While Dallas, Texas, may be a landlocked city, it does offer opportunities to get close to marine life, primarily through the Dallas World Aquarium and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. Both options offer a great chance for local residents to get out of their Dallas apartments and homes, and explore great marine life on display.
The Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is a world-class aquarium filled with thousands of fish, birds, amphibians and other animals. The aquarium opened in 1992 in an old warehouse in downtown Dallas’ historic West End district, and has expanded since. The aquarium has five primary exhibits, each showcasing the sea life, birds and animals that are native to the geographic region it represents.
The Wilds of Borneo exhibit is the teaser, as it is just prior to the ticket gate. This exhibit features animal life from Australia and Asia, including exotic colorful fish; tree kangaroos and fairy penguins. The Orinoco is a South American river which winds its way through major rainforests. Visitors get a glimpse of this very important rainforest ecosystem through the Orinoco Secrets of the River display which shoots up seven stories. See animals and fish which inhabit the ecosystem including crocodiles, piranhas, monkeys and toucans, to name just a few.
The aquarium exhibit itself allows you to get up close to the fish which swim in the Pacific Ocean, play on a coral reef or venture through a kelp forest. The highlight of this exhibit is a huge tank filled with all kinds of sea life that you see while walking through a protected glass tunnel.
The other exhibits are South Africa, with its penguins and storks, and Mundo Maya which brings the Mayan culture of Mexico to life with its exhibits of animals and plants found in folklore. The highlight of Mundo Maya is another walk-through tank.
The Dallas World Aquarium is located at 1801 N. Griffin Street. Since the aquarium stresses preserving the world’s ecosystems, it discounts tickets $1 to people who show they got there via public transportation.
The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park is not as big as the Dallas World Aquarium, but it is still a must-see for anyone interested in marine life and provides an alternative created with the kids in mind. Because it is a children’s museum, the exhibits are built at kid-level and also feature many hands-on activities kids will enjoy.
The Children’s Aquarium divides its displays by marine systems, rather than by geographic region as the larger museum does. These systems are: the freshwater zone, intertidal, shore, near shore, offshore and stingray bay. Each zones features fish and aquatic animals that commonly live in that zone.
The Children’s Aquarium is affiliated with the Dallas Zoo, located elsewhere in Dallas. While the zoo does not have an aquarium on those premises, it does have exhibits of some aquatic animals, such as Galapagos, tortoises and crocodiles. Located at 1462 First Avenue, the Children’s Aquarium opens daily at 9 a.m and is open seven days a week, excluding a few major holidays.