The New York Aquarium ~ an Ocean Adventure without Getting Wet!




The exhibit ‘Ocean Wonders: Sharks!’

The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, located on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island, Brooklyn. It was founded at Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896, and moved to Coney Island in 1957. New Yorkers seem to be swimming with the sharks a lot more than we use to. We thought it might be a good idea to learn more, and take a closer look from a safe place, inside The New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

The aquarium used to be housed in Castle Clinton in Battery Park. Image taken before 1923, via Wikipedia.

The original New York Aquarium at Castle Clinton in The Battery housed only 150 specimens. It closed in 1941 in preparation for the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Many of the Aquarium’s sea creatures had to be housed at the Bronx Zoo until a new facility was built.

Early rendering of the New York Aquarium via NYC Parks

The Aquarium in Coney Island opened its doors in 1957, occupying fourteen-acres, with 266 species of aquatic wildlife, and a mission to raise public awareness about issues facing the ocean and its inhabitants.

The Aquarium sustained enormous damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which severely flooded the facility and shut down power. A small group of WCS staff who remained onsite during the hurricane were able to save 90 percent of the animals in the collection As a result, construction on the exhibit, Ocean Wonders: Sharks! was delayed. It ultimately broke ground in January 2014 and opened on June 30, 2018, becoming the first major exhibit at the New York Aquarium to open after Hurricane Sandy.

The Aquarium closed again for four month in March 2020, but was able to reopen in July of that year, with the new exhibit Spineless‘, dedicated to invertebrate marine species.

The exhibit ‘Spineless’ Image via

And now the newest exhibit. Sea Change ~ where visitors can experience underwater views of sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and penguins as they swim up to the glass to get a closer look at YOU!

When you step inside the exhibit Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, viewers can visit over 115 marine species, and 18 different kinds of sharks and rays including Sand Tiger Sharks, Sandbar Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Zebra Sharks, Blacktop Reef Sharks, Cownose Rays and Loggerhead Sea Turtles, to name a few ~ all within a more than 500,000 gallon ‘tunnel’. The 57,000-square-foot exhibit will teach viewers about the world of sharks, the important role they play and the threats they face.

The waters off the coast of New York are teeming with fascinating marine life including sharks, rays, and turtles. In our Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit, there are over 18 different species of sharks and rays that are local to New York. Come and see if you can spot them all.

In the new exhibit Sea Change, the California sea lions and harbor seals swim right up to the glass to take a closer look at visitors. Climate change and the effect it has on their natural habitats is an important theme of the exhibit. Learn about the steps we can take to protect them from the threats they face in the wild.

Young children can explore a kelp forest, coral reef, and the sandy shore in the bilingual exhibit Playquarium. Here they will get hands-on with marine animals at the Touch Pool.

In the interactive show at the Aquatheater, sea lions take center stage.

The outdoor exhibit Sea Cliffs houses sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals and penguins.

The New York Aquarium is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), along with the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo.

The Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of WCS. As part of WCS, the Aquarium’s mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

The New York Seascape program, based out of the aquarium, is WCS’s local conservation program designed to restore healthy populations of marine species and protect New York waters, which are vital to the area’s economic and cultural vitality.

The Aquarium fulfills the wider goals of the Wildlife Conservation Society by raising public awareness about environmental issues facing the ocean and its ecosystem. The Aquarium’s Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences (OLMS) has been involved in studies looking at dolphin cognition, satellite tagging of sharks and coral reefs.

The Aquarium also is home to one of Coney Island’s most important public artworks, the 332-foot long, ten-foot tall cast-concrete “Symphony of the Sea” sculpture wall by artist Toshio Sasaki (one of the eight finalists of the Ground Zero Memorial competition) that was installed on the boardwalk outside the Aquarium in 1992. The free-standing wall features terrazzo and ceramic shapes with motifs of ocean waves, fishes, and zygotes evocative of the evolution of marine life. The four-ton piece was sponsored by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art program, and was installed to celebrate the Aquarium’s Sea Cliffs Exhibition.

The Aquarium is a frequent site for school field trips. They offer summer camp for kids, educational opportunities for teens, and volunteer opportunities for adults ~ and the Aquarium is available for birthday parties.

All exhibits are officially open. Reserve a date-specific ticket.

The New York Aquarium is located at 602 Surf Avenue in Brooklyn

The New York Aquarium is located at 602 Surf Avenue in Brooklyn ~ an easy ride on the Q & F Trains. Follow The New York Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

3 thoughts on “The New York Aquarium ~ an Ocean Adventure without Getting Wet!

  1. Hi,i try to get info to visit,but bc I have to go to a store to get tickets it’s hard,im disabled and traveling is difficult for me to go get tickets then there’s a date where i can get in the zoo,or aquarium, can I order tha tickets online?

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