The 7 Best Aquariums in Texas

Written by Jude Speegle
Published: April 29, 2022
Image Credit Olesia Bilkei/Shutterstock.com
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Texas is the second-largest state in America, known for its rich history of cowboys and outlaws. This state makes up a whopping 7% of the United States, so it should be no surprise that there are many aquariums in Texas.

Hot weather and live music are two staples of the Texan way, along with cowboy boots, snakes, and ten-gallon hats. These are what we think of when we think of Texas, and it’s as ingrained in American culture as Florida oranges. So if you’re visiting the state, should a tour of aquariums in Texas also be on your list of experiences in the Lone Star State? Which of its amazing aquariums is the best aquarium in Texas?

There are sixteen aquariums in Texas. Here are seven of them that are must-sees for anyone taking a road trip through Texas. They include:

  • Austin Aquarium
  • Dallas World Aquarium
  • Moody Gardens Aquarium
  • San Antonio Aquarium
  • Sea Center Texas
  • SeaWorld San Antonio
  • Texas State Aquarium

Austin Aquarium

A flying lemur with two babies on her back, balancing on a rope.
Lemurs are available to pet at the Austin Aquarium.

Peter Bocklandt/Shutterstock.com

Austin Aquarium
Address 13530 US-183 #101, Austin, TX 78750
Animal to SeeLemurs
Known ForMermaids

Austin, Texas is a city known for always having live music, fantastic food, and overall weird culture. That weirdness can roll right on down to the Austin Aquarium, which ranks as a contender for the best aquarium in Texas. Texas is a huge state, and Austin is 200 miles away from the coast. The aquarium provides the opportunity to explore the ocean without trekking across the state.

The Austin Aquarium is one of two places in Texas where you can come up to tame lemurs and pet them. A lot of this aquarium is based on interactive learning experiences. It also allows you, if a member, to come along with employees and watch how they prep the aquarium for the day.

There are also mermaid shows where you can watch beautiful mermaids swimming in a tank to make the experience all the more magical.

Dallas World Aquarium

Animals in Movies
The Dallas Aquarium holds the three-toed sloth.

jdross75/Shutterstock.com

Dallas World Aquarium
Address 1801 N Griffin St, Dallas, TX 75202
Animal to SeeThree-Toed Sloths
Known ForExpansive rainforest area

The top level of the Dallas World Aquarium is modeled as a complete rain forest, with animals thriving in a natural habitat. It’s the only place where you can find a three-toed sloth visible to the public in the United States.

Flamingos at Dallas World Aquarium
Dallas World Aquarium has flamingos in its upper level

Si Vo/Shutterstock.com

The lower level is the aquarium, and it contains all sorts of jellyfish, coral, anemones, and more to teach all about sea life. It can be so easy to feel disconnected from the ocean when you aren’t around it, so this is a great way to foster empathy.

Moody Gardens Aquarium

baby-seal-on-sand
The Moody Gardens Aquarium is part of a larger complex.

Nicram Sabod/Shutterstock.com

Moody Gardens Aquarium
Address Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554
Animal to SeeSeals
Known ForBiggest Aquarium in the Southwest

This aquarium is found in the Moody Gardens of Galveston, Texas, and is called the Aquarium Pyramid. It holds 1.5 million gallons of water and showcases seals, penguins, fish, jellyfish, and more.

Moody Gardens Rain forest Pyramid
Moody Gardens are shaped like a pyramid.

Richard Frazier/Shutterstock.com

12-stories high, the Aquarium Pyramid has more than 10,000 animals for your viewing pleasure. Each floor holds animals from different oceans and water life. This aquarium pushes conservation and education above all else. There are many who consider this amazing place to be the best aquarium in Texas!

San Antonio Aquarium

Sharks in Water Header
Swim with the sharks in the San Antonio Aquarium.

Fiona Ayerst/Shutterstock.com

San Antonio Aquarium
Address 6320 Bandera Rd, Leon Valley, TX 78238
Animal to SeeSharks
Known ForMermaids at the Aquarium

Another aquarium that is great fun for the whole family, the San Antonio Aquarium has mermaids to visit and watch swim around in their “natural” habitat. It is also possible to snorkel with stingrays and touch them as they glide past.

This is the second place in Texas where you can pet a ring-tailed lemur, so soft with those big eyes. There is also an experience called “walk the plank,” where you can jump into the water holding sharks and stingrays and have the thrill of a lifetime.

Sea Center Texas

pet fish in tank
Sea Center Texas is obsessed with their saltwater fish.

iStock.com/vojce

Sea Center Texas
Address 302 Medical Dr, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
Animal to SeeFish
Known ForLargest Redfish hatchery in the world

Walking into Sea Center Texas is like walking into a monastery dedicated to fish. FIberglass fixtures of fish hang from the ceiling and spread out in galleries that teach about the oceans they come from.

There are touch pools with natural environments for eager fingers to explore. The aquarium holds all the fish and marine life you can find in Texas to help visitors learn firsthand.

The unique layout of this aquarium makes it fully accessible and interesting, fulling immersing people in the experience.

SeaWorld San Antonio

killer whales swimming side by side
SeaWorld is known for its killer whale displays.
SeaWorld San Antonio
Address 10500 Sea World Dr, San Antonio, TX 78251
Animal to SeeOrcas/Killer Whales
Known ForOrcas/Killer Whales

SeaWorld San Antonio is part water park, part full-time marine life attraction. It is the biggest of the three parks you can find in North America and showcases some of the most impressive animals of any local aquarium to date.

From penguins to dolphins to seals and killer whales, there’s nothing here that would have you lose your interest. Watch sharks in their natural habitats or see penguins conversing with one another. Beluga whales, sea lions, and sea turtles are just a few other animals open to visiting.

Texas State Aquarium

bottlenose dolphin jumping out of the water
Visit dolphins at the Texas State Aquarium.

Tory Kallman/Shutterstock.com

Texas State Aquarium
Address 2710 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402
Animal to SeeAtlantic Bottlenose Dolphins
Known ForCoral Reefs

The Texas State Aquarium is located in Corpus Christi. It is the largest aquarium in the state and is on the list of the biggest in the whole country. There is a 50,000 flower garden, a huge coral reef replica that is important to maintaining much marine life’s natural habitats.

Texas State Aquarium
The Texas State Aquarium is famous for its shark exhibit

Smcafee87 / Creative Commons – License

Dolphin Bay holds 400,000 gallons of water to hold four bottlenosed dolphins while they play and assist in teaching children and other visitors of the Texas State Aquarium.

No matter what you’re looking for, this aquarium has something new to show you, with something you never knew before around every corner. Make sure not to miss the massive shark exhibit that features a replica sunken ship while you’re there!

Aquarium Header

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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.

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