Located right off the Coney Island boardwalk, the New York Aquarium is a 14-acre seaside park that is home to over 8,000 marine animals including walruses, sharks, sea otters, penguins, and more.

The family-inspired park features many fish exhibits, including a shark tank, porpoise pool, walrus and sea otter area called the Aquatheater, and numerous indoor tanks specializing in various fish species like the red-bellied piranha, false-clown anemone fish, sea horses and more.

Although still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the shows and feedings are enjoyable and the animals enjoy performing for visitors. A Sponge Bob 4D movie is a great attraction for the younger set (they’ll love getting sprayed with water mist from the screen!), and the friendly staff enjoy answering all of your questions. The different species of fish and the colors, shapes, and sizes will leave you breathless.

The aquarium has picnic tables where you can eat lunch, or you can take your snack to the covered pavilion where you can watch the ocean and ships off the shore. Alternately, you can grab a bite on the boardwalk or nearby Park Street.

One thing to remember; however, is that a number of exhibits have been shut down since Hurricane Sandy and it will be at least 2016 until renovations are complete. When you look at their website, there is a tiny link that says that some portions of the aquarium are closed. The facility is small and overwhelmed by summer camp groups from around the city.

Also, many visitors have complained that the park is not clean and very hot. It seems that the air conditioning is frequently set at 80 degrees to conserve energy, however with a crowd of people indoors, the temperature rises, and some people have complained that it could feel like 100 degrees. Pack water and snacks, and try to be the summer camp rush by arriving early.