Florida’s Sani­bel Is­land is the only mu­seum in the na­tion solely de­voted to shells and the mol­lusks that make them. Sani­bel Is­land is one of the best seashell­col­lect­ing spots in the world and the mu­seum ex­hibits shells from around the globe. Shell­mu­seum.org

©2015 Na­tional Aquar­ium

PHOTO: Guests en­joy the Liv­ing Seashore ex­hibit at the Na­tional Aquar­ium.

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