Visitor's Guide: The Downtown Aquarium in Denver

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••• Stan Obert/VISIT DENVER

About the Downtown Aquarium:

The aquarium began life as Ocean Journey in 1999 as a multimillion dollar investment by the city of Denver. After years of leaking money, the city sold the aquarium to Landry's Restaurants in 2003. The redesigned aquarium reopened in 2005 as the Downtown Aquarium.

The Downtown Aquarium features exhibits on freshwater fish native to Colorado, as well as oceanic sea life from around the globe.

More than 500 species of animals can be found at the aquarium, and the facility houses more than one million gallons of water.

As a landlocked state, Colorado offers few opportunities to observe ocean life besides the aquarium. The Downtown Aquarium recreates habitats such as coral reefs, coral lagoons and wharf habitats to give a glimpse of life at sea. The aquarium also features exhibits on desert life and the rainforest.

A highlight of the aquarium is the exhibit on jellyfish, which glow in the dark under special lighting. Adventurous children and adults can also enjoy gently petting stingrays in the Stingray Reef touch tank. 

After learning about marine life, visitors can enjoy seafood and fish entrees in the Aquarium Restaurant, which offers unparalleled views of the 50,000-gallon centerpiece aquarium. The restaurant serves dinner and lunch daily. The Dive Lounge also is a bar featuring happy hour specials from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

Hours and Admission:

Hours for 2017:
Sunday - Thursday.: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Restaurant hours for 2017:

Sunday - Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. - 9:30 pm

Admission for 2017:
Adults (12-64): $20.50
Seniors (65 and over): $19.50
Children (3-11): $14.50
Admission for children under two years of age is free.

Directions and Address:

Directions:
The Downtown Aquarium is located on 23rd Avenue. From I-25, exit on 23rd Avenue and you will see the aquarium right after you exit on the right. The aquarium charges for parking in its designated lot, but limited street parking at paid meters is also available. The aquarium is located next to the Children's Museum of Denver.

Address:
Downtown Aquarium
700 Water St.
Denver, CO 80211
303-561-4450

Don't Miss It:

  • The aquarium is also home to several Sumatran tigers, and three of the cats are from the same litter.
  • For an extra fee, the aquarium features Under the Sea shows starring a cast of Mystic Mermaids who perform synchronized swimming.
  • The aquarium also offers birthday packages starting at $18 per child, which includes pizza and birthday cake. Birthday packages for teenagers are also available.

Nina Snyder is the author of "Good Day, Broncos," a children's e-book, and "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book. Visit her website at ninasnyder.com.