Formerly called Atlantis Marine World, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center offers families the opportunity to snorkel, play with penguins, dive with sharks, and do all manner of things one wouldn’t think possible just an hour outside Manhattan.
Open since summer of 2000, the museum holds over a million gallons of water as well as the largest all-living Coral Reef display in the Western hemisphere. It’s teamed up with the nonprofit Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which rescues, rehabilitates, and releases creatures like sea turtles, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals. The “hospital” is actually located within the Aquarium’s facilities and visitor can visit some of the little guys!
If you’d rather stay inside, you can weave your way through the Sand Shark Lagoon, Shipwreck, Megalodon display, Poseidon’s Treasure Room, Tidal Marsh with an interactive crab burrow, and an exotic bird sanctuary called the Amazon Aviary. Outside, you’ll find ancient ruins, the Penguin Pavilion, Sea Lion Coliseum, Lost Temple of Atlantis, interactive Salt Marsh, Shark Reef Lagoon, and Submarine Simulator.
A recent expansion along the Peconic River includes a Hyatt Hotel and Sea Star Grand Ballroom. Special events are common, and those coming up include a Bridal Showcase (Oct. 19th) and Wine Tasting (Nov. 18th).
The Aquarium and Exhibition Center are open year-round from 10am to 5pm (except on Christmas). Admission is $19.50 for under-17s and over-62s, $22.50 for adults in between and those under 2 are free!. Directions can be found here.
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