Tips for Visiting the Houston Downtown Aquarium

The Houston Downtown Aquarium has a little something for everyone. From a wide variety of animals and aquatic life , to rides, games and a splash pad.

If you’ve got plans to visit Houston, here what you need to know about the aquarium so you can get the most out of your visit.

Explore the exhibits at the Houston Downtown Aquarium Carltonaut's Travel Tips

Explore the Aquarium Adventure Exhibits

The Houston Downtown Aquarium has several exhibits, each with its own unique look at wildlife, both on and off the land.

Here’s a rundown of each of the exhibit areas and a little bit on what you’ll find:

The Louisiana Swamp has animals you would expect to find in marshes or Bayous of Louisiana. You’ll see gators, crocodiles, catfish, crayfish, bullfrogs and some massive alligator turtles.

When you think Shipwreck, you probably picture a scene out of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. There are moray eels, clownfish (but they aren’t very funny), a giant Pacific octopus and other colorful fish.

The Rainforest exhibit has creatures from inside and outside the water. You’ll find tree frogs, birds and even a tree boa. Under the water, you may become scared thinking of venomous stingrays and piranhas.

Mayan civilization ruins make up the Sunken Temple exhibit. There’s a 20-foot python that’ll get your kids talking. It was fun to see a puffer fish, but I would love to see one all puffed up like you see in the cartoons. The Lionfish looked especially intimidating, too.

Look into the Gulf of Mexico and see some of the colorful fish that swim offshore of Texas and eastern Mexico.

One of the most memorable exhibits at the Houston Downtown Aquarium was the White Tigers of the Maharaja’s Temple. The exhibit looks like an ancient Maharaja temple, which seems fitting for the white tiger. Kids were amazed looking at the tiger walk around the exhibit.

The Education Room is an opportunity to get up close and personal to some color fish, a bearded dragon, coral and other creatures. Stingray Reef is pretty cool, too – but there’s an additional cost to be able to touch and feed live stingrays.

Ride the train at the Houston Downtown Aquarium Carltonaut's Travel Tips

Take the Train Tour at Houston Downtown Aquarium

The train tour around the Houston Downtown Aquarium is a fun way to see the aquarium. My kids still remember the ride through the tunnel of the shark tank. The C.P. Huntington train has open-air tops so you can look up in the tunnel to see the sharks swimming in the 200,000 gallon tank.

Along the way, the train passes a scene similar to what you see at Universal Studios on the Tram Tour. Jaws comes out of the water next to the train. It’s sort of funny, but it’s good for parents to be aware of in case they think their kids wouldn’t appreciate a scary shark.

The train is open to all ages, but children under 42″ do require an adult ride with them. There is a separate cost to ride the train ($5.99), unless you purchased the All-day Adventure Pass ($20.99).

The Houston Downtown Aquarium is great for kids of all ages Carltonaut's Travel Tips

Enjoy the Rides and Games

Near the aquarium is a giant Diving Bell Ferris wheel. From the top, you can see the Houston skyline from about 100 feet in the air. It’s a fun little ride surrounded by tall buildings.

There are also a few other rides available – like the Frog Hopper, a carousel and more. Each ride has its own additional cost – unless you purchased the All-day Adventure Pass.

Around the rides, you’ll also find carnival-style games and treats. As you can see from the photo below, my daughter was super excited for her giant lollipop.

The Splash Pad also gives kids an opportunity to cool off in the hot Texas sun. But it’s a good idea to bring a change of clothes for your young one if they don’t like to wear wet clothes.

Treats near the splash pad at Houston Downtown Aquarium Carltonaut's Travel Tips

The Details

Address: 410 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77002

Cost: Adult tickets to the exhibits are $12.99. Children (those under 42″ tall) are $9.99. Seniors (65+) are $10.99. Children under 2 are free. Rides are additional, ranging from $3.99 to $5.99 per ticket, per ride.

Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

How long: You should plan on about two hours.

Phone: (713) 223-FISH (3474)



White Tiger at the Houston Downtown Aquarium Carltonaut's Travel Tips
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