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Key West Aquarium

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The Key West Aquarium is the only public aquarium in Key West, Florida. Built between 1932–1934, the Key West Aquarium is one of Florida's oldest aquariums. During the Great Depression, Key West had turned over its charter to the federal government due to the economic disaster that had hit the island. The federal government believed Key West, with its great weather and location, would make a wonderful tourist destination. The Works Project Administration was sent in and built the tourist attraction. The Aquarium was originally an open air aquarium, one of the first and largest at the time.

EXHIBITS

Alligator Habitat: The alligators in the Key West Aquarium are usually between the ages of 1 and 3 years old and are on loan from the Alligator Farm in Homestead, FL. When the reach a certain size or the age of 3, whichever comes first, they are returned to the farm and switched for younger alligators. They reside in the Key West Aquarium to further the education of one of Florida’s most important and well represented predators.

Atlantic Shores: The Atlantic Shores exhibit was originally a parking lot adjacent to the aquarium that was converted into a fifty thousand gallon saltwater exhibit to display a wide variety of tropical fish, game fish, sharks, and sea turtles. Most importantly, it is a living red mangrove ecosystem and allows us to educate the public on the importance of mangrove trees to the Florida Keys. With beautiful red mangroves as a backdrop guests can view popular sport fish such as Tarpon, Cobia, Permit, and Jacks; well known fish including Grouper, Snapper, and Hogfish; and colorful tropical fish from the reef like Angelfish, Wrasses, and Parrotfish. Visitors may also see our Bonnethead sharks, the smallest member of the hammerhead family, and a Green sea turtle in the shallows.

Jellyfish Exhibit: See Moon jellyfish that dwell primarily near coastal regions and are frequently spotted in the waters surrounding Key West.

Feed a Shark: During the four tours the Aquarium offers per day to allow guests to feed Nurse sharks, Sandbar sharks, and Bonnethead sharks. While the guides feed, staff they offer interesting facts about the sharks and dispel a few myths regarding this misunderstood creature. After the feeding of the Nurse sharks, guides offer the chance to meet a juvenile nurse shark face to face with the opportunity to touch it on the tail.

Tocuh Tank: The Touch Tank is an invitation for guests to get up close and personal with some of the more familiar creatures found in the lower keys ecosystems. Most of these animals can be seen frequently while kayaking or snorkeling near shore waters and are completely harmless. the touch tank includes Conches, Sea stars, State pencil sea urchins, Serpent Sea star, Sea cucumbers, Giant hermit crabs, and Horshoe crabs.

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