Photo Credit Evan Semon & VISIT DENVER

Denver Downtown Aquarium

the ART, a hotel is near the Denver Downtown Aquarium where one million gallons of aquatic fun await you. Watch mermaids swim, dissect a squid and appreciate the marine life. You can even dive into adventure with an up-close encounter with a shark. Exhibits at the Denver Aquarium include a coral reef, wharf habitat, tropical rainforest, sunken ruins and beach inhabitants.

River and salt water exhibits

The aquarium is divided into two sections, each delivering its own unique experience. One adventure takes you along the Colorado River, journeying from the headwaters to the ocean. Learn about fish and get wet in the flash flood zone, which mimics Canyon Country. Then follow the Kampar River in Indonesia and discover rainbowfish, Asian arowanas and a Pacific Ocean exhibit.

The other section of the aquarium delivers a more exotic adventure through wharfs, rainforests and lagoons. Sunken temples, shipwreck exhibits and beach marinelife create a surreal experience where anything salt water goes.

Rare species (and experiences)

Tigers and mermaids, oh my! You may think it strange, but the Denver Downtown Aquarium is home to a handful of Sumatran tigers, a species critically endangered with fewer than 500 existing in the wild. The tiger habitat is one of the main attractions of the Indonesia River experience.

Still, the tigers aren’t the aquarium’s only “rare” creatures. This Denver attraction is home to the Mystical Mermaids – a group of fabled sea-dwelling performers who frolic around the Under the Sea exhibit, perform in the Aquarium Restaurant tank and periodically pose for pictures At the Beach.

Special camps, overnights and behind-the-scenes tours give visitors a chance to further explore the underwater world. Snorkel or scuba dive with giant groupers, moray eels, guitar fish, sting rays and sea turtles. Want an even more daring adventure? Dive into the Sunken Shipwreck exhibit where sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks and zebra sharks swim around you.

Feel like working a little? Spend the day as a marine biologist, a role that will have you dissecting a squid in no time. If that leaves you feeling squeamish, try your hand at being a zoologist as you interact with animals in this behind-the-scenes experience.

And on the menu ... fish!

While cafeteria-style dining is standard at most aquariums, Denver’s Aquarium Restaurant makes quite a splash with a tasty selection of seafood, steaks and more. But it’s not necessarily the cuisine that sets this restaurant apart. More than 100 species of tropical fish swim around diners in this 50,000-gallon, floor-to-ceiling aquarium, while a diver makes twice-a-day feedings to the great delight of onlookers. But be warned: You may have to explain to the kids why Nemo is on the menu.

Denver Downtown Aquarium
700 Water St. | 303.561.4450