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Guide to Visiting New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium, the only aquarium in the city, is located on the Coney Island boardwalk. Are you going to miss it?

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

8 min read

Guide to Visiting New York Aquarium

Façade of the New York Aquarium at Coney Island | © Zizi Guegan

Visiting the New York Aquarium is a very entertaining plan that you can do during your trip to New York to spend a different day getting into nature and disconnecting for a few moments from the asphalt jungle. Whether with your family or on your own, you will have a great time and learn a lot about the care of the oceans.

This is a very curious place to see as they have recreated the natural habitats of a multitude of aquatic species in detail and the result is amazing. Did you know that more than 500 marine species live here? There is a lot to explore inside the aquarium! So don't wait any longer and get your tickets. I'll tell you the most important things you should know.

1. How to get tickets to the New York Aquarium? What kind of tickets are there?

Some species of the New York Aquarium| ©Kai Brinker
Some species of the New York Aquarium| ©Kai Brinker

The first thing you should know if you want to visit the New York Aquarium is that you will have to buy tickets online and in advance of the day of the visit, since the aquarium requires that at the time of purchase all visitors choose a time and date to take the tour.

That is to say, as it happens in the Bronx Zoo, you will not be able to enter the New York Aquarium without having purchased a previously scheduled visit. This step is essential since you will not be allowed access to the facilities without having reserved your day and time in advance.

Types of tickets

That said, what kind of tickets are available to tour the New York Aquarium?

  • Adult (over 13 years old): From $24
  • Senior (over 65 years old): From $21
  • Children (ages 3 to 12): From $19

These tickets are for one-time use only, so if you leave the New York Aquarium and try to go later in the day you will not be allowed entry due to capacity limitations.

Buy tickets for the New York Aquarium

2. Is it possible to visit the New York Aquarium with a New York City Sightseeing Pass?

New York Sightseeing Pass| ©Hellotickets
New York Sightseeing Pass| ©Hellotickets

That's right! If you plan to visit the New York Aquarium during your stay in the city, you won't need to buy a ticket if you have the New York Sightseeing Flex Pass (from 64 ¤ in Hellotickets) or the New York Sightseeing Pass (from 125 ¤ in Hellotickets).

Which pass to choose?

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass: Perfect for travelers on a tight budget or who have been to New York before and prefer to see just a few sights.
  • New York Sightseeing Pass: Ideal for travelers who are visiting New York for the first time and want to get the most out of their trip or for those who like to see the sights on the go without a set sightseeing plan.

If you want to know more about New York tourist cards and all their advantages when exploring a city like this, I advise you to take a look at the post The best New York tourist card as there you will find a detailed analysis of each one.

Buy the New York Sightseeing Pass

We compare in the table at a glance the price of the tourist passes that allow you to enter the New York Aquarium

  • New York Sightseeing Flex Pass
  • You will be able to New York Aquarium
  • Access to up to 12 attractions
  • Duration 60 days
  • You will save around 50% when you see 2 attractions per day.
  • Booking
  • New York Sightseeing Pass
  • Access to the New York Aquarium
  • Access to 100 attractions
  • Duration from 1 to 10 days
  • You will save around 70% when you see 3 places per day.
  • Booking

3. Can I get free admission to the New York Aquarium?

Catching Jellyfish| ©Lou Bueno
Catching Jellyfish| ©Lou Bueno

Yes, every Wednesday from 3 PM admission is free. However, as with Aquarium Admission tickets, you also need to book your tickets online in advance to visit the New York Aquarium for free.

This is because you still need to choose a time and date to take the tour. In other words, you have to schedule the visit even if it won't cost you a dollar.

Being free, Wednesdays are very busy days so if you choose to visit the New York Aquarium on this day, my advice is to choose an early hour to avoid the crowds.

Each visitor can reserve a maximum of 4 tickets on Wednesdays and everyone will have to have their ticket to gain access to the grounds from age 3 and up.

Only children under 3 years old can enter for free any day of the week at the New York Aquarium.

4. When is the New York Aquarium open?

New York Aquarium Sea Lion| ©Reading Tom
New York Aquarium Sea Lion| ©Reading Tom

The New York Aquarium usually opens at 10 AM every day of the year and closes at different times depending on the season. We see it at a glance!

  • Summer through Labor Day
  • Hours of operation
  • 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Open every day
  • From September 8 to October 31
  • Hours of operation
  • 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday
  • 10 AM to 4:30 Weekends and holidays
  • From November 1 to the end of March
  • Hours of operation
  • From 10 AM to 3:30 PM
  • Every day

5. How much time do you need to see the New York Aquarium?

Map of the New York Aquarium| ©Zoe
Map of the New York Aquarium| ©Zoe

Normally, visits to the New York Aquarium last 1 to 2 hours, but once you enter the Aquarium you can stay as long as you like to see the exhibits and marine shows - there's so much to discover at the New York Aquarium!

On the one hand, you can learn about the life of the different marine creatures that live in the aquarium's ponds and tanks (sharks, octopuses, manta rays, sea otters, jellyfish...) as well as watch them go about their daily lives.

On the other hand, you will have the opportunity to attend very cool shows where you can watch the otters feeding or the sea lions doing acrobatics, they are the real stars of the aquarium!

6. Is it a recommended experience to go to the New York Aquarium with children?

Aquatheater show for children and adults at the New York Aquarium| ©Shinya Suzuki
Aquatheater show for children and adults at the New York Aquarium| ©Shinya Suzuki

Of course it is, and I would even say for adults as well. In fact, it is one of the most entertaining activities that you can do with your family during your trip to New York to disconnect a little from the cultural visits or historical tours that you do in the city.

Visiting the New York Aquarium is a unique opportunity for children to spend a different day and enjoy New York in a different way, more in line with their tastes and the desire to have fun that kids always have.

The New York Aquarium is full of exhibits that are organized in a fun and age-appropriate way so that the aquarium tour is never boring. This way children can get close to nature and learn almost as a game about the importance of taking care of the environment to protect the habitat of all the friendly animals they will meet there.

In addition, it also has great shows with otters or sea lions as protagonists and play areas such as Playquarium where kids can transform into sharks and learn about the underwater world.

They will have such a great time at the New York Aquarium seeing so many aquatic creatures up close that it will be an indelible memory of their trip to the city.

7. What not to miss at the New York Aquarium?

Shark Space at the New York Aquarium| ©Kai Brinker
Shark Space at the New York Aquarium| ©Kai Brinker

Inside the New York Aquarium there are many spaces to see but some of the ones you can't miss during your visit are:

  • Spineless: In this exhibit you will see some of the most curious invertebrates that populate our oceans and seas such as Pacific octopuses, moon jellyfish, zombie worms or the Japanese spider crab.

  • Ocean Wonders, Sharks!: Enter a shark-infested aquarium near the Coney Island boardwalk to meet such amazing animals as sharks, sea turtles and manta rays.

  • Aquatheater: See sea lions perform difficult acrobatic stunts on stage with their trainers and get a close-up look at them and even say hello!

  • Sea Cliffs: In this exhibit you will see species that usually live on the rocky coasts, such as seals, black-footed penguins, sea otters or sea lions. They are adorable!

  • Glover's Reef: One of my favorites! You will see a great diversity of fish of all colors, shapes and sizes that will leave you with your mouth open. Keep an eye out for piranhas!

8. Some useful tips to visit the New York Aquarium

Clownfish from the New York Aquarium| ©Shinya Suzuki
Clownfish from the New York Aquarium| ©Shinya Suzuki
  • Don't forget to book your tickets online in advance to the New York Aquarium. Even if you go on Wednesdays for free. All visitors must have a ticket with a specific date and time for the visit.

  • Download the aquarium map to your cell phone or print it out to easily find your way around the aquarium.

  • When you arrive at the New York Aquarium, check the Aquarium's website on your cell phone to see all the exhibits and shows available on the day of your visit.

  • It is forbidden to feed the aquarium animals or touch the vegetation.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes during your visit to the aquarium because you will be walking around a lot.

  • Do not use your camera flash to take pictures of the animals as you may disturb them and alter their behavior.

9. How to get to the New York Aquarium?

New York Subway| ©Malvina Battiston
New York Subway| ©Malvina Battiston

The New York Aquarium is located in Coney Island (at 602 Surf Avenue Brooklyn). To get there I recommend taking public transportation.

  • New York Subway: Take the F or Q line to the West 8th Street station in Coney Island. You can also take the N or D lines to the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station.
  • Bus: Take the B36 to Surf Avenue and West 8th Street or the B68 to Neptune Avenue and West 8th Street. Then walk south on West 8th to Surf Avenue.

10. Where to eat at the New York Aquarium?

Snacks available at the Park| ©Oscar Nord
Snacks available at the Park| ©Oscar Nord

Before going to the New York Aquarium I recommend you to have breakfast or lunch so that hunger does not surprise you in the middle of the visit. However, if you get the itch once you are there, you don't have to rush out of the aquarium because there are several places where you can have a drink and recharge your batteries.

Places to eat at the New York Aquarium

  • Food Truck: Serves drinks and tasty snacks such as chicken nuggets, hamburgers, fries and salads. You'll find it at the Aquarium Plaza.
  • Oceanview Bites: Ideal for a seafood bite overlooking the boardwalk, waterfront and city skyline. It is located on the rooftop above the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit.
  • Oceanside Grill: This is the aquarium restaurant located next to the beach. They serve especially seafood. A great place to go after visiting the Aquarium.

And if gastronomy is your thing, I recommend this article on where to eat in New York to continue exploring the culinary delights of the city of skyscrapers.