The 2 Best Aquariums in Pennsylvania

Written by Jude Speegle
Updated: May 5, 2022
Image Credit Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com
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Pennsylvania has always been a critical state in America, the backbone of the industrial revolution and home to handmade Amish goods- but what are some of the best aquariums in Pennsylvania? Water is an integral part of Pennsylvania, with 120 miles of coastal waters and more than 4,000 lakes and rivers. That’s why there are two important aquariums you can visit in Pennsylvania. Those aquariums are:

  • Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den
  • Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

If you’re ready to learn about the waterways and animals that make up the Pennsylvania locale, then visiting these two aquariums can help educate you. Let’s take a closer look at the best aquariums in Pennsylvania!

Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den

best Aquariums in Pennsylvania
The Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den houses reef sharks for you to view and learn about.

Maui Topical Images/Shutterstock.com

Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den
Address 300 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton, PA 18503
Animal to SeeOctopus
Known ForShark Reef Exhibit

Walking through the entrance to the Electric City Aquarium, you are thrust into a dimmed world where the best light displays come from the tanks all around you. The walls mimic stone and coral, and the tanks spread across the expanse of the walls and hallways.

It would take about two hours to see all there is to see in this aquarium, with more than 20,000 square feet of animals to be educated on. We experience so much through television and the internet that it’s nice to take a break and see things with our own eyes and feel them with our own hands.

A few attractions include the incredible octopus, one of the world’s most intelligent animals. Octopi are known for having eight arms and large brains, ready to tackle complex problems in ways most animals are not.

Sharks also inhabit the Electric City Aquarium within the Shark Reef, so learn all about the wonder of these predators of the deep. Watch them glide on past and know they aren’t as vicious as all the stories claim. Like any other animal, they just seek to survive.

As you wander, don’t forget to check out the touch tanks where you can feel the smooth skin of the stingray or the spotted skin of a starfish. 

Other exhibits include:

  • Ray Bay
  • Catfish Cove
  • Gator Alley
  • Coral Reef
  • & whatever current special exhibit is happening!

No matter what you’re after, the Electric City Zoo & Reptile Den has more than enough to keep you entertained and educated. 

Conservation

best Aquariums in Pennsylvania
It would take about two hours to see all there is to see in these Pennsylvania aquariums, with more than 20,000 square feet of animals to be educated on.

Jakgapong Pengjank/Shutterstock.com

Conservation is crucial to this aquarium. Their mission is to help their community in both education and taking care of the animals and plant life around them. What we do each day truly makes an effect long term, so simple changes and knowledge can make a difference.

This aquarium regularly donates to:

  • Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol
  • Wildlife Warriors
  • Project Seahorse
  • Oceana
  • Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center

This means a portion of their profits contributes to those looking to help save sea turtles, seahorses, protect the ocean, and helps with the research of animals. This aquarium does its part to make a difference around the world.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

best aquariums in pennsylvania
The PPG Aquarium is diverse in its collection of marine life.

Vladimir Gjorgiev/Shutterstock.com

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Address 7370 Baker St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Animal to SeePolar Bear
Known ForBeing one of six major zoo/aquarium combinations

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is one of six major zoo and aquarium blends in the United States, where they put in as much effort into the zoo as the aquarium. Located at the back right of the park.

The aquarium was built in 1967 and was renovated in the early aughts. It holds quite a few exhibits that explore the biodiversity of Pennsylvania and waters all around the world. It is two stories with an extended outdoor enclosure that is made to look like a small coastal village.

These house outdoor animals such as polar bears, seals, sea lions, river otters, and penguins. Uniquely, these exhibits go below, so when the animals swim in the clean waters, they are also visible to the patrons visiting. You can watch them dive, swim, and play.

Polar bears are the rulers of the arctic, mighty bears with insulated skin and water-repelling fur that roam solitary and hunt sea lions and other arctic creatures. 

Seeing them in their massive habitat and tank is like transporting yourself to a separate part of the world. They play and entertain themselves like any other animals on display in the aquarium and zoo.

Diversity in Water

best aquariums in pennsylvania
The PPG Aquarium holds quite a few exhibits that explore the biodiversity of Pennsylvania and waters all around the world.

K.Pock Pics/Shutterstock.com

Once you enter the aquarium, you see dozens of exhibits, displays, and animals to experience. If you love Finding Nemo, you will be thrilled to see the clownfish and blue tang. The walkway through which you enter the aquarium leaves you watching all the marine life dancing above and around.

There is a stingray tank where you can drift your fingers across the gliding creatures for those who itch to feel what particular marine life is touchable. Walking through the aquarium tunnel is surrounding yourself with ocean life.

Feel free to wander and see all there is to see, so many fish and animals coinciding alongside each other. There are jellyfish, sharks, sea stars, and even an arapaima, which is one of the world’s largest fish and native to the Amazon.

The theme of the PPG aquarium is “Diversity of Water”, which is why you will find such a huge variety of fish and other life. There are exhibits that showcase different ecosystems around the world. These include a coral reef, a tropical rainforest section, one containing Pennsylvanian wildlife, one for penguins and their habitats, and an open ocean section.

Conservation

There are current activities supported and initiated by the PPG aquarium. Recently they captured injured sea turtles and rehabilitated them before releasing them back into the wild. They call it the “Sea Turtle Second Chance Program.”

The PPG Aquarium has supported more than 245 initiatives across the world to help conservation efforts. Some efforts include:

  • Educating what seafood to eat
  • Coral Conservation
  • Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation
  • Ocelot conservation
  • Elephant conservation
  • African Primate Protection

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats. The birds are named Scoresby, George Michael, and Ketchup Packet. The cats are named Theo, Oatmeal, and Polly.

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