New York Aquarium – An Incredible View of the Ocean World

The New York Aquarium in Coney Island offers an incredible view of the underwater world with its inspiring displays and exhibits. The stars of the shows here are the African Penguins, the Sea Lions, the Sharks, the Rays, the Skates, the Giant Octopus of the Pacific and a whole variety of invertebrates. 
The aquarium strives to educate and encourage its visitors to advocate conservation of oceans and the marine animals that inhabit these oceans.
The New York Aquarium features several different kinds of exhibits. You can enjoy shows by sea lions at the Aqua Theatre; watch 18 different types of sharks swim about at the Ocean Wonders:Sharks!; get a snorkeler’s view of life underwater at the Glover’s Reef; stroll along Sea Cliff as the African Penguins play about, seals and otters rest on its rocky shores. 
The New York Aquarium at Coney Island also reaches out to educate the young by taking in volunteers from the age of 14 years and up for all the different departments within the facility. They have an outreach program to educate children as well as educators about marine animals and their habitat.
The New York Aquarium events calendar is a full and colorful one with different kinds of celebrations and happenings. Parades, Galas, Fireworks, Wine Tasting and lots more. All dedicated to educating the public about the oceans around the world.
With the current restrictions still on, efforts are being made to bring the aquarium to your home with virtual tours, live cams, social media and online activities. You can watch what your favorite animal is doing and how they are cared for during this time.
The New York Aquarium Brooklyn is not only an aquarium but also provides excellent space for personal celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties, sweet sixteens, barbecues, corporate meets and lots more. 

Interesting facts about the New York Aquarium


  • The New York Aquarium is the oldest and continually operating aquarium in the United States.


  • The aquarium was founded at Castle Garden in Manhattan in 1896 then moved to its current location in Coney Island in 1957.


  • The New York Aquarium is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).


  • On Wednesday afternoons general admission is by donation. This is the New York Aquarium pay what you wish day and visitors pay accordingly. The regular New York Aquarium ticket prices do not apply on Friday afternoons.


  • New York Aquarium admission is free on Wednesday afternoons after 3 pm. However, you do need an Advanced Timed Ticket and the ticket store for Wednesday’s reservations will open on Monday evenings at 5:00 pm. 

Visitors without the reserved tickets will not be allowed in. 

  • Service animals are allowed with visitors to the Aquarium according to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, therapy dogs are not allowed. 


  • Commercial photography or filming is not allowed in the New York Aquarium without prior permission from the public relations department of WCS.


  • When the New York Aquarium was opened the ribbon cutting ceremony was done by Annie, a black footed penguin who bit into a wrapped smelt to do the honors. 


Highlights of the New York Aquarium


  • Ocean Wonders: Sharks! 

This is one of the most phenomenal exhibits in the New York Aquarium. It is a three-storied building with 9 galleries featuring 18 different species of sharks and rays. The exhibit also has over 115 different species of marine life including the loggerhead sea turtles, clear-nose skates, smooth dogfish and lots more.

  • Spineless Wonders

This is one of the most fascinating New York Aquarium exhibits featuring the invertebrates of the marine world. This exhibits stresses on the importance of these marine animals in maintaining the ecological balance of the ocean world. 

  • Unique experiences for family and children

      The New York Aquarium offers a wide range of activities for families and children which include hands-on activities, special encounters and opportunities to be with the animals in the aquarium, experiences that are beyond the regular visits.

  • Plan a celebration at the aquarium

You can plan a special event at the premises of the NYA such as children’s birthday parties, a special aquatic-themed wedding, corporate events, sit out dinners and so much more. The New York Aquarium events space include the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! The area can accommodate about 450 guests for a cocktail party. The Glover’s Reef offers a deck and room great for sit down dinners or watching the fireworks.

  • Volunteer Programs

New York Aquarium volunteer programs are great learning opportunities for those who are interested in learning more about marine animals and how they are taken care of at the aquarium. You can choose from a variety of programs ranging from health care to scuba diving to training and education. 

  • Shows and special behind the scene encounters

The New York Aquarium features several shows and experiences such as the sea lion show, dolphins show, meet the dolphins, sea otter feedings and so much more. Get up close with these beautiful marine creatures behind the scenes for an unforgettable experience. 

  • Events 

The New York Aquarium in Coney Island holds various events throughout the year to promote learning about the ocean and the conservation of its inhabitants. Events such as the annual fundraising Gala are held with great fanfare. 
Other events also include family-friendly events to support the environment, Summer Nights, Sharks after Dark, World Oceans Week, Navy Divers at the NY Aquarium and lots more.

  • Aqua Theatre

Enjoy an interactive show with the sea lions in the Aqua Theatre and watch these magnificent animals gambol and frolic all over the place. Watch the bond between the trainer and sea lions as they perform for the exuberant audience. 

  • Special discounts

There are several discounts attached to the New York Aquarium tickets that are available on several websites as well as at the facility itself. Coupons for New York Aquarium are available on the official site of the aquarium as well as other ticket booking websites. 

General Admission Tickets

New York Aquarium admission tickets can be purchased directly from the official website of the aquarium or directly from the ticket counter. For adults 13 years and over the ticket cost is $26.95, senior citizens 65 and above the tickets cost $24.95 and children between 3 to 12 years the tickets cost $22.95. Children below 3 years of age can enter for free. 
Visitors with New York Aquarium membership can visit the aquarium for free but they are required to make a reservation in order to visit.
Coupons for New York Aquariums are available at prices as low as $11.95 on some online sites. But before booking these tickets ensure what it includes in the ticket. 
Schools, campers and groups of 10 people and above are required to make reservations in advance. New York Aquarium student discounts between 10% to 20% can be applied but this would vary from visit to visit and expected to change according to season. 
Apply New York Aquarium promo code and get a flat $2 off your General Admission ticket to the aquarium. 
New York Aquarium tickets groupon deals are some of the best deals online and visitors can enjoy 10% to 15% off childrens’ or adults’ admission tickets
Active military personnel and veterans are eligible for the New York aquarium military discount. The benefits include complimentary entry for the military personnel or veteran and 50% off on tickets up to 3 guests. 
Know more about the New York Aquarium from its official website:

Special Exhibits at the New York Aquarium


  • Sea Cliff 

Several marine creatures like to spend some leisure time in the rocky cliffs on the shores of the oceans. Penguins mostly use these cliffs for nesting while the seals and sea otters like to rest out of the water for a while. 
Keeping that in mind the aquarium has the Sea Cliff Exhibit for the penguins, sea otters and sea lions to lounge around and claim this area as their habitat. With the New York Aquarium live cam you can stay updated on the well being and activities of these animals.

  • Spineless Exhibit

The Spineless Exhibit is one of the most intriguing and unique among all the New York Aquarium exhibits, showcasing Japanese Spider Crabs, Giant Pacific Octopus, Pacific Sea Nettles, Common Cuttlefish and Lagoon Jellies. 
This exhibit shows the importance of these invertebrates to the ecological balance of the water bodies around the world.
New York Aquarium

  • Ocean Wonder: Sharks

This exhibit in the New York Aquarium houses over 115 species of marine animals which also include over 18 different types of sharks. The other animals that co-inhabit the Shark tank are different types of rays, sea turtles and a wide range of schooling fish. 
This exhibit is dedicated to teaching visitors about the role sharks play in maintaining the ecological balance of the oceans as well as the multiple threats to their existence. 

  • Glover’s Reef

This particular exhibit in the New York Aquarium is truly  a treat to the eyes. The colorful displays give visitors a snorkeler’s eye view of the beauty of the underwater world. The exhibit has a beautiful collection of angel fish, piranhas, black pacus, sting rays and several others.

  • Conservation Hall

The Conservation Hall features marine lives that are native to the freshwater lakes of Africa, the Indo-Pacific region and the Amazon’s rainforest. It is divided into three habitats: The Pacific Ocean’s Coral Triangle, Africa’s Great Lakes, and Brazil’s Flooded Forest. 

Animal Encounters

New York Aquarium professionals are constantly striving to make a positive connection between the guests who visit the facility and the animals within. These close animal encounters create awareness as well as encourage people to be part of the conservation programs that the aquarium practices and promotes. 

  • Meet the African Penguins

These encounters with the African Penguins at the New York Aquarium last for half an hour each session and the guests learn about how these birds are taken care off. Learn about their feeding habits and watch them waddle and swim about. 
Enjoy interactive sessions with these amazing birds at the Penguin Playschool. These interactions inspire children and grown-ups alike to be part of the conservation of these animals and their natural habitat. 

  • Touch pools at the Aquarium

The touch pool on the roof has bamboo and epaulette sharks and visitors can touch and learn more about these amazing and misunderstood creatures of the sea. Visitors should be 6 years and above to visit this touch pool.
There is another touch pool by the outdoor plaza where younger kids can touch the various water animals there.

  • A close encounter with the sea lion

The encounter with the sea lion is a small group activity when you come close to the sea lion star at the aquarium. The encounter also teaches about the nature of this dynamic marine creature and the threats posed to its conservation. 
Also get a photo of your special encounter for you to take home.

Shows and events

The New York Aquarium in Coney Islands puts together several shows and events that entertain as well as educate the visitors. These also act as fundraisers for the various conservation projects that the aquarium is working on.

  • Sharks After Dark 

This unforgettable overnight sleepover experience at the New York Aquarium is an event specially organized for schools, Scout and Youth groups. Participants spend the night at the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! Exhibit where they discover the different types of marine animals that inhabit the Hudson Canyon. 
Activities during these sleepovers include special encounters and educational activities

  • Summer Nights 

This is another exciting event the New York Aquarium Brooklyn organizes an after-hours cocktail party with the premises staying open till 10 pm. There are fireworks on the roof, explore all the nine galleries and enjoy shows at the Aquatheatre. 

  • World Oceans Week

This is an awareness program where a parade is organized to highlight the threat of plastic waste on the water bodies around the globe and the marine animals that inhabit these waters. 
Advocates of this cause actively participate in these parades and join the celebrations afterwards

  • Navy Divers at the Aquarium

This is an amazing event held at the New York Aquarium during Fleet Week when Navy Divers showcase their diving skills. The divers played tic tac toe with children across the glass and posed for pictures with the visitors.

  • NYA At Night: Boardwalk Brews

This is an adults-only event held at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. The Glover Reef and the Conservation Hall stays open all night during the Boardwalk Brews.
A variety of brewery tables, food carts as well as zoo snacks will be available for the guests. 

  • Sip for the Sea

This is an annual wine tasting event organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society. This is a benefit that showcases the conservation of marine animals and their natural habitat. 
The pairing of wines with sustainable seafood as well as other delectable cuisines from several high-end restaurants of New York is the celebration part of the event. 

Learning Programs

New York Aquarium Brooklyn through the WCS offers a wide range of learning programs to inspire budding talents in the field of marine science. Options are available for all age groups, education levels as well as interests. 

  • Wildlife School Online

Virtual lessons are provided for PreK to 8th grade students at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. Backed by WCS the students have access to some of the most prominent zoos and aquariums in New York. Students get special access to animals and exhibits. 

  • Special programs for educators

The WCS offers a variety of programs directed at educators that they can learn from the comfort of their homes. There are professional as well as basic learning courses. Programs range from STEM courses to various branches of marine science. 

  • Special programs for parents

With the dramatic change in the schooling format due to the current situation, the New York aquarium has put together digital resources to help parents engage children in learning activities from home. 
These include virtual field trips, virtual birthday parties, virtual scouts program, digital resources and lots more.

New York Aquarium Jobs

If you are interested in a career in marine science or being an advocate of the oceans, then check out the job openings at the official website of the New York Aquarium. Career opportunities in this field are diverse and you can choose from several offerings that are available. 

  • Volunteering opportunities

Internships and volunteer opportunities are also available for those who are looking to learn while still studying. New York aquarium volunteers can choose from different departments right from education, dive programs, animal exhibits and health volunteer

  • Dive program volunteers

The Dive Program Volunteers at the New York Aquarium help in taking care of the animals in their different habitats, interacting with visitors and educating them about the different aspects of marine science as well as assisting the staff with several other tasks both in and out of the water. 
For this program, volunteers should be 21 years and above and be able to commit one full day from 8 am to 5 pm every other week for a full year.

  • Animal Exhibits Volunteer

Volunteering for the different New York Aquarium exhibits, you will get the opportunity to learn about the different species in each exhibit and their habits. 
They will be taught basic biology of these animals, how to care for them, how they are trained during feeding time, the filtration process in the aquarium and lots more. 
Each exhibit has different animals which means different learning opportunities. New York Aquarium volunteers are required to be in good health condition, good in public speaking, knowledge in biology or psychology is preferred and apply basic math skills. 

  • Education Volunteers

This department has opportunities for both young people as well as adults. Discovery Guide Volunteer Program is open to high school and college students between the age of 14 to 21 years. 
They help educate visitors about the importance of conservation of our water bodies and how human activities are threatening the very existence of the animals that live in these water bodies. 
They also get an opportunity to learn about science, wildlife and conservation. 
Adult volunteers can assist as Ambassadors, Expedition Leaders, WCS Now Interpreters, Education Assistant and Play Partners. 

Events space at the New York Aquarium

  • Birthday Parties at the Aquarium

Themed birthday parties at the New York Aquarium is an amazing gift you can give your child. The aquarium is geared to hold birthday parties for children between 3 to 11 years of age. An animal related to the theme will be the surprise guest at the party. 
The party is held in a beautifully decorated room however guests can bring their own decorations. Balloons, confetti and inflatables are not allowed as these are harmful for the animals at the aquarium. 

  • Wedding at the New York Aquarium

The aquarium offers several indoor and outdoor events spaces both for the wedding ceremony and the reception. Wine, dine and dance the night away surrounded by beautiful corals, an amazing variety of water animals gracing your special day and let the whole facility turn into your own personal oasis. 

  • Personal Events at the Aquarium

The New York aquarium at Coney Islands is an ideal location for a variety of personal events right from birthday parties, anniversaries, summer barbecues, quinceaneras, mitzvahs or anything special for that matter. 

  • Corporate Gatherings

The New York aquarium also offers corporate memberships and provides for a great space for corporate meets, team building exercises, rooftop happy hours and lots more. 

Where is New York Aquarium?

The New York Aquarium address is 602 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224.
The aquarium is located at Surf Avenue & West 8th Street along the Boardwalk near the Coney Island Brooklyn. 
If you are new to the area then look for directions to the New York Aquarium on the official website or call at the given number. You can also find a New York Aquarium map on the website if you are driving and want to be sure of the route which you need to follow. 

Parking at the New York Aquarium

Parking rates at the aquarium vary depending on the number of hours it is used. 
Between 0 to 3 hours the rates are $18
3 to 4 hours $25
Over 4 hours $40
For members, parking is free up to 3 hours.
2 to 4 hours $10
Over 4 hours $20
Conservation Fellow and above have free parking all day. 

New York Aquarium hours

The New York Aquarium hours of operation are 10 am to 5 pm. Last entry is at 4 pm.  

Hurricane Sandy effects on New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium Hurricane Sandy damages were estimated around $65 million. The destruction due to the Superstorm Sandy in 2012 led to the deaths of some of the invertebrates and freshwater fish in the aquarium.
The marine mammals and other sea creatures were spared even though the whole facility was flooded with the surging water from the Atlantic. However, the New York Aquarium walrus was taken to Texas during the renovation of the aquarium. 
The Hurricane damaged and destroyed much of the infrastructure including the life support system in the aquarium.
The rebuilding took over 8 months and the aquarium reopened at the end of Spring the following year. 
The new and improved Shark tank at the New York Aquarium is a sight to behold and the tunnel shape creates the illusion that the visitor is also another creature of the sea as sharks and rays swim overhead. 

Dining at the Aquarium

There are three dining options at the New York Aquarium:

  • Food Truck

This serves fast food and snacks such as burgers, fries, chicken tenders, salads, hot and cold beverages. It is located in the Aquarium Plaza section and stays open between 10am to 6 pm daily.

  • Oceanview Bites

This is a rooftop bar and restaurant located on the roof deck of the Ocean Wonders: Sharks! In order to maintain social distancing at the facility, this restaurant is closed at the moment. 

  • Oceanside Grill

This is another New York Aquarium restaurant along the Boardwalk right by the beach. This restaurant was started by WCS and serves sustainable seafood served on environmentally friendly packaging. This is a no single use plastic zone. 
As the New York Aquarium under construction work is going on, the main dining area is closed. However, vendors selling ice-cream, popcorn and other snacks are available at the aquarium. 
Bottled beverages as well as packaged snacks are also available at the New York Aquarium gift shop. 

Hotels near the New York Aquarium


  • Best Western Plus Brooklyn Bay Hotel

This is one of the most conveniently located hotels near the New York Aquarium. It is only 2 miles away from the aquarium and the Coney Island Boardwalk. Rooms are comfortable and relaxed with free wifi, satellite TV, mini-fridges and coffee makers. 

  • Comfort Inn Brooklyn

This basic budget hotel is located on the edge of Brooklyn Bay and 3.3 miles from New York Aquarium Coney Island. The John F. Kennedy Airport is just 11 miles away. The rooms are elegant and well furnished with all modern amenities. Upgraded rooms also have whirlpool tubs. 

  • The Avenue Plaza

The hotel is located in the Borough Park neighbourhood and just four blocks away from the nearest subway. The hotel has traditional rooms and suites have kitchenettes and balconies. This hotel is located 5.4 miles from the New York Aquarium.

  • Best Western Brooklyn – Coney Island Inn

This comfortable and relaxed hotel is just a mile away from the New York Aquarium. Rooms have free wifi, flat screen TVs, mini fridges, etc. There is also a gym and a business centre for the guests. 

  • Sleep Inn Coney Island

This hotel is just a mile away from the New York Aquarium and features casual rooms with muted decor. Comfortable furnished rooms have complimentary wifi, mini fridges, tea and coffee maker. Breakfast buffet and parking is complimentary for the guests. 

Top Attractions near New York Aquarium in Coney Island


  • Luna Park at Coney Island


  • Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park


  • The Cyclone


  • The Coney Island Museum


  • Slideshows by the Sea Shore


  • Brighton Beach


  • Parachute Jump


  • The Amphitheatre at Coney Island


  • Manhattan Beach Park


  • Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance


Final Thoughts

The New York Aquarium gives a deep and  interactive view into the lives of the marine animals and the impact of human activities on these lives. It strives to bring about an awareness to conserve the oceans of the world with its constant learning programs, researches and documentaries. 
The New York Aquarium strives to bring the ocean to our homes so that we understand the importance of these water bodies that surround us and the lives that depend on its healthy existence.

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