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5 New Aquariums and Noteworthy Exhibits to See in 2024

Plan a trip to these aquariums and exhibits to appreciate these underwater wonderlands

spinner image people observing sting rays and other marine life at an aquarium
Visitors can find fun new exhibits and brand-new aquariums opening across the country this year.
Mark Horn/Gallery Stock

Under the sea lies an otherworldly wonderland that most of us landlubbers will never experience, let alone truly understand. Luckily, there are some new aquariums and noteworthy exhibits, opening in 2024, where you can get a front-row seat to the life aquatic.

Sea Life Florida Resort, Winter Haven, Florida

It’s not easy to stand out in the splash-making theme park region of central Florida. But then there’s Sea Life Florida Resort, part of Legoland Florida Resort, which is building a “Theme Park Under the Sea.” Scheduled to open in the fall, the family-friendly Sea Life Florida Resort aquarium will feature interactive exhibits and opportunities to see a wide range of interesting marine life, including sharks. Admission pricing is still in the works. 

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Jungle Reef Touch Aquarium, El Paso, Texas

You can reach out and touch marine life in El Paso at the Jungle Reef Touch Aquarium. At the aquarium, which opened in February, visitors get the opportunity to be hands-on with rays in the stingray touch pool. The slightly more adventurous can try a face-to-face encounter with sharks in the 80,000-gallon shark tank. The aquarium also features a bird sanctuary and a habitat for river otters. Admission is $14.99; $9.99 for people 60 and older.

spinner image two females watch African penguins at the Georgia Aquarium
Two people enjoy seeing African penguins at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
Barry Williams/Getty Images

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

The largest aquarium in the U.S. will welcome visitors this summer to the new Explorers Cove, which will feature two interactive touch pools for getting up close with sharks, guitarfish, sturgeon and rays. The kids and grandkids can also walk through a marsh environment and observe a wetlands ecosystem without ever getting their feet wet. Also starting this summer is Destination: Dolphin, a new exhibit that puts a spotlight on bottlenose dolphins. (Quick tip: Don’t sit in the soak zone unless you want to get wet.) General admission starts at $39.99.

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SeaWorld, San Diego

This year, SeaWorld’s newest exhibit, “Jewels of the Sea: The Jellyfish Experience,” will feature three unique galleries showcasing color-changing jellyfish — and making SeaWorld visitors feel like they’re in the middle of the ocean with them. The jellyfish reside in an 18-foot cylinder, among the tallest jellyfish tanks in the country. The vibrant species on display are moon jellyfish, Pacific sea nettles, upside-down jellyfish and comb jellies. Jellyfish do not live more than a few years, but the exhibit is structured so that visitors can see these creatures in their various stages of life. Admission to SeaWorld starts at $114.99 and can vary depending on when you go.

spinner image a rendering of The Mote Science Education Aquarium
The Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA) is slated to open in the winter in Sarasota, Florida. Here, a rendering of the building.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Mote Science Education Aquarium, Sarasota, Florida

Visitors can see manatees, otters, sharks and a new coral reef exhibit at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. By the end of winter, sea life enthusiasts will also be able to experience the Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA), in the nearby University Town Center in Nathan Benderson Park. Mote SEA will feature a million gallons of habitats in a 110,000-square-foot building that will house the marine science education space, designed for all ages. Visitors will be able to observe sea life, and at times interact with it, while diving into marine education in one of Mote SEA’s three teaching labs. Admission pricing is still in the works.

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