For an educational experience and a great dinner rolled into one, the Downtown Aquarium in Houston is a favorite place for children and adults alike. With over 200 species of aquatic life from around the world calling the aquarium home, and with a bar, ballroom, and full restaurant, the Downtown Aquarium is perfect for an interesting and romantic date night or a simply a way to add some fun to a family outing.

Must-see Exhibits

There are a lot of great exhibits at the Downtown Aquarium, but some true must-sees include the rainforest exhibit, where piranhas and stingrays swim; the Gulf of Mexico exhibit for a glance at some of the aquarium’s Nurse sharks; Stingray Reef, where children and adults can touch and feed real life stingrays; and Louisiana Swamp, where bullfrogs, alligators, snapping turtles, and more lurk lurk in the murk. All of the exhibits are designed to be interesting and educational to people of all ages.

Rides and Attractions

The great thing about this aquarium is that there’s more to do than just observe things through glass–with multiple rides and games, kids of all ages will be entertained for hours. Shark Voyage, the ride where a train takes visitors through the center of a 200,000 gallon shark tank, is both informative and fun. The Lighthouse Dive, on the other hand, is pure thrill as it drops riders from a height of 65 feet.

Downtown Aquarium Dining

The aquarium houses a restaurant, which offers an amazing view, as it’s designed around a 150,000 gallon aquarium. The restaurants specializes in seafood and steak, but also serves salads, chicken, pasta, and more. Favorite dishes here include the shrimp cakes and the cheesecake, both of which should definitely be ordered. While better food can certainly be found in Houston, the atmosphere of this place makes up for the cuisine, especially if you’re dining with little ones, who will absolutely love watching all of the fish swim by!

Plenty of Programs

If you’re into learning–or are trying to inspire curiosity for the world inside your child–you may want to consider signing up your family or you youngster for one of the aquarium’s family, school, or scout programs. Become a zoologist for the day, enroll your child in an Explore the Oceans camp, or even opt for an overnight camp in the aquarium.

Pricing and Hours

The aquarium is open from Monday through Sunday, open at 10 AM everyday and closing at 9 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 11 PM on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant has the same hours as the aquarium, except that it opens at 11 AM instead of 10 AM every day. Admission cost is $10.99 for adults, $9.99 for seniors, $7.99 for children, and children under the age of two are free.

For a day that’s educational and exciting, check out the downtown aquarium in Houston, which makes for a perfect activity for the whole family any day.