Aquariums in Michigan and Ohio to Visit With the Family

Come visit your favorite deep sea swimmers at some of one of these aquariums in Michigan and Ohio that feature both fresh and salt water.

A little girl looks into an aquarium

Explore the deep blue waters and its many aquatic residents at several intriguing aquariums in Michigan and Ohio. With beautiful arrays of colorful anemone, sticky starfish and even a sleek shark, these aquariums make for a great destination for parents and kids.

Watch your little one’s eyes light up as she catches a glimpse of many different types of fish, closer than she’s ever seen before. Aquariums are not only just for the young ones, but for the rest of the family, as well.

With so many new species being brought into these aquariums every year, everyone will get the exciting chance to get to discover something new. So dive a bit deeper and check out some of the amazing underwater sights that these aquariums in Michigan and Ohio.

Belle Isle Aquarium

  • Address: 900 Inselruhe Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-402-0466
  • Admission: free admission and parking with $11 Recreation Passport
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday

This was the first public aquarium to open in the United States in 1904. It’s filled with an array of salt and fresh water fish. Those planning to visit must have a Recreation Passport to get into Belle Isle State Park.

Cabela’s Store – Aquarium

  • Address: 110 Cabela Blvd. East, Dundee
  • Phone: 734-529-4700
  • Admission: Free
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday

The 225,000-square-foot show room houses a 65,000-gallon walk-through fish tank. This aquarium is home to various local fish.

Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center

  • Address: 6087 E. M-115, Cadillac
  • Phone: 231-779-1321
  • Admission: free admission with a $11/Michigan State Parks Recreation Passport
  • Hours: Memorial Day through mid-September: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; mid-September-Memorial Day: noon-5 p.m. Friday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; closed Monday-Thursday
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Located in Mitchell State Park, the center has a wall-sized 800-gallon freshwater aquarium, filled with numerous Michigan native species. Some of the little swimmers you can spot here include bluegill, pike, bass, perch and more.

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

  • Address: 4850 W. Powell Road, Powell, Ohio
  • Phone: 614-645-3400
  • Admission: $11.99-plus/ticket, $10/parking; ticket prices increase in the summer
  • Hours: Vary by season; open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

This aquarium offers the chance to touch a sea urchin’s spine and between a sea star’s arms at the Discovery Reef Tide Pool. Manatee Coast Boat, another popular attraction at this aquarium, houses West Indian Manatees. This interactive manatee exhibit offers a firsthand look at how these gentle sea cows are protected at the Columbus Zoo.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

  • Address: 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, Ohio
  • Phone: 216-862-8803
  • Admission: $19.95/adults, $17.95/ages 60-plus, $13.95/ages 2-12, free/ages 2 and under and guests over 100; military and college discounts apply
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday; last admission at 4 p.m.

You may feel like you are visiting Australia, South America, Africa, or the Indo-Pacific when you explore this exotic aquarium. In eight galleries and over 50 exhibits, find an array of native Ohio freshwater fish, as well as many exotic saltwater species. Check out the Discovery Zone, an area that is partially dedicated to educating the aquarium guests on the harmful effects of pollution.

John Ball Zoo Society

  • Address: 1300 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
  • Phone: 616-336-4301
  • Admission: Ticket pricing varies by season; $10-$13/adults, $8-$10/ages 62-plus and ages 2-12; free/under 2
  • Hours: Vary depending on season

The zoo’s Van Andel Living Shores Aquarium allows children to explore the world of aquatic animals on the coast of Patagonia, the northwest coast of the U.S., and a Michigan stream. Become captivated by the Magellanic Penguins, eels, anemones and exotic fish in the 40,000 gallon Kelp Forest tank and tide pool.

Museum Ship Valley Camp

  • Address: 501 E. Water St., Sault Ste. Marie
  • Phone: 888-744-7867
  • Admission: $14.50/adults, $7.25/ages 5-17, free/under 5
  • Hours: Vary depending on season

Part of the Sault Ste. Marie Historic Sites, this spot’s four 1,200-gallon tanks are home to various species of fish. These four aquariums are located in a lake freighter that served on the Great Lakes for almost 50 years. The tanks include numerous fish from the Great Lakes region. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Wholesale Bait supply the fish that are displayed throughout the aquarium.

Sea Life Michigan Aquarium

  • Address: 4316 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills
  • Phone: 248-409-6009
  • Admission: $18-plus/adults, $14-plus/ages 3-12, free/ages under 3 (there are three ticket options offered for guests, including combination tickets with Legoland Discovery Center)
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; last entry is one hour before closing time

The Sea Life Michigan Aquarium is filled with more than 5,000 sea creatures, a captivating underwater Ocean Tunnel, the Interactive Touchpool, feed shows and more. Buy timed tickets in advance to avoid longer-than-average wait times.

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

  • Address: 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-385-5721
  • Admission: $21/adults, $18/seniors and ages 2-11, free/under 2 (rates are for non-Ohio-residents); save $1 per ticket when you buy online (parking fees for non-members)
  • Hours: Vary depending on the season

This aquarium is home to more than 3,000 aquatic animals who reside in about 178,000-gallons of water. Guests get the opportunity to touch a stingray, witness a sea turtle swimming by and interact with a diver at the popular Reef exhibit. Learn more about adaptation and evolution at the new-in-2019 Promedica Museum of Natural History.

This post is updated regularly.

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