Top Aquariums in the West

Get a look at underwater life at aquariums in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada.

Aquariums captivate visitors of every age.

Lynn Yeh / Shutterstock

Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
A moving walkway takes you through 300 feet of clear tunnel surrounded by the Bay's inhabitants, like the leopard shark, whose numbers have been depleted by pollution.

Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California
Get close to the Pacific's denizens, from giant Japanese spider crabs in icy waters to thick-lipped humphead wrasses puttering around a Palauan rock island.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps, San Diego
Interact with displays inspired by research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Oddities includes examples of the most unique sea creatures from all the depths.

Kids watch sea creatures swim in a giant tank at the The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.

Hayk_Shalunts / Shutterstock

Maui Ocean Center, Maalaea, Hawaii
From Turtle Lagoon's green sea turtles to a gregarious spotted eagle ray flaunting its four-foot wingspan, Hawaii's endemic fish all exude the aloha spirit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
This famous institution is a showcase for sharks, sea turtles, kelp forests, tide pools, and even sea-inspired art.

Don't miss the outdoor deck and views at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Belyay / Shutterstock

Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon
Watch an improvised ballet by a jellyfish ensemble, see a sea otter get frisky, or walk through a tunnel where sharks and skates swim all around you.

Seattle Aquarium, Washington
A frolicking sea otter has celebrity status with visitors, but the sturgeon, mighty chinook salmon, and ugly-faced wolf eels also put on a great show in an underwater dome. 

Shark Reef, Las Vegas
Set in a sunken ancient temple worthy of Indiana Jones, this aquarium abounds with dangerous creatures—from a water monitor known to unearth corpses to a highly venomous stonefish.

Spend less on entertainment by using your AAA discount at aquariums, movie theaters, and other popular attractions.

This article was first published in March 2002 and last updated in February 2019. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.