Aquariums house creatures from the deepest depths of the oceans including the curiously small seahorse and the oddly harmonious "Barracuda." Listen to the soft serenades of aquatic beings with today’s Groupon to The Pier Aquarium in St. Petersburg. Choose between the following options:
- For $5, you get admission for two (up to a $10 value). Children 6 and under are admitted for free.
- For $25, you get a family membership for up to four people (a $50 value).
The Pier Aquarium, a nonprofit established in 1988, harbors 14 different aquariums and three two-level cylinder tanks showcasing a plethora of floating creatures from around the world. Visitors enter the aqua arena greeted by the Fresh Fish Theater, a hands-on outdoor marine lab on Spa Beach, before meandering down the Water Walk—a variety of informative displays situated along a pristine estuary. Once inside the water-filled facility, guests can gaze upon a bevy of seafaring critters including angelfish, horseshoe crabs, carpet anemones, and perhaps some misplaced Swedish fish. The educational center also proffers daily interactive events and fish feedings, a floating classroom, and a slew of exhibits. Aqua-curious patrons can also opt for the family membership to receive free admission for one year, the aquarium’s newsletter, and a 10% discount on store purchases.
The Pier Aquarium
Children press their faces against the glass of a trio of two-story cylindrical tanks to catch a glimpse of fish, crabs, and other sea life from faraway oceans. Native tidal-zone fish swim inside the first tank; in the second, fish from Africa mingle with those from South America; and in the third, tropical fish from throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans create a colorful tapestry. At the waterfront Pier Aquarium, these three tanks stand among 14 aquariums, an interactive exhibit with ocean sounds broadcast by hydrophone from underneath the pier, and wall murals that showcase aquatic life from each of the world’s oceans. Visitors explore fish and plant life using lighted microscopes, magnified viewing boxes, and plastic replicas of sea stars and horseshoe crabs—and they can touch and hold biofacts such as shells and spines.
Educational staffers divulge facts and embarrassing secrets about creatures living in four main tanks on the second floor. They show visitors how to handle crabs, sea urchins, and flounder at the Tampa Bay touch tank, and point out exotic clownfish, anemones, lionfish, and eels in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Coral, and Pacific Ocean tanks. They also help visitors identify spineless animals in the Invertebrates aquarium or enlist their help in feeding and caring for sharks and lobsters, just as car mechanics enlist the help of customers when feeding air fresheners to their cars.
Visitors further explore facts about marine life in the museum shop, where staffers display shelves of aquatic toys, puzzles, games, books, and apparel. They can also stroll down the pier, where a Water Walk display offers information about local Tampa Bay waters, and down to the beach, where researchers and marine scientists show visitors how to study aquatic denizens in a hands-on outdoor marine lab.