LA, New Orleans > All activities
11/19/2019 ~ 11/25/2019
LA, New Orleans > All activities
11/19/2019 ~ 11/25/2019

5 Can't Miss Exhibits at the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans

The Aquarium of the Americas is a celebration of everything wet and wild in the Big Easy and beyond. Just a short stroll from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, treat yourself and your family to a day of learning and adventure at one of the Southeast's most robust wildlife parks. Featuring a wide range of in-depth exhibits that explore the life and times of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, this is your chance to become the most knowledgable marine biologist since George Costanza.

Now you can explore the Aquarium of the Americas for less with TripShock! Your general admission ticket gives you an all-access pass to all of the exhibits, making this deal an affordable option for the groups traveling on a budget. While you're there, deep-dive these 5 Can't Miss Exhibits at the Aquarium of the Americas for optimal enjoyment and fun!

1. Gulf of Mexico


gulf of mexico at audubon Image Courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute  

No trip to the Aquarium of the Americas would be complete without a visit to the Gulf of Mexico exhibit. A 400,000 gallon tank of salt water that emulates the real thing, this exhibit is the biggest and baddest of the whole lot. The tank boasts a wide-range of species native to the Louisiana coast and Gulf of Mexico like sharks, grouper, amberjack, sting rays, sea turtles, and more! What makes this exhibit truly exceptional is that it was created with authenticity in mind, going so far as to install a massive faux oil rig covered with real, live barnacles!

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2. Living in Water


living in water at the aquarium Image Courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute  

If you haven't been to the Aquarium of the Americas before, you will be amazed at the vibrance of the facilities and the wildlife that resides within. The Living in Water exhibit is one feature in particular that is sure to dazzle so be sure to bring your camera along for some snaps! An exhibit that the kiddos will love, check out popular, flashy fish like Nemo (clownfish) and Dory (royal blue tang, regal tang, or surgeonfish) as well as the beautiful but invasive Lionfish!

3. Stingray Touch Pool


stingray touch pool at audubon Image Courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute  

Have you ever touched a cow's nose before? Well how about a cownose stingray!? If not, this is your chance! As gentle as they come, cownose rays can be found throughout the western Atlantic and Caribbean. They are also super social and gentle, making this exhibit a true fan favorite. Step up, reach down, and watch these amazing creatures glide through the water and straight for your palms! Watch and interact with the stingrays as they play down by the bay--what do you say?

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mississippi river gallery at the aquarium Image Courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute  

Set above the Mighty Mississippi River, feast your eyes on resident freshwater species like the catfish, sturgeon, paddlefish, as well as a leucistic (similar to albinism, but only partial pigmentation loss) white alligator at the Mississippi River Gallery. A New Orleans classic, this exhibit is surrounded by docks, nets, and rocks so authentic you'll swear that you were gearing up to ride a riverboat queen! The exhibit isn't just fresh water fish, either. As you probably know, the Mississippi River flows from the mainland into the sea. As such, the Gallery also examines wildlife in and around the brackish (part saltwater part freshwater) waters of the port and even features creatures of the land and sky like the majestic barred owl!

5. Great Maya Reef


great maya reef in new orleans Image Courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute  

From it's mysterious entryway and 30-foot submerged tunnel leading to the main exhibit, the Great Maya Reef exhibit at the New Orleans's Aquarium of the Americas is 4,200 square feet of awesome. Take a look at the day-to-day interactions of an array of interesting and exotic sea critters like moray eels, spiny lobsters, coral, lionfish, and yellowtail snapper. The next best thing to a snorkeling trip off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, swim on over to the Great Maya Reef exhibit for a wealth of sunken artifacts, treasure, and marine wildlife!

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A Deeper Look: The Coral Climate Conundrum


Coral reefs are some of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world. A conglomeration of ocean-dwelling invertebrates, coral reefs are teeming with all sorts of marine wildlife from fish, to algae, and more. A natural miracle and truly a marvel to behold, these underwater utopias are currently at a crossroads due to climate change.


coral reefs at the aquarium


As the planet continues to warm so does the ocean, which can lead to reef instability and coral bleaching. Basically, when a coral reef is "bleached" this means that the corals themselves are stressed to the point where they expel the algae living within them. These algae live inside the tissue of the coral and are what gives the reef its mesmerizing colors. A bleached coral does not mean that it is dead, but more so stressed out and sick. This disruption increases the likelihood of widespread loss. Human activities like overfishing and pollution also pose a major threat. Whether you believe in climate change or not, there is no denying that any widespread coral reef collapse would be catastrophic as a quarter of all oceanic marine wildlife on the planet depend on the welfare of coral reef ecosystems.


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