5 Best Aquariums in Michigan


Are you fascinated by the vibrant life under the waves? If yes, Michigan is the perfect place to embark on an unforgettable underwater adventure! The state’s aquariums are a treasure trove of marine wonders, offering a captivating glimpse into the diverse and enchanting world beneath the surface. From the graceful movements of majestic sharks to the playful antics of otters and the kaleidoscopic beauty of coral reefs teeming with fascinating aquatic creatures, Michigan’s aquariums provide an immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Get ready to be transported into the breathtaking depths of marine ecosystems, where every tank is a window to a different underwater realm. Whether you’re a seasoned marine enthusiast or a first-time explorer, the five best aquariums in Michigan promise an engaging and educational journey. So, gear up, take a deep breath, and prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing wonders that await you in the heart of Michigan’s aquatic havens. Each aquarium is a gateway to discovery, fostering an appreciation for the incredible biodiversity that thrives beneath the waves. Dive in and let the magic of these underwater worlds unfold before your eyes!

1. SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Step into the heart of a captivating underwater world at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the state. Journey through diverse marine ecosystems, each teeming with vibrant life. Witness the grace of stingrays gliding through their underwater habitat, marvel at the mesmerizing dance of colorful fish amidst coral reefs, and come face-to-face with awe-inspiring sharks in the awe-inspiring 180-degree underwater tunnel. Get your hands wet and touch fascinating creatures in the interactive touch pool, and let your imagination run wild as you create your own virtual fish in the interactive Doodle Reef exhibit.


  • Underwater Ocean Tunnel: Immerse yourself in the wonder of a 180-degree underwater tunnel, where sharks, stingrays, and a kaleidoscope of colorful fish swim gracefully around you.
  • Interactive Touch Pool: Get your hands wet and experience the thrill of touching starfish, horseshoe crabs, and other fascinating creatures in the interactive touch pool.
  • Stingray Bay: Witness the graceful movements of stingrays as they glide through their underwater habitat. You can even participate in feeding demonstrations and learn interesting facts about these fascinating creatures.
  • Shipwreck Exhibit: Step back in time and explore the remains of a shipwrecked vessel, teeming with marine life that have made it their home.
  • Doodle Reef: Unleash your inner artist and create your very own virtual fish that swims alongside real fish in the interactive Doodle Reef exhibit.


  • Time Open: Daily, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (last entry at 5:00 PM)
  • Address: Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, 46100 Woodard Ave, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
  • Website: https://www.visitsealife.com/michigan/tickets-passes/
  • Entry Price: Adults – $29.99, Children (3-12) – $22.99, Seniors (65+) – $24.99
SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium edited

2. Belle Isle Aquarium

Step back in time and experience the charm of the Belle Isle Aquarium, a historic gem nestled within Detroit’s beautiful Belle Isle Park. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Great Lakes, encountering native fish species like sturgeon and muskellunge. Explore the diverse aquatic life of the Amazon River, including piranhas and electric eels. Discover the fascinating creatures of the African Great Lakes, including cichlids and catfish. And be sure to catch the daily feeding demonstrations, where you can learn about the fascinating behaviors of these incredible animals.


  • Rivers of the World: Explore the underwater landscapes of various global rivers, encountering unique fish species from the Amazon River, the Nile River, and more.
  • Ocean Oasis: Discover the vibrant coral reefs and their inhabitants, including colorful fish, seahorses, and anemones, in the Ocean Oasis exhibit.
  • The Great Lakes of North America: Take a journey through the Great Lakes ecosystem, learning about the native fish species and the importance of maintaining their natural habitat.
  • The Waters of South America: Encounter the fascinating aquatic creatures of South America, including piranhas, electric eels, and giant catfish.
  • African Great Lakes: Explore the diverse aquatic life of the African Great Lakes, including cichlids, catfish, and lungfish.


 Belle Isle Aquarium

3. John G. Shedd Aquarium

Embark on a journey across the globe at the world-renowned John G. Shedd Aquarium, located just across the border from Michigan in Chicago. Immerse yourself in the vibrant beauty of a coral reef teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and sharks in the Wild Reef exhibit. Explore the mysteries of the Amazon rainforest in the Amazon Rising exhibit, home to piranhas, electric eels, and giant catfish. Witness the breathtaking diversity of the Caribbean Reef and come face-to-face with majestic sharks and rays in the awe-inspiring Oceanarium.


  • Wild Reef: Experience the breathtaking beauty of a vibrant coral reef teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and sharks in the Wild Reef exhibit.
  • Amazon Rising: Embark on a captivating journey through the Amazon rainforest, encountering fascinating aquatic creatures like piranhas, electric eels, and giant catfish.
  • Caribbean Reef: Discover the wonders of a Caribbean coral reef, home to a diverse array of fish, invertebrates, and sharks.
  • Underwater Beauty: Immerse yourself in the underwater world through interactive exhibits and touch pools, where you can get up close and personal with some of the aquarium’s inhabitants.
  • Oceanarium: Witness the majesty of the ocean in the Oceanarium, a 400,000-gallon tank that houses a variety of sharks, rays, and sea turtles.


  • Time Open: Daily, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
  • Website: https://www.sheddaquarium.org/
  • Entry Price: Adults – $39.95, Children (3-11) – $29.95, Seniors (65+) – $34.95
John G. Shedd Aquarium

4. Great Lakes Aquarium

Delve into the unique world of the Great Lakes at the Great Lakes Aquarium, located just across the border from Michigan in Duluth, Minnesota. Discover the fascinating creatures that call this freshwater ecosystem home, including sturgeon, lake trout, and whitefish. Get hands-on with sturgeon in the interactive touch pool, and learn about their remarkable history as a prehistoric fish species. Witness the playful otters as they swim, slide, and frolic in their underwater habitat, and take a walk through a 100-foot underwater tunnel for a firsthand look at the wonders of the Great Lakes.


  • Lake Superior Shipwreck Gallery: Explore the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks and the fascinating creatures that inhabit these underwater graveyards.
  • Lake Sturgeon Touchpool: Get hands-on with Sturgeon, a prehistoric fish species that has inhabited the Great Lakes for millions of years.
  • Otters of the Great Lakes: Witness the playful antics of otters as they swim, slide, and frolic in their underwater habitat.
  • Lakewalk Tunnel: Take a walk through a 100-foot underwater tunnel and experience the sights and sounds of a Great Lakes ecosystem firsthand.
  • Touch the Lake: Immerse your hands in a touch pool teeming with native Great Lakes fish and learn about their unique adaptations.


  • Time Open: Daily, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Address: 353 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802
  • Website: https://www.glaquarium.org/.
  • Entry Price: Adults – $24.95, Children (3-12) – $19.95, Seniors (62+) – $21.95
Great Lakes Aquarium

5. Binder Park Zoo’s Aquarium

While Binder Park Zoo is primarily a land animal zoo, its impressive aquarium offers a glimpse into the aquatic world. Explore a diverse array of freshwater and saltwater species, including colorful fish, playful otters, and majestic sharks. Witness daily feeding demonstrations, where you can learn about the fascinating behaviors and dietary needs of these creatures. Engage in interactive exhibits that educate visitors about the importance of marine conservation.


  • Variety of Aquatic Life: Discover freshwater and saltwater species from around the world.
  • Interactive Exhibits: Learn about marine life and conservation through engaging displays.
  • Daily Feeding Demonstrations: Gain insights into the feeding behaviors of different animals.


  • Location: 7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, MI 49014
  • Website: https://www.binderparkzoo.org/https://www.binderparkzoo.org/
  • Entry Price: Included with general zoo admission. General admission: Adults (13-61) – $13.50, Seniors (62+) – $11.50, Children (3-12) – $8.50, Children under 2 – Free


What is the best aquarium in Michigan for children?

Both SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium and Potter Park Zoo’s Sea Lion Cove offer interactive exhibits and engaging programming that are perfect for children. However, SEA LIFE offers a wider variety of aquatic life and exciting features, making it a more comprehensive choice for families.

Which aquarium is the most educational?

The Belle Isle Aquarium and the Great Lakes Aquarium are both excellent choices for learning about the aquatic life of the Great Lakes region. They offer informative exhibits, touch pools, and educational programs that cater to all ages.

How much does it cost to visit an aquarium in Michigan?

Entry prices vary depending on the aquarium, with the most expensive being the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. However, there are also several free options, such as the Belle Isle Aquarium.

Q: What are the best times to visit the aquariums?

A: Weekday afternoons and evenings are typically the best times to avoid crowds at most Michigan aquariums. Weekends and holidays tend to be busier. Consider purchasing tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in line.

Are there any seasonal events or exhibits at the aquariums?

Yes, many of the aquariums in Michigan offer seasonal events and exhibits throughout the year. These events are a great way to see something new and learn about different aspects of the aquatic world. Be sure to check the aquarium’s website or social media pages for the latest information on upcoming events.

Can I bring my own food and drinks into the aquariums?

Most of the aquariums in Michigan allow visitors to bring their own food and drinks into the facility. However, there may be restrictions on where you can eat and drink. Be sure to check with the aquarium’s staff for more information.

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