New York Aquarium-New York City’s only and the oldest continually operating aquarium in the U.S.-on Coney Island supports the Wildlife Conservation Society’s mission to save wildlife and wild places around the globe. Education programs compliment exhibits with over 8,000 animals in their efforts. The New York Aquarium first opened in 1896 in Manhattan’s Battery Park, and moved to Coney Island, Brooklyn in 1957. The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo.
The Society’s environmental mission to protect wild life is evident throughout the aquarium’s educational, hands-on exhibits. Visit any time because the New York Aquarium is open 365 days a year. At Conservation Hall, guests can view exhibits on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s research and conservation work and see marine life from the Caribbean’s Glover’s Reef ecosystem swimming in a 165,000-gallon tank.
The Sea Cliffs is the recreation of a rocky North Pacific coastal habitat featuring penguins, Northern fur seals, walruses and other marine animals. After seeing the animals outdoors, visitors should head to the underground portion to catch the animals swimming underwater.
At the Aqua theater, sea lion training demonstrations occur throughout the day. Guests can also watch scheduled feeding sessions for the sharks, penguins, and other animals.
Explore the Shore is an interactive exhibit about the ocean, complete with a wave machine and an electric eel. The Salt March exhibit in this gallery recreates the Jamaica Bay wetlands and explains the importance of salt marshes. The Jamaica Bay touch pool is a favorite place to interact with sea life. Corals, anemones and jellies swim in the Alien Stingers exhibit, one of the only permanent jellyfish exhibits in a U.S. aquarium.
The Bathysphere is displayed in the plaza. William Beebe, naturalist and Bronx Zoo curator, and deep-sea diver Otis Barton, used this metal undersea vessel in 1934 to explore the deep sea, breaking the world wide diving record of the time. The New York Aquarium also features the Deep Sea 3-D ride, simulating an underwater submarine expedition tracking giant squid and a sperm whale.
Visit the New York Aquarium web site for updated hours of operation and ticket prices. Free entrance to the New York Aquarium is just one of many included attractions, museums and tours when you purchase the New York Pass.
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by Andrea M. Meek