What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Niagara Falls? Water; lots and lots of water. So, it is only fitting that Niagara Falls also has an aquarium filled with over 200 species of different marine animals swimming around its 30 fantastic exhibitions.
Opened in 1965 by a group of scientists, the aquarium is now run on a nonprofit basis and has been since 1977. The main goal of the aquarium is to help educate the general public on marine conservation through a number of exhibitions and talks. More than half the animals at the aquarium are in fact rescued and are deemed to be not releasable, as they would not have anywhere else to go.
The aquarium doesn’t just try to champion conservation and rescue in addition to its own ethics, it also hopes to instil these values in every visitor through education and outreach. They offer a multitude of different programs aimed at children, including sleepovers, lectures, and classes that teach them how fragile and special the oceans and marine ecosystems can be. They hope that in speaking directly to the next generation will have a long and lasting effect in the world. It’s not all books and no play though, the trained staff is also on hand to provide more hands-on learning experiences and you can meet and interact with the seals or penguins whilst being given an in-depth and factual talk on the dangers they face in the wild and how you can help. If you want something a little less boisterous, there is also a touch tank, filled with fine crustaceans awaiting a cheeky poke or two from kids and adults alike.
In 2018 the aquarium will be unveiling its brand-new exhibition; at over 3,000 square feet, the new Humboldt penguin enclosure is the biggest construction project the aquarium has ever undertaken. The penguins that are all living in a temporary exhibit on the second floor couldn’t be more excited to get into their new home, and the team is busy making preparations and even planning to add to the family now they know they have a safe environment for more rescued animals.
One of the visitors’ favourite attractions at the aquarium are currently the Californian sea lions, who star in their very own sea lion show, where they get a chance to show off all their latest moves. The seals are almost entirely rescued from the wild and the aquarium is the largest sanctuary for blind seals in the country.
Wheelchair access is available at the back entrance of the aquarium and a free wheelchair hire service is provided.
Admission and Opening Hours
Admission begins at $13 for adults and $9 for children, senior citizens are given a discounted rate of $11.25, and children under the age of 2 are admitted free.
The aquarium is open 7 days a week all year round from 9:00am to 6:00pm Sunday to Thursday and from 9:00am to 7:00pm Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Last admission is at 4:30pm.
The Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, Phone: 716-285-3575