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The Key West Aquarium

Located in historic Old Town Key West, Florida, the Key West Aquarium is a great destination for people of all ages who want to learn about and experience the beauty of marine life. Filled with a variety of tanks and exhibits featuring tropical fish and other local marine animals, the aquarium provides an up-close look at some of the most interesting species living in the ocean.

The Key West Aquarium.

Established in 1933, the historic Key West Aquarium offers a unique glimpse into the underwater world. Visitors can get up close and personal with beautiful sea life such as stingrays, grouper, seahorses, and moray eels. It’s the perfect place to explore the undersea world while staying on dry ground.

The Touch Tank inside of the Key West Aquarium.

Touch Tank

The touch tank offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures.  At the petting pool, guests can interact with friendly and low-maintenance animals such as sea stars, conchs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, giant hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs. It’s a great place for budding marine biologists to learn and explore.

Person reaching in a touch tank to touch a sea shell.

Daily Feedings and Tours

To make the most of your time, schedule your visit during one (or more!) of the daily shark feedings tours. The tours are a great way to learn more about the history of the aquarium, the first opened air aquarium in the United States.

9:30
AM
North Gallery – Florida Keys Ecosystem
Presentation
1:45
PM
Touch Tank Tour
9:45
AM
Atlantic Shores Gamefish Tour and Feeding2:15
PM
Virtual Offshore Environmental Experience
10:15
AM
Virtual Offshore Environmental Experience2:30
PM
North Gallery – Florida Keys Ecosystem
Presentation
10:45
AM
Sharks! Feeding and Conservation Tour2:45
PM
Sharks! Feeding and Conservation Tour
11:15
AM
Sea Turtle Conservation Tour3:15
PM
Sea Turtle Conservation Tour
11:45
AM
Invasive Species Tour3:45
PM
Invasive Species Tour
12:15
PM
Virtual Offshore Environmental Experience4:15
PM
Virtual Offshore Environmental Experience
12:30
PM
North Gallery – Florida Keys Ecosystem
Presentation
4:30
PM
North Gallery – Florida Keys Ecosystem
Presentation
12:45
PM
Sharks! Feeding and Conservation Tour4:45
PM
Atlantic Shores Gamefish Tour and Feeding
1:15
PM
Sea Turtle Conservation Tour
A large fish in an aquarium.

Sea Turtle Conservation

The aquarium is more than just a place to observe aquatic life—it’s also home to the Sea Turtle Conservation Program, which works to protect and rehabilitate endangered sea turtles.

The Aquarium is connected to the Turtle Hospital and Florida Sea Turtle Stranding Network, which includes state agencies, universities, and marine parks. They collaborate to provide care and rehabilitation of injured sea turtles. Visitors learn more about the aquarium’s role in the conservation of these species during the Sea Turtle Conseravation Tour.

There are several turtles at the aquarium who are on the mend including some who will live permanently at the aquarium due to their injuries. Visitors can learn more about these gentle creatures on educational tours, which include interactive exhibits and activities.

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle: Lola

The aquarium has its own resident Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and her name is Lola. Originally found on a beach in Texas with predatory bites on her front right flipper, she was rehabilitated in Port Aransas for 11 months and then later released back to the wild.

The next day, she wound up back on the beach, entangled in fishing line. The line was so tight around her front right flipper it had to be amputated. Today, she lives at the Key West Aquarium and has a prosthetic flipper that she swims with during the day.

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle exhibit at the Key West Aquarium.

The Atlantic Shores Exhibit

Step through the doors at the aquarium to the Atlantic Shores Exhibit, a “cross section of a near shore mangrove environment. The 50,000 gallon tank features a variety of tropical fish, game fish, and sea turtles. 

Mangroves are tropical shrubs or trees that grow in salt water. What stands out about their appearance is their long roots (prop roots) which not only help the trees during tidal waves and storm surges but also create a habitat for marine life.

Box turtle in an aquarium.

Our Take on the Key West Aquarium

If you are looking for something like Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, the Tennessee Aquarium, or the Georgia Aquarium, you will be in for a surprise. The Key West Aquarium is quaint and historic. It is on one level and takes about 45 minutes to an hour to explore without going on any of the tours. One thing that sets it apart is that it is located at the edge of the water and has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Tickets and Hours

Tickets are $11.99 for children ages 4-12. (Under 4 are admitted free.) Adult tickets are $20.99 per person. You can save up to 5% by ordering online and purchasing combo tickets with other Key West attractions.

The aquarium is open daily from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm. (It is even open during holidays.) The latest admission to the aquarium is at 5:30 pm.

Location

The Key West Aquarium is located at 1 Whitehead Street, about a 3-minute walk from the famous Mallory Square. If you ride the Duval Loop, get off at stop #4 at the corner of Greene Street and Whitehead Street. (It’s only 1 block to the aquarium from the stop.)

Inside Look

Check out this YouTube video by FantabulousTravels to get an inside look at the aquarium.

YouTube video

For more information on the aquarium and its various activities, please visit their website at www.keywestaquarium.com. For more fun things to do in Key West, visit Be sure to check out The Florida Keys and Key West website.

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