Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Travel: The New York Aquarium in Coney Island, NY

Back in August, we took a much anticipated day trip to play tourists in Coney Island!  To stick with the theme, we did all of the popular things to do including Deno's Wonderwheel Amusement Park, eating at Nathan's, and visiting the New York Aquarium.

The New York Aquarium is a place that is talked about in my family all of the time thanks to an adventure my father had as a child.  At a very young age, my dad hopped the fence to the penguin exhibit and was just chilling with the aquatic birds!  Despite hearing this story over and over again, I never took the time to visit until this past Summer. 

everything you need to know about the new york aquarium in brooklyn

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New York Aquarium | Brooklyn, NY

Where is the best place to stay?

There are many places to stay in the area, but the Best Western Brooklyn-Coney Island Inn (link) is the only one right in the heart of the action!  As a double bonus and exceptionally rare for the city, it comes with free ONSITE parking.

everything you need to know about the new york aquarium in brooklyn

Prices, Parking, & Reservations

There are two ways to enter the New York Aquarium.  For a fee, you can drive into their parking lot and enter through the front gates.  The second way is to find public parking nearby and then enter through the side entrance located on Riegelmann Boardwalk.  For those taking a day trip like us, it is super convenient to pay the $40 daily parking rate.  You're then free to explore Coney Island to your heart's content and retrieve your car at your own convenience.  The parking meter is a machine and does making following aquarium hours necessary.

While there are several options for parking and entering, there is only one current option to purchase tickets (link).  They must be done in advance and made with a very specific reservation that lists the time and date of your visit.  Ticket prices shown in the picture above are average for New York, but come with very little.  Your ticket comes with admission, a short, live show in the arena, and one 4-d experience.

**Please note, as of 9/13, they now require proof of vaccination for all guests ages 12+**  sigh..

everything you need to know about the new york aquarium in brooklyn

Exhibits & Things to Do

There are several indoor and outdoor exhibits to explore.
1.  The "Spineless" exhibit.  This is the home of the anticipated, super hyped up, yet highly disappointing, giant pacific octopus.
2.  Ocean Wonders: Sharks!
3.  Conservation Hall
4.  PlayQuarium.  This was closed due to COVID during our visit.
5.  Sea Cliffs.  This is the outdoor exhibit with the sea lions, otters, penguins, and seals.

The New York Aquarium also offers a live sea lion show at their outdoor aquatheater.  The animals were adorable and the trainers seemed to really love what they do.  That being said, the show is very short.  As in, it probably took us longer to enter and exit then it did for us to watch.  It also plays at very limited times throughout the day.  If you don't plan accordingly, you will miss this show.

As you're leaving, don't forget to stop by the 4-D theater located next to the parking lot.  This is where you'll watch an interactive video that's educational and probably existed when my dad hopped the penguin fence.

What was your favorite part of the visit?

There were really two things that stood out to me at the New York Aquarium.

1.  When everyone was mesmerized by the sharks, I couldn't stop staring at the really intimidating Japanese Spider Crab!  This guy was HUGE.  As in, GIGANTIC.  The beastly crustacean really looks like a spider and has these two eyes that were wiggling all around and in different directions at the same time.  As much as I was scared, I couldn't look away!

2.  The second thing that shocked me was the overlook at the Oceanview Bites restaurant.  We didn't eat here because of the ridiculous prices, but I had to walk all the way up just for the view!  We were able to see the boardwalk, the famous rides, the beach, the ocean, and all the way to a neighboring land that I think might be New Jersey.  It really was an unexpected highlight.

Would you recommend a visit to the New York Aquarium?

Maybe?  It didn't live up to the hype, but it was still a great time.  If you're playing tourist for the day, I would recommend adding it to your itinerary.  I would not recommend it if you're going just for a trip to an aquarium.

Have you ever been to an aquarium?


  1. Why do they need the proof of vaccination with a vaccine whose trial period isn't even over??? What is wrong with just everybody wearing masks? I swear we would riot here if they ever force us to do things your government forces you!

    1. I can't answer that question b/c there is no logical explanation. I'm literally sick over everything that's going on here, and these vaccine cards, are just the start of it. We should riot over here! I'll be first in line!

  2. We have a newer aquarium in Cleveland, but I heard it’s not that great, so I’ve never gone. Yeah, those prices are high, but I feel like all tourist tickets are high these days. It’s sad because they should be encouraging families to visit educational sites like this. Too funny about your Dad, but I do love penguins and would love to chill with them. My son got to hug a penguin in college once when the zoo brought one to a dorm during exam week. I guess it was supposed to relieve stress? Lol!

    My fave aquarium I’ve been to was the one in Charleston, SC. Super nice and on the water. I saw dolphins swimming in the wild for the first time right outside the building.

    1. I could use a penguin hug! Where do I sign up??? LOL Charleston is on my bucket list. How did you like down there? I've been when I was very young, but I don't really remember it. All I remember is the glass elevator at the hotel. How lame is that??

    2. Actually, a glass elevator is pretty cool to any kid! We really liked Charleston, but stayed in Summerville. My oldest was in a spring break softball tournament, so that’s why we were there. But we went to Isle of Palms, the aquarium, took a boat ride to Fort Sumter, visited a plantation, and went to some animal thing (can’t quite remember, but lots of crocodiles). Lots to do! I wanted to ride a carriage and see pretty houses but I was vetoed 😡

    3. I would have made them do it anyways, so you're nicer than me. hahaha

  3. I haven’t been to an aquarium since my girls were little. Cant say they were my favorite place to explore, but I did always like to see the stingrays and octopus. Sorry it didn’t live up to the hype, but I bet the kids enjoyed it!

    1. I'm not a huge fan either. The kids asked repeatedly to do the aquarium in Boston too and I refused. I mean, we JUST went to the New York Aquarium. lol

    2. Yeah, once you've been to one, you've been to them all it seems.

  4. My favorite is the one in Charleston sc. Been to the one in Atlanta, Myrtle Beach and gaitlinburg

  5. There are huge aquariums here but they are so expensive. Also there is no Whale show here. We only watch the Dolphins show. I know your Aquariums have special Whale show. Does Newyork Aquarium have Whales show?


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