To Cool Off this Summer, Visit a Great Aquarium

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When summer days turn long and hot and the kids show signs of boredom, pile everyone into the car and head for an aquarium. Wandering through viewing tunnels surrounded by blue oceans and thousands of brightly colorful fish makes everyone feel better. Here are six outstanding family-friendly aquariums to consider. National Aquarium Baltimore, Maryland Habitat tanks replicating the Amazon basin, an Australian river gorge, an Atlantic coral reef and a tropical rain forest introduce children to the concept of ecosystems. Visitors will see many species of sea turtles, sharks and jellyfish, along with the giant Pacific octopus, Australian freshwater crocodiles myriads of tropical fish, reptiles, and brilliantly colored birds. Wildly popular with children are the Shark Reef and Dolphin Discovery exhibits, especially at feeding time. Georgia Aquarium Atlanta, Georgia The largest aquarium in the western hemisphere has numerous standout attractions, including the only whale sharks on view in America. The sharks are housed with 60,000 other animals in the immense Ocean Voyageur exhibit, whose floor-to-ceiling windows and viewing tunnel give a true sense of open sea. Other exhibits include beluga whales, dolphins, a seahorse colony, a tropical coral reef teeming with fish, and a river inhabited by water fowl, otters and albino alligators. Supervised touch pools allow kids to feel rays, sea urchins and bonnethead sharks. Dallas World Aquarium Dallas, Texas This aquarium is memorable for its elaborate and detailed exhibits that unite fish and wildlife in a variety of ecosystems ranging from South America to Africa and the South Pacific. Sure to spark any child’s imagination is Mundo Mayo, whose walk-through tunnel passes through a tank fill... ... middle of paper ... ...dge. Exhibits replicate oceans, rivers, lakes and islands from around the world, including a Caribbean reef, flooded Amazon jungle, and living Philippine coral reef. The Oceanarium, one of world’s largest indoor facilities for aquatic animals, holds 3,000,000 gallons of water and is home to dolphins, beluga whales, penguins, sea otters and sea lions. The aquarium is located just steps away from the Field Museum of Natural History, so those with leftover energy should stop and visit Sue, the largest intact tyrannosaurus skeleton ever discovered. There’s an aquarium for those in the 49th and 50th states, too. The Alaska SeaLife Center, in Seward, focuses on marine life native to the area, such as the giant Pacific octopus, sea lions, harbor seas and puffins. Hawaii’s Waikiki Aquarium is packed with dazzling fish, coral reef habitats and other South Pacific natives.

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